“I think therefore I am.” -Rene Descartes
I don’t agree with the quote above. The quote claims that consciousness arises out of the brain rather than the brain being a function that consciousnesses uses to operate in the physical world. But its an important quote that describes Enlightenment period and the emerging belief in the ability of the individual to use rationality and five senses to make sense of the world. In a sense this was set up a while back in history with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation which I talked about more in a previous lesson.
Richard Rohr in a podcast with The Bible for Normal People talked about how the Enlightenment changed the landscape of Christianity. The Enlightenment period was a time of great invention and the separation between science and religion for many. The time period claimed, “we have rationality. We have science. These are tangible, objective things that we can claim. We no longer need religion.
Rohr explains how the Catholic and Protestant church scrambled to keep up with this new paradigm. They felt like they needed something as concrete as science, something they could hold onto and claim as authoritative. The Catholics claimed the Pope. He was chosen by God and God gives him the answers that he passes down to the Catholic church. The Protestants claimed the Bible. The Bible was the perfect Inerrant Word of God that gave us all the answers.
Rohr explains that these two things, while important, take a backseat to experience. If we’re all honest, experience is the biggest thing that gives us our sense of truth which we use as our lens through which we view everything else.
That gets us down to the nature of truth. What is truth? How do we find it? I find a few verses helpful in this regard.
“Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.” -Matthew 22:37
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” -John 1:1
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” -John 16:7, 13
The Greek word for “the Word” in John 1:1 is Logos or reason/truth. The word is God. God is the source of all Truth. Jesus explains to his disciples that the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, will come to the disciples after he is gone. It is better that Jesus leaves so that the Disciples will learn to rely on the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit rather than on Jesus.
I believe Matthew 22:37 is referring to emotions, actions, intellect/thought, and intuition. I saw a Rob Bell tweet that really resonated with me once: “Intuition = inner knowing = Holy Spirit. This all fits together with the understanding that our spirit is part of the spirit of God. That is the Holy Spirit which is our connection to God and to Truth.
This intuition or connection to the truth through the Holy Spirit is the foundation of absolute and total truth. It is the foundation of our being. However, because of our ego, trauma, etc. it is obscured and corrupted. The more we can heal, shed our ego, our false identities, our belief that we’re separate from God, others, and the world, the more we can remember and feel into this deep inner truth.