I have been watching Babylon 5 and wanted to share this wonderful segment in episode 14 of the 5th and final season in which G’Kar, a member of the Narn species who wrote a book that people have come to regard as holy, is asked “What is truth? And what is God?” Here is his answer:
If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall a bright spot will appear on the wall.
The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding.
Too often, we assume that the light on the wall is God.
But the light is not the goal of the search. result of the search.
‘The more intense the search’ the brighter the light on the wall.
The brighter the light on the wall the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it.
Similarly, someone who does not search who does not bring a lantern with him sees nothing.
What we perceive as God is the by-product of our search for God.
It may simply be an appreciation of the light pure and unblemished.
Not understanding that it comes from us.
Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe.
God looks astonishingly like we do.
Or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness.
If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty and in all its flaws, and in so doing better understand the world around us.
In a comical moment, the person who asked the question responds by saying “Ah.. Yes. But.. What is truth? And what is God?”
G’Kar sighs and responds, “Truth is…a river…God is…the mouth of the river.”
With that answer, unlike with his initial one, the person who posed the question and the rest of the audience are content.
You can watch the clip here:
In response to someone who messaged me on Twitter seeking guidance because they were anxious about their beliefs and the conflicting views expressed online, I wrote the following, which is nowhere near as eloquent as the above.
I recommend first and foremost getting to grips with the fact that God is not threatened by your inquiry, that no human language will ever do justice to the reality of God, and that right doctrine is not the basis of salvation or a right relationship with God. That should quell your anxiety as you continue seeking to understand as much as you can and find words to express it, however inadequate.