Thursday, January 8, 2009


What is truth? Better yet, how do we find truth? Is it through experience or observation? On the one hand, you have the power of experiencing something for yourself. And, most would say that you cannot possibly understand something completely if you do not experience it yourself. For example, pain cannot simply be observed and everything automatically known about it. Any psychologist can sit and observe the behavior and thought processes of someone in pain. They might even be able to find the chemical reaction that is causing pain. But, until that psychologist actually experiences the effects of pain himself or herself, he or she will never know all that there is to know about pain. Experience, however, cannot be given all merit when it comes to knowing absolute truth, something that C.S. Lewis is pushing strongly for in this article. When you are caught up in the moment of something, like pain, it can be difficult to see other events or causes surrounding it. Someone experiencing pain can only see “along the beam of light” of pain. That is the only part of the truth of pain that can be seen by someone experiencing pain.

Neither one of these perspectives is completely correct by any means. Furthermore, neither perspective disproves the other one. They are merely two different truths (not complete truths) found from two different perspectives. They are both correct and both are needed to completely understand pain (or anything for that matter).
Perhaps this can best be applied to knowing God. In order to know God completely, one must observe and experience in Him in every way possible. Both observation and experience are needed to fully understand God. It is for this very reason that our search for God and for relationship with God needs to be a constant striving. There is always another way to experience God and there is always something to be learn about His character.

C.S. Lewis is definitely giving out a call for people to experience things for themselves in “Meditation in a Tool Shed.” He is by no means, however, telling anyone to throw out observation completely. There is a balance that needs to be found there. No one will ever understand anything completely until they have looked at it from all perspectives. Never assume that everything is known about anything. The search for absolute truth needs to be a constant striving on that part of every individual. C.S. Lewis has given a way to do that, by looking at things from all perspectives.

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