Key Thought for this session:
“Without a compass, the journey is futile.”
I want to think a little bit more with you about the idea that just because something is rational does not necessarily mean it is the truth. You’ve probably heard the saying, "An eye for an eye." This is a rational way to respond to being violated or harmed. It even has a rationale that is based on justice. We often feel that “Pay Back” is a way of someone getting what they deserve. This seems logical to many people because it is human nature to use justice as a lens to see reality. However, historical views on ethics and morality have found that revenge is not actually the best way to resolve offenses. You hit me, I hit you harder, you hit me even harder, and so it goes until we have both been significantly damaged, or even destroyed. Revenge is a self-serving, downward spiral of destruction. Alternately, a competing approach is Reconciliation. Reconciliation, when possible, is based on forgiveness and is another way to deal with an offense. Forgiveness is different from justice but it IS rational. Forgiveness results in healing and restoration and betterment for all involved.
One way to see the difference between the claim that “all truth is rational” and the claim that “everything rational is not truth” is to realize that absolute truth deals with what's right in the "Big Picture" vs. a narrow or limited perspective. Revenge tends to focus on the moment, but reconciliation tends to focus on the “Big Picture.” The "picture" is “big” when longer periods of time and all parties involved are considered and we step back to see how the choice impacts outcomes in multiple ways. For example, stealing money to meet an immediate need of hunger can be rational. But stealing has negative effects on the person who loses what's stolen. Looking at the big picture, the person who steals also suffers. The thief has taken a path to meet their own needs that does not solve their problem long term. Stealing bypasses the benefits that may come from taking a better path, like getting a job or even receiving help from others. Thus, in the big picture view, to think of stealing as being wrong, does appear to be rational.