Tug of War – an Open Letter to Tildeb
Let me again begin by thanking you for your comments. Your comments inspired me to study and to think and to expand my understanding of the issues that we have been discussing. For this I thank you.
The Limits of Science
You seem to be under the impression that science and religion are engaged in a tug of war. Science seeks to open the minds of men to knowledge and understanding while religion wants to keep those lights shut. You see religion as something that only thrives on the absence of knowledge and it would follow that those who invested in religion have every interest to preserve and perpetuate mystery and darkness in the collective house of mankind. Science, on the other hand seeks to know and understand, it seeks to unravel the mysterious and the unknown. So we have our tug of war, with religion pulling toward darkness and science striving for light.
I can understand why you see things this way. Throughout history men of science were opposed by men of religion. And with time, light prevailed over darkness and Galileo and Copernicus were vindicated while the men of the cloth never paused to ask themselves why their beliefs put them in opposition to the truth. In our own age you see men of religion arguing with science as if the truth could be bent by yelling loud enough. You have no other way of interpreting what you see without reference to this struggle between light and dark.
The reason I do not share your worldview is because I understand that science is limited in its scope. Science can examine, explain, measure and quantify anything and everything that is physical. But there are realities that are not tangible. Human dignity, courage, justice, compassion, and the sanctity of human life are not things that can be measured and quantified with physical tools. The yearning to know, the joy of discovery, the pleasure of creating and the appreciation of selflessness are as real as physical facts although they cannot be examined by science. The human experience extends far beyond the range of science.
Because these realities are not tangible they are more easily exploited by evil people. It is that much easier to present a mixture of truth and falsehood in the realms that cannot be measured with physical tools, but that does not make these experiences any less real. Although these experiences are not tangible they can still be measured and quantified. The gauge that measures these qualities is the universal sense of justice, morality and kindness that resides in the heart of every human. The problem is that this gauge is not as accessible as it should be. In many societies, it has happened that the concepts of justice and morality have been warped in ways that are almost unrecognizable to other human beings.
We do not need to go far to see this phenomenon. Both you and I see the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 as an extreme expression of evil while members of a different society see those same acts as expressions of morality and justice. It would then seem that there is no way that we can rely on the universal sense of justice to measure and quantify right and wrong.
I will not tie up this strand of my argument right here and now. Instead I will pause and make two points. One point is that we consider this act to be evil although there is no way to prove it through hard science. I put it to you that this knowledge (that those terrorist acts were evil) is as real to you as any scientific fact.
The second point that we can learn from these events is that the human sense of reality can be warped. And if some people’s sense of reality can be warped then we can be sure that the same thing is happening to us on some level or another. We need to take measures to break free from that which warps our way of looking at the world. I propose that one way of helping us see beyond our limited perspectives is the medium of conversation.
I have mentioned in a previous post that my community has been around for some time now. The collective perspective of the traditional Jewish community spans many generations and many cultures. We have encountered various opponents and antagonists more than once and after a while certain patterns emerge.
We have encountered science and the scientific community over the centuries. Since science is the study of truth and since we worship the God of truth, we have never found ourselves in conflict with the method of study known as science. In fact, many of our great teachers were learned in the sciences themselves. However, we did come into conflict with members of the scientific community. I am not talking about conflicts with people who happen to be scientists in a way that is unrelated to their occupation in life. I am referring here to conflicts with the scientific community as the scientific community.
Allow me to illustrate with an example. Throughout our history we have had various interactions with the science of the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed in an eternal unchanging world and this conflicted with our belief in a world that had a beginning. Since these scientists had acquired their knowledge through the scientific method (or so they thought), they felt very confident with their knowledge. After all, the scientific method is a study of reality, how could anyone compete with that?
But both you and I know that those scientists were wrong. Where did they go wrong?
Here is where our historical perspective can help us. In every generation, scientists enjoy their knowledge and rightly so. Their knowledge was justly earned for it was obtained through a rigorous unrelenting search for truth. But this enjoyment of their knowledge often skews their perspective of reality. The human tendency would have us maximize that which gives us honor and joy and minimize that which does not contribute to our benefit. In the case of the scientist, it is the knowledge that he possesses that is magnified and his ignorance is minimized in a way that is incompatible with reality. In every generation we find the scientific community seeing itself on the pinnacle of a high mountain when with hindsight we can see that they had barely reached the top of a molehill.
