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Be open-minded in search for truth

What Professor William Irwin describes as doubts may be looked at as being open to humbly examining all the available evidence ("God is a question, not an answer"; last Sunday).

For the believer or non-believer in God, the conclusion should be reached only after an honest consideration of all that can be examined, including the views of others of different faiths and the different claims of various individuals, including those of atheists. The point is that the searcher should be open-minded, open to reason and open to objective investigations.

An indifferent approach may be unwise, especially if one agrees that "there are potentially unpleasant consequences that can arise from decisions or conclusions, and one must take responsibility for them".

But one should not restrict this search only to the plane of reason and evidence; we cannot ignore the reality of experience and the happenings which go beyond the "ordinary". Neither should one lightly dismiss the claims of those who trust in what is invisible and seem certain of what is beyond the physical realm.

For the believer or non-believer in God, the conclusion should be reached only after an honest consideration of all that can be examined.

Prof Irwin concluded by saying that "we can respect anyone who approaches the question honestly and with an open mind". Indeed, he believes this open-minded search for truth can unite believers and non-believers "in a continuing conversation, addressing an enduring question".

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 10, 2016, with the headline 'Be open-minded in search for truth'. Print Edition | Subscribe