In Memory of Truth and Those Who Sought It
If it is unthinkable to you that your current worldview might be wrong, then you are not a lover of Truth. What you love is Dogma masquerading as Truth. Truth seeks out its own errors and rejoices when inaccuracies are discovered. It does not try to hide, obfuscate, or twist facts to make them fit the current belief system, but rather remains flexible, able to take in new information and adjust to meet the implications. Truth does not require blind obedience to any source of authority, nor does it pay homage to celebrity or tradition. Truth always begins with “Based on the best available information” and ends with “but I am probably wrong on some level.”
It has been said that of Faith, Hope, and Love, the greatest of these is Love. I can accept that claim. However, much greater than all of these combined is Truth. Truth has the power to obliterate Faith and control Hope. Without it, Love is nothing but a mirage. And this is why so many fear it and work so hard to fight it. If Truth can be defeated, or if efforts to discover Truth can be redirected towards Dogma, then we can remain blind. In this way, the power of Truth over Faith, Hope, and Love can be nullified.
If we prefer Faith over Truth, we can remain certain in our correctness. If we prefer Hope over Truth, we never have to face harsh realities. If Love of anything or anyone wins out over Truth, then we can continue to believe in our own false fairy tale. Dogma is comfortable. Dogma is known. Dogma lets us believe as we want with an illusion of zero consequences.
Dogma is the comforting voice of the pet owner as the animal is put to sleep. Dogma is the promise of a meal to a hungry rodent in the form of bait on a mouse trap. Dogma is the sweet, tangy, and refreshing taste of Kool-Aid infused with cyanide on a hot summer day. Dogma is the loving embrace of a husband as he comforts his spouse and apologizes for the drunken beating the night before. And someday, Dogma will kill us all if it can, if we let it. It will slip the blade between our ribs and watch us bleed. It will initiate a nuclear war as the only viable option. It will starve innocent children and allow them to suffer unimaginable torture. It will do all of these things, all the while comforting and holding us and telling us everything is going to be OK and the worst will never happen, apologizing when it does, and promising once again that this will be the last time. And at some point, that statement will be true because our culture will die and neither Dogma nor Truth, nor Faith, Hope, or Love will have a place in our world. Dogma, indeed, conquers all if we let it.
But only if we let it. The true power of Dogma lies in our choice to prefer it over Truth. May we choose wisely.