How does this pattern play itself out in our generation? Let us examine the landscape of the thought process of humanity in our day and age.
You have argued that atheism is the default position of every human being. We are born without belief and we do not believe in anything unless we learned it, or to use your word, we were indoctrinated with it.
I will mention that we are born with an innate knowledge of existence that extends beyond the limitations of our own. It can be argued that this sense of a more substantial existence than our own transient existence is sensing the Divine. I will not focus on this right now. Instead I will focus on the argument of intelligent design.
At some point we come to recognize that the world we live in is amazingly complex, it is full of sophisticated function, it is loaded with wondrous beauty and an immense range of pleasure. Even if the default was atheism, at this point of recognition the default changes. The human mind naturally assumes that such sophisticated complexity must be intentional and the human mind moves toward understanding that there is a power above and beyond nature that intended this beautiful world.
This line of thinking is pervasive. People throughout history and from many cultures came to this understanding. It is not an argument that was produced by indoctrination of one sort or another. The wonder of the world moved people to think in the direction of a supernatural entity (or entities) that stands behind it all. This is the natural flow of the human mind. It doesn’t mean that it is right, but it is natural.
Enter the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution proposes that the sophistication and complexity that is evident in living organisms arose through natural laws. Some people have used the theory of evolution to undermine the argument from the complexity of the world.
But let us step back and see what the theory of evolution has accomplished. Even if we were to accept every aspect of neo-Darwinian evolution there is still so much sophisticated complexity that is not explained. There are many aspects of our universe that are not alive and are not touched by the theory of evolution. The delicate balance between the various physical forces, the balance between the various elements, the balance of temperature, as well as many other factors, all need to be precisely aligned in order to sustain life on this planet. The portrait of intentional sophistication is virtually untouched by the theory of evolution.
Within the realm of living organisms, we find sophistication and wonder, even after the theory of evolution. How does the theory of evolution dictate that nature should be flooded with such a variety of taste, smell and color? How does the theory of evolution explain the fact that we have the faculties to appreciate and enjoy this variety of experience? And evolution doesn’t touch upon the very origin of life itself.
Evolution only explains a fraction of the complexity that we experience here on earth. Yet people use it to dismiss all of the beauty that is part and parcel of our daily existence. I propose that too much weight has been placed on this theory.
The excitement generated by the theory of evolution has also brought many in the scientific community to turn a blind eye to some of the problems that are evident in the theory. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the phenomenon of convergent evolution. If evolution is unguided and undirected then how did an organ as complex as the eye independently repeat itself in mammals and mollusks? How about echolocation in bats and dolphins, or electrocution in eels and stingrays, or the same mechanism for hearing in the South American katydid and vertebrates?
People who are enthralled with the theory of evolution tend to exaggerate problems with the creationist world view. Out of millions of highly functional and purposeful systems in the natural world, science has observed a few oddities. These are elements of various systems which seem to be cumbersome or useless. Evolutionists seize these as evidence for the inadequacy of the designer.
But this question has no basis in reality. One cannot pass judgment on a machine if they have no clue how it was built. Nature is full of highly functional systems that the scientific community has not yet unraveled. How then can they pass judgment on one wire or cog of the machine if they still did not fully figure out how the machine works? The man who could tell me how the liver turns orange juice into blood, how the birds find their way over oceans in the dark, how plants get energy from the sun, how the tropical spitting spider manufactures its glue, that same man will be qualified to tell me that this one nerve could have been wired more efficiently or that this string of DNA serves no purpose.
There is no question that the perspective of creationists is also warped by their predisposition. These people tend to play down the evidence for evolution and play up the problems with the theory. I am not claiming innocence from this human malady. I am saying that life is a two-way street and that we all need to look both ways before crossing.
Warped Perspectives II
There is another area of reality which is sometimes difficult for us to get a grip on. Suffering and pain have the ability to occupy our entire horizon. While a person is experiencing pain it is not only difficult for them to see that there is more to life than their personal trouble, it is even hard for them to imagine anything but the darkness that they are experiencing. This holds true not only for the sufferer but also for those who empathize with them.
The book of Job addresses this phenomenon. This book articulates the argument of the sufferer and it tells us that many of the arguments that people use to counter the cry of the sufferer are not only wrong, but immoral as well. The three friends of Job who attempted to argue on behalf of God are rebuked by God for speaking improperly (Job 42:7). It is immoral to tell a sufferer that he brought the suffering upon himself with his sins. It is also immoral to try to dismiss the pain of the sufferer with various philosophical arguments.
