These days, information on just about anything is easy to find. An argument over the lyrics of a song can be settled in seconds with a smart phone. Rare, age-old documents can be read online even though the original sits protected halfway around the world. If we want to know something about spiritual views different from our own, that information is likely very few clicks away.
Truth, however, is more difficult to locate than ever. And if, as I would imagine most people believe, religion and spirituality is about finding truth, the glut of info can either help or hinder that search.
Now, I’m a big fan of the glut of info. But our approaches to spiritual truth largely still rest on the old idea that once you’ve found what you believe to be truth, all falsehoods need to be avoided. If you’ve found THE TRUTH, poking about in dangerous misinformation might destroy that connection.
I grew up in such a tradition. Not only were certain topics taught as wrong or mistaken, but reading about them was a grave misdeed. If we wanted information on those paths with which we were unfamiliar but curious, we were to trust the judgment and assessment of those on our side and never listen to those who walked those paths.
It should probably be no surprise to anyone that I ended up spiritually where I am now. I was the kid who checked out books on the paranormal and claimed I had to read them for a class if they were found. I’ve never liked knowing information was being withheld from me. In fact, even when I was a committed believer, I knew it didn’t make sense to simultaneously claim that our beliefs were objectively true and undeniable, that our faith would protect us from evil, and that it was wrong to learn about other belief systems because we could be lured away or something.
Censorship is never beneficial.
Knowledge is always desirable.
How much do you know about the spiritual paths which diverge from your own?