Can you tell the difference between these two lists of questions?
- How do you build a self-driving car?
- What is the best way to treat breast cancer?
- What is the quickest way to get to New York from Los Angeles?
- How high can a skyscraper be built?
- What is the best way to obtain energy?
- What is the best way to cope with feelings of anger?
- Can love be sustained or is it destined to fade?
- How do we best find consolation in the face of death?
- How do we raise children to respect their parents?
- How do you balance work and family?
I am sure you got it. List A comprises questions for which the answers regularly change. To find the current answers to List A type questions, we need only to study the latest scientific and technological data. Each year as we acquire more knowledge and achieve greater technological prowess (and sometimes as we unmask scams or discover errors) those answers change.
In List B, however, the answers never fundamentally change. Regardless of new advances in science, technology, or medicine, the answers to those questions remain the same.
These kinds of questions gnaw away at people. Long ago, people turned to Scripture for the answers. About the time of the Renaissance, secularism started spreading its sordid stain and universities replaced the study of God’s teachings with literature. People studied Seneca the Roman philosopher partly to learn his views on anger management. They read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to gain insight into the complex dynamics of marriage and studied Shakespeare’s plays for understanding the entire range of human emotions.