The moral position is to recognize the power of suffering and pain to dominate a person’s horizon. It is right to acknowledge the weight of the hurt and to empathize with the troubled heart. But it is also right for the sufferer to recognize that as a limited being his perspective is also limited. For the sufferer and his comrades to pass judgment on all of existence is a denial of the limitations of our perspective.
The lesson of the book of Job seems to be that the world has no right to pass judgment on the sufferer, and the sufferer can recognize that he is in no position to pass judgment on the world.
My nation lived this out about 70 years ago. We suffered and the world judged us. Many people continue to judge us. But we did not let our suffering change our perspective of the world. We still believe in the inherent goodness of man and we still believe in the blessing of life.
Human existence is flooded with goodness. The senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, the joys of friendship, a baby’s smile, discovering, growing, accomplishing, overcoming challenges, and so much more. The joy of existence itself is there for us to appreciate. Our lives have so much goodness in them. Yes there is suffering, and from the position of suffering all of these become so small if we see them at all. But we can understand that the standpoint of suffering does not give us the most accurate view of reality.
No Stronger than the Weakest Link
There are only two reasons why any of us do anything. We act only in the hope of acquiring pleasure or because we are trying to escape pain. A noble act is not one which is altruistic because there is no such thing as real altruism in the human experience. A noble act is one which is performed in order to satisfy one of the noble pleasures or to escape a noble pain and allow me to explain.
The human experience encompasses a very wide range of pleasure and pain but there are three categories of pleasure and pain which are noble (there is a fourth category, but we’ll leave that for now). If a person acts because he is motivated by one of these three categories, we say that he has performed a noble act. These are the drive to empathize, the drive for justice and the drive for truth.
To illustrate. You are standing in a lonely subway station, no one is there and the security cameras are all turned off. There is a beautiful painting on the wall and beneath the painting stands an open can of black paint. You are suddenly overcome by a childish urge to take the paint and splash it across the painting. Why will you not do it? You will not be caught, there will be absolutely no repercussions for your actions. No one will ever know that it was you who destroyed the painting. Why not?
Some people would say that the reason they will not destroy the painting is because so many people enjoy it and they feel bad for the people that will no longer enjoy it. This is empathy or kindness. Another person might say that he cannot destroy the painting because it does not belong to him. This person is motivated by the drive for justice. His sense of right and wrong prevents him from this destructive act. A third person will say that he cannot destroy the painting because it is beautiful. This person is motivated by the drive for truth and harmony.
Each and every one of us possesses these three drives to some degree or another. In some of us these drives are dimmer while in others the drives are more refined and stronger. But all of us are sensitive to these pains and pleasures when we are at the receiving end of a cruel and unjust act. If we are hurt by the cruelty of another we identify that act as an act of cruelty and when we are hurt by injustice or by a lack of honesty we identify the act as unjust and dishonest.
If someone risks his life to save another person, we generally identify the act as a noble act. This is because such an act is usually motivated by the drive to empathize with another. If the person risked his life only because of a calculation that this act will bring him honor and fame, we would not consider this act to be so noble.
If a person returns a lost object we see that as a noble act. But this is because we see the act of returning a lost object as an expression of the drive for justice or for kindness. If the act was performed solely for the sake of receiving a reward, the act will not be so noble anymore.
If someone is careful with their speech, they never lie or exaggerate and they speak only the truth, we would say that this is a noble man. But that is because we assume that this person is motivated by an affinity for truth and an aversion to falsehood. If we were to discover that this man is frightened to lie because he sincerely believes that his nose will grow longer every time he lies, we will not see this man as noble as we thought.
It is the motivations that determine the nobility of the act.
There is however a factor that we consider when we evaluate a given act. As humans we are blessed with intelligence. If the noble motivation produced catastrophic results and those results could have been predicted by human intellect, we do not say the man was noble, we say he was stupid. But as a general rule, it is the motivation that determines the nobility of the act.
This applies not only to activities but to our way of looking at the world. Religious people tend to consider those who share their particular worldview to be “good” while those who disagree with them are “bad.” But if we look at the foundation of our worldview we might want to reconsider.
Why does a person accept a given worldview? In many cases, it is simply because this is the worldview of the society around them and they never considered looking at the world in a different way.
This is not an ignoble motivation but it is also not very noble. Once a person realizes that other people have different worldviews, the quality of empathy should have him see that his worldview may be in error. The drive for truth should push a person to rethink and reexamine that which he has been taught.
