Mapping Out Where We Are

While clicking away at my keyboard at Lake George, pondering the deep things of life, checking out Roger’s Rock, where the battle on showshoes happened, I had a thought about beliefs. We generally think of our beliefs as a one dimensional continuum. There is a center, left, and right. Everyone picks a point along the continuum and then advocates why that point is the closest to the truth. Depending on where the truth is, you defend your position. To be on the left or right of the “truth” means that you are wrong. But what if we use a two-dimensional map as our model for thinking of the truth?

With two dimensions it becomes easier to have a diverse number of ways to view the truth. Imagine a map with the truth at the center. All over the map there are a variety of positions that cover regions from the central truth to the edges of the map where errors occur. No position is large enough to cover the whole truth, though surely there are some that aren’t on the truth at all.

This means that a Baptist, Catholic, and Lutheran can all have some piece of the truth pie, but none of them have the whole thing. All of them are in different places, none can claim superiority, and all need each other to learn about the benefits of each position and the drawbacks of their own.

I find that to be a very helpful and freeing way to think about truth. Instead of saying that someone has not arrived at the right position, perhaps it is better to give them the benefit of a doubt and say that they are simply in a different place.