Please join me on another thought experiment; Compassion drives me to embrace the paradoxical. Two opposing ideas can be true simultaneously, without changing the mathematical reality that there must be only one ultimate truth. Every equation has a right answer, even if we haven’t solved it yet.
We live in a delicate balance of extremes, the habitable zone. We may be able to survive under some extreme conditions, but too far in any direction outside of the habitable zone and we run through the unreasonable. What I find fascinating in this line of thought is the possibility of a true center, or source of life. Imagine the center of a sphere instead of a line.
Often when we seek to understand morality, we view it in two dimensions; on a scale from right to wrong; on a graph with an X and Y axis. What if morality was actually about finding a moral center? What happens to the data when we extrapolate a Z axis and change the angle of view? If we experience morality linearly, but it exists in three dimensions, how can we identify how close we are to the true center?
Consider this, we understand that the universe is expanding like a balloon. We also know science is unable identify the center of the universe because of our limited vantage point.
On a scale from black to white, which color is right, and which is wrong, blue or orange?
Trying to understand where you are inside a three-dimensional space while viewing everything in two dimensions quickly becomes an impossible task unless you can identify the center.
What if the habitable zone that surrounds us is bigger than we can begin comprehending? What if my world exists entirely in shades of blue while yours exists entirely in shades of orange? If the true center is black, where all colors come together, the problem is differentiating that the color orange is not the problem, only the shades of white that have faded it, and pushed it further from the true center. On a scale from black to white, blue and orange can agree to be different colors while working out the tones that define their relationship to the true center.
Understanding how we can honestly define the center becomes the true challenge. Consider that our individual experiences are limited. How do you know what part of your experience is orange, and what part of it is black or white and thus exists in an entirely different dimension? What if I decide that dark blue is ultimate truth? Then, with a life experience that ties everything you do to orange, I can never accept you because orange can’t ever be blue. Only when mixed can you get closer to a deep black point… or the “center” in this analogy.
Now, have you ever considered that when you are looking up, someone standing on the other side of the world would have to look down through the earth in order to look in the same direction as you? So, is the direction you look up or down? The truth is that it is in fact both things; Two opposed realities (up vs down) that are both true simultaneously, relative to perception and personal experience. I find this idea fascinating when you consider the idea of extremes.
When I think about extreme reactions, I imagine its like driving to a destination, missing the exit, and continuing down the highway because at least you were headed in the right direction when you started. You missed the center, you forgot where you were going in the first place because the direction was more important than the destination. Revelation 2:4 accuses the church or Ephesus of forsaking their first love, while they trudge on down the highway in their service to God.
Now, if two things can be true at the same time, does that mean that the truth must be relative to all individual experiences? Of course not! Someone standing next to you cannot logically argue that you are looking down when you turn your face to the sky. Only in the unique situation where you are interacting with someone on the exact opposite side of the earth as you, could you concede to those relative terms. While we may be able to concede differences in perspective, the truth remains. If the person standing next to you is looking down when you look up, you are not looking in the same direction. Understanding your relationship to others becomes important when determining their relationship to truth.
Taking this one step further, if the goal is to move toward the center, then trying to determine the position of others relative to the center becomes a hinderance to your own progress. When you drive a car, you keep your eyes on the road; you pay more attention to the vehicles in front of you than those behind. In my view, honest morality doesn’t pull over to direct traffic, but signals to others on the road as it presses toward the center on it’s own journey. I myself am focused on the road ahead and am always inviting others on this journey with me. My hope is in the center.
For myself, I know that my God is compassion. He exists in a realm without disease, or natural disaster or injustice, abuse or suffering. That beauty exists in the core of who you are as one made in the image of God. I am only interested in encouraging others to find what I honestly believe is ultimate truth, the deep and abiding heart of a compassionate God. In my view, Jesus demonstrated what it meant to live a compassionate life, even to the point of death. Compassion must seek to sacrifice, to serve. I believe a truly compassionate God could not honestly expect us to serve and care for each other sacrificially without demonstrating His compassion for us as He did through the Christ. I don’t see how God could be compassion if He is not also Jesus. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1John 4:7-12