I cannot help but see the modern world contains the terrible tragedy of getting psychology and philosophy quite mixed up. While it is true that we can never assuredly get outside of our own minds, it is quite another thing to say there is nothing outside of our own minds. I suppose the spirit of post-modernism is largely encompassed in the psychological admission that everyone needs some truth to hold onto in order to live a healthy life, but the truth that accomplishes healthy psychology in each individual can be radically different. It is quite as good for the Christian to believe in Christ as for the Buddhist not to believe in himself. Each fulfills his psychological need for purpose and meaning, and most are content with that. The tragedy is that many have gone so far in this direction, we are not only unwilling to judge a belief, but unwilling to judge the healthy life. In short, we have gotten to a point where not only do we hesitate to question methodology, but even the end state of the methods. Of course, I do not say it is always a clear question with a clear answer. If one’s beloved child were to die unexpectedly, a Christian might weep, but move on knowing she is with God. A Buddhist might calmly smile, if he yields even that much emotion, for he has no desires. The proud atheist might only see dust has returned to dust, for material is material. An agnostic may fall into despair or even comfort himself by admitting whatever he would like to be true might be, but ultimately, his agnosticism probably will become more agnostic. Which is better is not necessarily self-evident, though everyone falls into some category, and not to decide is still to make a decision. Many are afraid to say someone else is wrong or that something is evil unless the rest of the world is dogmatically behind him. Many are much more afraid to say he is wrong or he is something evil. Of course, evil and wrong is always good and truth in its own mind.
Just the other day, I was told that man’s final goal is to accomplish a certain psychological focus, where the rest of the world disappears and only the task and purpose remains, ultimately the “unfettering of the mind” as the East has so poetically put it. I was further informed that such is the central ethic of Christianity. While this bears some truth, it quite misses the point. Certainly to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength can be seen as the pinnacle of focus, but the greater message is that we can only focus on God because He first focused on us. While many of the modern world’s philosophies of “follow your heart” and find “the truth within” are tempting, Christianity is necessarily different in that first, the truth is without, and only once one admits it will he receive the truth within. Many of the great modern philosophies attempt to escape the tragedy of the world by digging deeper within, thus naturally finding the answer and truth in the psychology of man. They find a hole, and create as best they can something, anything to fill it. Of course, those who do not fill the hole risk falling through it. Therefore, truth is different as every individual is different. Religions are popularized methods for obtaining that fulfilling truth, which may allow the less reflective of us a fast path to meaning. Of course, in this view, religion is good as long as it is not taken too seriously. It is good as long as those who believe it do not quite believe it. It is allowed to work for you as long as you are not so sure that it works for everybody. However, as a Christian, we cannot escape the tragedy of the world by looking within because we have come to realize that we are the tragedy of the world. In fact, there cannot be anything tragic about the world unless there was something that could experience tragedy. Our psychology is important, but it is incomplete. It has a hole, and something not whole cannot fill itself. In Christianity, one must be bold enough to say the hole only takes one shape, and that is the shape of the cross. And if one falls through the hole, it is a hole that leads to an everlasting fire. It identifies both the problem that is so obvious to us all and identifies the answer. We need something more than we have to offer, for that hole is there because we do not have what it takes to fill it. We have a glimmer of truth, but it is incomplete unless aided from without. The question is who deceives himself, he who will only admit truth from within or he who sees truth must only come from without?
I suppose such a strong doctrine of external truth is difficult to accept for a great many reasons, most of which are ironically psychological. But in this meager essay, which is more an enjoyment than a serious philosophical exhortation, I wish only to inform that Christianity does not fall into the commonly accepted concept of another purely psychological fill, but something quite true and all-encompassing outside of ourselves. If it is true for me, it is true for everybody. If one believes it, he must believe it seriously, or it can never work. And that is naturally offensive to anyone who seeks something otherwise. It is the great task of the modern thinkers and philosophers to find an ethical foundation outside of religion; one that bears meaning for all. They wish to discover heaven, though they are not allowed to believe in heaven. It would be an astounding accomplishment, but before one seeks an ethical foundation, he should really first seek a foundation for ethics. The more we search within ourselves, I cannot help but see how that foundation can become anything more than subjective and circular (and a rather small circle). They may say evolution or they may say science, but if I place my purpose in change, the only right path is to take one, and if I find my purpose in science, I might understand how I work, but it will always be a poor cover up for the true question of why I work. Psychology has discovered a natural human desire for meaning, purpose, truth, and other impractical things; in short, it has discovered the hole and our need either to ignore it or to fill it up. Most philosophies are quite happy to focus on taking shattered fragments of truth and spreading them out as thin as they can to cover such a hole, but it only takes something with enough weight to shatter the veil. Others say there need be no hole, until of course we trip and fall in it since we were not looking. Still some say there is only a hole, and to prove the fact they have stoically jumped right in it. Truly, the ultimate plug must be something infinite and unchanging, and that would require it to be greater than what we can offer ourselves. It is beyond me to prove doubtlessly that this plug is external, but to accept it calmly as something internal denies it from being a plug. It is man’s greatest folly to say he can plug the hole, for then he must live up to his claim. It is man’s greatest hope to say he cannot plug the hole, but Someone else has.