We are all treasure hunters, we thinkers and seekers after truth. It is our hope that we find truth and that it will make us happy, that our lives will be better, that we will experience fulfillment and peace. While we each have the same goal, we often use vastly different algorithms in our efforts to attain it.
Some begin with a foundation and build upon it, developing themselves to the point that their ability to ascertain truth is efficient and accurate. Some engage in constant questioning, hoping that the answers will be forthcoming and enlightening. Most in modern industrialized nations go shopping for truth. Not unlike a person looking for a pair of shoes and a new shirt, they examine various cosmological, ontological, and epistemological theories to see which of each fits them best. They already believe that they know what truth is, so they compare and contrast available theories with their preconceptions.
It’s an easy pattern to see when it comes to religion in particular. People move to a new area and they try churches out until they find one they like. People choose Buddhism because it meshes well with the personal philosophy they have already implemented. People end up in the Church of Scientology due to their predisposition to distrust traditional sources and a tendency to associate with the unusual as part of a rejection of normality. People are or become atheists because God-belief contradicts their notion of reasonableness.
All of these people are missing the truth, which is that religion has never been about finding what fits you, and has always been about finding what fits who you want to become. We all need the ultimate treasure; ideals to strive for, requirements and beliefs that force us to grow beyond what we are, and a community to support us and hold us accountable on the journey. We will only find truth if we become truth, if our lives are a chord in God’s song.