Religion is not Truth, for the Truth cannot be written. Things written in books are fragments of truth and the only way to arrive at the Truth is to make an effort to understand these writings. This may require an assimilation of knowledge and experience from other sources besides these religious texts.
Religious rites are also comprised of fragments of truth. The original intent of these rites or rules may be lost or obfuscated by changes made throughout the years. These rites and rules were formed by those who knew, but as they are passed on by those who do not know the truth begins to fade.
It is not sufficient to acquire the knowledge in a religious text or rite, one must arrive at an understanding. Knowledge is a very low level of grasping the Truth. To assimilate this knowledge and arrive at a greater understanding is a much higher form of Truth. This understanding can only come through ones own intentional effort. It cannot be passed on effortlessly by another person, even if they understand the Truth themselves.
The downfall of Religion is the requirement to take a supposed truth on blind faith, without questions. This is the lowest level of grasping the Truth – not to make an effort, not to ask any questions. The Truth can only be attained after great effort and questioning this Truth from all sides.
In addition, any arrival at the Truth must be reconciled with one’s own experiences. The Truth is grounded in reality and the only reality we have is our experiences. Anything else is just fantasy or wishful thinking.
Science is not Truth, it is a collection of knowledge. Many people go to college and absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge, but little understanding is gained in the process. Every scientific theory is an explanation and how can an explanation be the Truth? Again, as with religion, one can arrive at scientific Truth, but only with intentional effort – the Truth cannot be passed on.
This is not to suggest that Science and Religion should be ignored, or only give a small amount of our attention and effort. On the contrary, the more we strive to understand them, the likelier we can finally arrive at a point where the realization comes that something more is needed to fill in the blanks and gaps of all this fragmented knowledge.
Science and Religion do not contain enough truth to fill in the whole picture. The search must be broadened to other areas and they must be approached with an open mind.
One late evening Nasreddin found himself walking home. It was only a very short way and upon arrival he can be seen to be upset about something. Alas, just then a young man comes along and sees the Mullah’s distress.”Mullah, please tell me: What is wrong?””Ah, my friend, I seem to have lost my keys. Would you help me search them? I know I had them when I left the tea house.”So, he helps Nasreddin with the search for the keys. For quite a while the man is searching here and there but no keys are to be found. He looks over to Nasreddin and finds him searching only a small area around a street lamp.”Mullah, why are you only searching there?””Why would I search where there is no light?”
At certain points in our search for the Truth, as we gain more understanding and accumulate more experiences, it is useful to reconstruct our world view. The structure may be vague, especially to begin with, but if we stick to what we know from our own experience we can make real progress without deluding ourselves or going down the wrong path.