Is there anyone here on this blog who is looking to realise the truth, or are we more interested in realising how right we are, how wrong others are?The blog-master responded:
Are we into defending our beliefs and condemning others for theirs?
Speaking for myself, and I'm pretty sure this holds generally for churchless folk, I gave up blind faith because I wanted a clearer view of reality. My motivation for ditching dogma was to find a better path to truth, not to give up the search for it.Here's the comment I contributed:
My Zen teacher would say that of all the buttons on a calculator, the most important is the Clear button. If you don't press that "C" and return to zero, then whatever calculation you try to do will yield the wrong result.
If we start off with a dogma (a belief we won't doubt or question), then even if we analyze rationally, our conclusions will be colored by that dogma. If we can, for a moment anyway, question everything... then we can return to zero, and from there we have a chance of seeing clearly.
So why doesn't everyone embrace doubt? Because while certainty clouds our vision, uncertainty can be so... unpleasant.
We all start out with a clean slate, but as children, we can hardly prevent developing a blind belief in what our parents tell us. As we mature, we learn to question these childhood dogmas. When the doubt becomes too uncomfortable, we grab onto some replacement dogma: religious, political, whatever.
It seems to me that this process is generally repeated. We become churchless by doubting one set of beliefs. Our motivation may be the recognition that clinging to those beliefs prevents a clear view of the world. At that point, there's nothing stopping us from trading one dogma for a new one. The new beliefs will be less blatant, more subtle... but if we're holding any unexamined beliefs, our inner calculators will produce skewed answers.
Surely, sometimes we leave aside a dogma with the intention of clearing the calculator, and in fact the leaving-aside brings us to clarity/zero (or at least close to it). And at other times, we end up (intentionally or otherwise) discarding one dogma, and adopting a new one just as rigidly.
Maybe that means that it's not sufficient to question and reject a dogma, then rest on our laurels. Maybe clarity is reached by continuously questioning what we still believe in now, and repeating that questioning over and over, with each new "certainty" that arises.