If a person resists the pull of truth and refuses to reconsider and the person resists the pull of empathy and he dismisses those who see the world differently than himself, then we cannot consider his adherence to his worldview as something noble.
Similarly, if he refuses to reconsider his worldview because of fear, be it fear of supernatural punishment or fear of ridicule and contempt from his peers, then again, we cannot consider his stubborn insistence on clinging to his worldview as something noble.
However, if a person considers and reconsiders his or her worldview and his drive for truth, kindness and justice lead him to accept a given worldview (be it the one he started with or one that he learned later in life), then and only then can we consider his acceptance of a given worldview to be noble.
Many atheists criticize religion on these grounds. They cannot imagine a person adhering to the worldview of any given religion unless that person violates their own drive for kindness, justice and truth. If you care about other people and you respect their right to live, how then can you worship a God who commanded His people to massacre entire populations? If you care about justice, how then can you follow a code of law that seems to be unjust? And if you are following your affinity for the truth then how can you believe in myths that have already been debunked?
These are fair and honest questions and they demand real answers. The tendency of religionists to dismiss or ignore these questions makes the atheist look more religious and noble than them.
I cannot answer for other religions and I will not answer for them. I will however say that as a general rule, I will not pass judgment on members of other religions even if they provide no answers for these questions. I am personally acquainted with some very kind, honest and just people who believe the strangest things. I will not say that these people are violating their sense of integrity, kindness and justice in maintaining their belief system. I would much rather believe that these people are not aware of the problems with their belief system or that their bias doesn’t allow them to appreciate the true weight of these questions.
I will however attempt to answer for Judaism.
Judaism begins with a national testimony. The Jewish child is born into a nation of witnesses. These witnesses are not testifying about a person or a group of people who told them a story. This nation testifies about events collectively experienced, about events that dramatically impacted their lives and about a national encounter with the Divine. The testimony of Judaism stands apart from the foundational testimonies of other belief systems in that it is national, it speaks of concrete, physical life-changing experiences and that it never required interpretation.
The law that surrounds this testimony preserved a community that stood as an island of justice, kindness and morality in an ocean of cruelty, depravity and injustice. This same law molded countless individuals into paradigms of goodness and continues to do so until today. Over the centuries, those members of the community who deviated from the law, slowly slid into the depravity of the surrounding society within a few generations.
Did the God of Israel command the annihilation of an entire population? Indeed He did, but as the Sovereign of all life when God takes a life He is not taking but that which is already His. Those He directed to fulfill this command were people who had no reason to doubt the truth of His existence or the truth of the command because these were the very people who witnessed bread raining down from heaven and a pillar of cloud and fire that showed them the way in the wilderness.
Are all of the laws of the Torah just? For the Western mind the answer may be “no.” There are some laws that seem strange and even unjust to the worldview of the modern Westerner. There is no question that some of the Torah’s laws seem strange and unjust to the mind of the Moslem, to the mind of the medieval Christian, to the mind of the Ancient Roman and to the mind of the Greek philosopher. But the totality of the Torah’s laws has passed the test of time. The grand total of the Torah community towers above the societies that ridiculed it in respect for human life, in the rights of all people, in morality, in kindness and in fairness and justice. We cannot tweak any of the laws because we don’t know what will happen to the grand total when we start moving around any of its components.
Have the foundational stories of the Torah been debunked? No, they have not. No historian today doubts that David reigned over Israel and that his son Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem. No historian today doubts that the heart of the Psalms date back to David’s harp. So we see that the national self-identity of the Jewish people is the same today as it was 3000 years ago. A self-identity that sees the nation bound in a covenant relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth, a covenant that was sealed and validated in a miraculous exodus from Egypt. And the national self-identity was surrounded by a law of holiness that was given to us by Moses.
There is no record of another self-identity for this nation. Israel has no literature or art that tells a different story. And this self-identity is unique. It stands apart from the self-identity of any other nation in that it speaks of a covenant sealed in concrete events experienced in this world with the Author of morality and truth.
Has archeological research corroborated this testimony? Not necessarily, but it is also wrong to say that archeological research has contradicted it. The archeological record indicates that there was an influx of people into Canaan at about the time of Joshua’s conquest. These people were culturally different than the Canaanites who inhabited the land before them. This could then be the evidence of Israel settling the land in the days of Joshua. However, there is no Egyptian record of the exodus. But evidence from silence is not evidence of non-existence. The silence of the Egyptians could be understood as a reluctance to record an embarrassing episode which is common not only amongst ancient historians, but amongst some modern ones as well.
