The Simplest and Most Important Questions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Hawkes   

 

The Really Important Questions We Tend to Avoid

 

I came across the following statement in a book I am currently reading: “Philosophers and psychologists have long been aware of man’s basic inability to perceive that which is closest to them. Sir Norman Angell tells us that ‘it is quite in keeping with man’s curios intellectual history that the simplest and most important questions are those he asks least often.’”

 

That started me thinking. What are the simplest and most important questions that we ask least often? We could have a little fun coming up with a list of potential questions that might qualify.

 

For instance: Two Australian sailors staggered out of a London pub into a dense fog and looked around for help. As they steadied themselves, they saw a man coming into the pub but evidently missed the military medals flashing on his dress uniform. One sailor blurted out, “Say, bloke, do you know where we are?” The officer, thoroughly offended, snarled in response, “Do you know who I am?” The sailors looked at each other, and one said to the other, “We’re really in a mess now. We don’t know where we are, and he don’t know who he is.”

 

Those are two good questions, but not what I was thinking about.

 

 

To me, the simple, most important questions that we ask least often are worldview questions.

 

Whether we know it or not – whether we like it or not—each of us has a worldview. A worldview is a way of thinking and living that shapes our understanding of life. And consciously or unconsciously, your worldview is shaped by how you answer four simple but very important questions, four fundamental questions of life. You've asked them, I've asked them, every thinking person asks them. As one author writes, “they boil down to this; origin, meaning, morality and destiny. How did I come into being? What brings life meaning? How do I know right from wrong? Where am I headed after I die?”

 

On origins -- How do you answer to the question of origins? Where do you come from? Why is there something rather than nothing? Is your life essentially an accident?

 

On meaning -- What gives your life meaning? Where do you find purpose for living? What motivates you to get up each day? It is my observation that humans long for meaning. But if life is random, then there can ultimately be no meaning and purpose to existence. Where do you find your reference point for meaning?

 

On morality -- how do you know what is right or wrong? Who determines what is right and wrong? This is a critical question for the well-being of society. Is right and wrong subjective or objective? Is right and wrong situational or relative? Is right and wrong cultural or timeless? If not God, then who has the authority to say whether there is a moral order in operation? What is your point of reference?

 

Concerning destiny – what happens to a human being when he or she dies? Is death the end of existence? Where does this question come from? Again, it is my observation that the human heart longs for hope. Death is the ultimate challenge to hope and greatest revealer of hopelessness.

 

I believe that when you take the answers of Christ to those four questions, no other worldview gives satisfactory, true, answers to those individual questions. And then, when you put the four together, there's no other world view that results in such a coherent set of answers.

How did I come into being?

What brings life meaning?

How do I know right from wrong?

Where am I headed after I die?

Why not take some time and consider these four questions.