THE PRINCIPLES OF RELIGION
Our intent and goal here is to shed light on the True path to G-d. To truly grasp the True Path, one must fully comprehend the differences between it and false paths. Then one may follow it with the confidence and knowledge that it will lead him to his desired goal. The reason is quite simple. If the ultimate goal and claim of any path is to lead one to the ultimate Truth of reality, it must be established as valid, for if it is not, how could it lead to Truth? The ultimate purpose and claim of every religion or path is that it will lead one to the ultimate Truth of reality, i.e. G-d. This is the purpose of all religion. Certainly, those following these paths must be seeking ultimate Truth, for if they were not, they would not follow any path. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every seeker of truth to contemplate truth. This can be said to be the beginning of the path to truth. A person, who has not investigated truth, cannot be considered to be a true seeker of truth. This is simply because he has not taken the necessary steps to arrive at truth and distinguish it from the false.
Unfortunately today we find ourselves in a state of doubled and quadrupled darkness. So many competing religions and ideologies claim to be true. Therefore, our purpose here is to determine the foundational principles which may be regarded as self evident axioms and their logical ramifications. Through this we will be able to isolate the truth and reject the false. As explained above, this is clearly the beginning of the path for any seeker of truth. It is, therefore, the beginning of acquiring Divine wisdom and insight into the True Reality of G-d.
The Primary Axiom
The primary axiom, which is the foundation of all other axioms, is our own existence, and although this cannot be tested in a laboratory, there is not a single person on earth who is capable of denying or escaping the basic truth that he exists. Certainly, no one is willing to die based on this assumption. Moreover, the awareness of existing is far greater and more powerful than any other experience. The very fact that we are aware and experience anything, is proof positive that we exist, for otherwise, who is experiencing? We, therefore, accept our existence as axiomatic in everything we do, for if we actually believed we did not exist, and operated under that assumption, we would be incapable of doing anything. We could not eat, drink, move or even breathe. A nonexistent being does not breathe. The very fact that all people breathe, proves, without a doubt, that they believe they exist.
Because it is universally accepted that we exist (as evidenced by the fact that everyone eats, drinks, moves and breathes etc.) we may establish this as an incontrovertible and self evident truth. We will, therefore, use our existence as the primary axiom in determining the true path to G-d. (Anyone who seriously disputes this may demonstrate his convictions by jumping off a bridge with total indifference to his life.) We may, therefore, test the claims of all paths and religions against the axiom of our existence.
The Ancillary Axiom
Secondly, in regard to our existence, it is undeniable that we have limitations which we are incapable of overcoming. No matter how strongly I will it, I am incapable of flying like a bird or living underwater like a fish. Even the powers and qualities which I do possess are limited. I am limited in time (I live, but not eternally), and I am limited in space (I am here, but not everywhere). In every way, I am confined by my defining qualities and limitations, for that is the very nature of my existence. This truth is undeniable and inescapable. The “nature of our existence” is, therefore, our second axiom and self evident truth.
Now, we do not ask that any of our arguments be accepted, on faith alone. On the contrary, our entire purpose here is to come to an intelligent discernment between the true and the false. Therefore, all we ask is that the reader be objective and set aside his presuppositions and prior beliefs. He need not reject them outright, but merely disregard them for now. The reason is quite simple. The strength of long held beliefs and preconceived notions may be so overpowering as to blind one to truth. Furthermore, the power of desire is far greater than all the other powers of the mind. It, therefore, has the power to overcome one’s perception, distort his reasoning and deceive him into mistaking truth for false and false for truth.
An example of how desire can distort the intellect and conjure faulty rationalizations may be understood by the example of a child who desires a bicycle. Because he desires the bicycle his brain races (automatically) with rationalizations for why he needs it. He goes to his mother and tells her, “I need a bike to get to school every morning”. Clearly, this is not the true reason, but he has convinced himself of it. The proof is his reaction when his mother tells him, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll drive you to school every morning”. Now his intellect reverts back to its original desire, and he throws a tantrum saying, “But, I want a bike”.
Likewise, in our case, if one does not objectively analyze his beliefs, his conclusions will be distorted by his preconceived notions and desires. Only if he is able to step back from his beliefs, is he able to reflect upon them objectively, to discern their truth. If he is incapable of doing so, it is a clear sign that he may have been on a false path from the onset, for he has never taken the necessary prerequisite steps of any path, let alone the true path. He accepts his beliefs blindly, without foundation. Even if they happen to be true, he is unsure of it, for he has never truly examined them. Rather, he relies on others for his beliefs. Certainly, such a person is insecure and unsure of his beliefs.
Moreover, the fact that he is unwilling to objectively analyze and investigate his own belief system, clearly indicates that he is fearful of what he may discover. This gives us insight that although he may claim to be a true believer, who believes with all his heart, in truth, he is essentially unsure of his beliefs. This is the underlying reason for his fear of objectively investigating and analyzing them. Therefore, one who truly seeks Truth, and is unafraid of what he may discover, will set his current beliefs aside, and approach the analysis objectively. Only thus, can he ever hope to arrive at Truth.