The sensational announcements by some members of the scientific community that the exodus story has been “debunked” and the respect that these announcements receive by various media outlets should not move the honest person. These pronouncements by a “majority” of “scholars” deserve as much credit as the anti-Israel pronouncements by the same “majority” of “scholars.” The respect that the BDS movement garnishes in the “scientific community” and the popular view in that community that Israel is an apartheid state which oppresses the Palestinian people for no legitimate reason tells us how much respect the opinions of this community deserve.
The Jewish acceptance of the tenets of Judaism is rooted in the Jew’s appreciation of truth. To the degree that the Jew has refined his sensitivity to truth to that same degree will he appreciate the honesty of the bearers of the testimony. The acceptance of the tenets of Judaism is also rooted in an appreciation for justice and kindness. To the degree that the Jew’s sensitivity to justice and kindness has been cultivated and refined to that same degree will the Jew appreciate the achievement of Israel to maintain this island of morality in an immoral and cruel world.
Confidence and Doubt
Honesty, kindness and justice demand that we consider the possibility that we may be wrong. If I believe that the deepest convictions of so many people are simply dead wrong, then I need to analyze my own convictions. If so many people can walk in darkness with absolute faith that they are walking in light, I need to ask myself how I know that this is not happening to me.
Perhaps I can reassure myself with the experiences that I find in the path of my worldview. The feeling of God’s embrace in the kindness of existence, the sanctity of Sabbath that is palpable in a Jewish home. The closeness to God that I experience when I live out one of His commandments or when I immerse myself in His word. Or the love and awe that comes alive when I stand in prayer before my God. Perhaps I can look to these and tell myself; this must be real.
Perhaps, but then I would need to explain away the experiences provided by all other belief-systems. Members of every religion lay claim to amazing experiences and I dismiss these as misleading, so how can I lean on my own experience if spiritual experiences can be false?
Maybe it is miracles, answered prayers and uncanny predictions that have come to pass that will confirm my belief system.
Maybe, but then I will need to explain how competing belief systems also lay claim to some of these.
Perhaps I can lean on the logical arguments that stand at the base of my belief-system? But I must realize that my mind has been conditioned by my upbringing and by the religious culture in which I was raised. Arguments that seem powerful and irrefutable to me do not seem to move people who do not share my religious background. How then can I rely on the appeal of these arguments to my own sense of truth when the thing I am seeking to validate is that very sense of truth?
Perhaps I can look at the jealousy that my worldview generates amongst those who wish they had the truth. Both Christianity and Islam find the need to malign my worldview in their effort to lay claim to divine truth. If I wouldn’t possess the truth then why would these pretenders need to put the slander of my worldview in the center of their respective narratives?
Perhaps I can look at the hatred that my worldview generates amongst the villains of history? Hitler, Stalin, Torquemada and Osama bin Laden were worlds apart from each other on many issues but on two issues they all stood together. They were extremely evil people and they hated Jews and Judaism. Perhaps the fact that the destroyers of civilization see my worldview as something that stands in their evil way, this could then validate my worldview as the truth that opposes the evil represented by these men?
Maybe I can look to the irrational and dishonest hatred that my worldview still generates amongst the insane of our generation? Why would people who care nothing for human life accuse me of disrespecting human life if I didn’t represent a higher truth? Why would people who don’t bat an eyelash when genocide is taking place in many parts of the world suddenly erupt in self-righteous indignation when my people strike out in desperate efforts of self-defense? Perhaps this strange phenomenon can confirm that my worldview is something that stands in intrinsic opposition to crookedness and falsehood?
Should I look to the wondrous survival of my people against all odds? Not only the survival of the physical people of my tribe but the survival of my worldview in a world that brought everything to bear in an international effort to eradicate my way of thinking. A worldview that continues to inspire new generations of Jews, not with threats of death and punishment but with the life and vigor that is inherent in Judaism. A worldview that continues to illuminate the lives of people in so many generations and cultures with its awesome grasp of the human experience. What is it in Judaism that continuously gives light? And how did this worldview survive if not for the hand of God that directs the history of man?
