Reason might not be the best thing to use to find the answers

There may be many possible answers to these questions, and looking at the numerous ideas that have come from the human mind, it would seem that reason might not be the best thing to use to find the answers to these perplexing questions because what we want are not just any answers, but the right answers. The problem here is that this is in fact an area where reason doesn’t do very well.

As an example, imagine someone took you to a strange building. You’re standing at the closed front door, and that person asks you, “What’s behind that door, inside the building?” How much could you know through reason? You might be able to guess some things, like perhaps there being tables and chairs and lights and taps...but you could be wrong. It could be completely empty or completelyfull, or...well, almost anything. So how could you know, how could you reach certainty about what is behind that door? Well, of course you could go in and see it with your own eyes, but what if that was not possible? How, then, could you come to know what is inside?

Well, one way is that someone who has been inside tells you, or even a person who knows someone who has been inside tells you. But the question here is, how can I trust that person? How can I be sure that they are telling the truth?

It’s the same with these big questions; the purpose of life, why is there suffering, is there life after death...what is behind the door? It is hidden, unseen and unknown. Reason can’t come to any definitive answers, nor is there any reason to believe that intuition, or just ‘feeling it’ would do any better.

We can only get any degree of certainty when someone we have good reason to trust tells us.

Of course we still need reason. It’s only that it doesn’t work so well here as a direct source of knowledge about these matters. We still need reason to figure out who to trust.

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