Maybe I should look at the impact that my worldview had on world civilization? So many people who were cultivated and raised in the cradle of my worldview, a worldview that promotes wisdom, life and the human effort to improve the world around them, went on to make great contributions to the general welfare of mankind. Is this not a vindication of the worldview that developed the creative genius of so many people?
Should I look to the levels of justice, kindness and truth that were maintained by those who followed my worldview to authenticate my beliefs? The statistics which set those who adhere to my worldview apart from the general population? Or perhaps I should look to the moral giants that took the principles of Judaism to great heights of morality, empathy, holiness and truth?
I look to all of these and my sense of belonging to the eternal community of Israel is reinforced and strengthened. I am but a human being and I always need to be aware of the possibility of walking in error. But this awareness does not need to freeze me into inactivity or an inability to commit myself to a given worldview. The fact that I am a human does not prevent me from walking in the truth as I understand it and experience it. The fact that I am a human being does not stop me from living for the truth that resides in my heart and be willing to die for it.
Tug of War
We are all engaged in a tug of war. We can refer to this tug of war as a battle between light and dark or we can speak of the conflict between kindness, justice and truth on the one side with selfishness, greed, and immorality on the other. This conflict is going on not only in the world at large but inside each and every one of us. Most of us want to stand on the side of good and oppose bad but we are extremely capable of fooling ourselves.
I happen to have been born into a society that sees itself bound up in covenant relationship with the Author of morality and justice. The song of our king David resonates in our hearts and inspires us to recognize the beauty of truth. My people have been striving for morality and justice in their own lives for many generations. In this struggle of theirs my people have illuminated the lives of the societies around them.
The way I see things, stepping away from this covenant community is a step in the wrong direction. It is a step in the direction of darkness and injustice. But this does not mean that I see everyone who doesn’t belong to the covenant community as my enemies or as the enemies of light.
I see people in all societies pulling towards goodness and morality, each according to their own understanding. I see others pulling the rope towards chaos, darkness, cruelty and destruction. Many of these are sincerely convinced that they are the champions of truth and justice. There are people in my own community whose actions are simply motivated by greed and self-centeredness yet they are sincerely convinced that they are maintaining the legacy of Abraham and Moses. So there is a tug of war going on and one of the most frustrating aspects of this war is the aspect of confusion.
I believe in the inherent goodness of man. I believe that if man is confronted with the truth in all of its stark clarity with no room for confusion, then he would submit to the truth. But that stark clarity of truth is not so readily available in this world of confusion.
We can however take strides towards the truth. The most important step we can take is to try to make our own lives reflective of the truth. To try to move our own selves towards more humility, more kindness, more justice and more truth. To try to identify the hypocrisy and greed that resides inside ourselves and overpower these with love and truth. This is the most important contribution we can all make in this universal tug of war.
But there is another contribution that we can bring to the table and that is the medium of conversation. We can find people who are committed to the truth and speak things over. A respectful conversation amongst people who seek the truth can do much in dispelling the cobwebs of confusion from our collective lives. This conversation may be tedious and frustrating but the clarity that is generated from such a discussion is a worthy product.
This conversation is going on right now and has been going on for quite some time. And while there have been ups and downs but in a general sense the conversation is moving towards more justice, more kindness and more truth.
I see the Protestant reformation of the Church as a product of this conversation. One of the important catalysts in the reformation movement was the access that Christians had to alternative interpretations of Scripture. It opened their eyes to see the world differently than the way the Catholic Church would have them see it.
The renaissance was another positive milestone in the ongoing human conversation as is the democratization of many societies throughout the world. The loosening of the Church’s grip on the minds of men and the trend within Christianity to seek the Jewish roots of their faith are also important steps in this conversation. The fact that in some regions of the world, people are moving towards atheism and away from crooked religion is also a step towards morality and truth because crooked religion is further from the truth than sincere atheism.
The conversation continues and there are many forces that move the conversation in different directions. Some of these forces are angry, hateful, greedy, and power hungry. These forces often exert explosive power and they direct the conversation in a negative way. These evil forces have misdirected the conversation for centuries on end.
But ultimately truth will prevail. Truth is slow but steady. It is powerful but generally not explosive. Its power lies not only in the fact that it is real while everything else is but a dream but also in the relationship that human beings have with the truth. Human beings yearn for the truth. There will always be people who will search for the truth and even if these are persecuted and silenced, another generation will stand up and pick up where the truth seekers before them left off. And with time, maybe a lot of time, the knowledge of reality will cover the minds of men like the waters cover the sea.