"I believe the song, as an expression, thrives on confusion of what The Answer is. It shows one side of this confusion, where an answer is known as the solution to a problem, or even as a solution to all problems. The side that is not shown is one where The Answer is not the solution to problems, but rather the solution to answers. This could be conveyed as the difference between The Answer (with capital A) versus an answer (with lowercase a). An answer is a solution. The Answer is a consistent way to come up with answers. Both are equally important, but only the latter is consistent. Without this clarification it could be misinterpreted that The Answer doesn't exist, since the 'searching never ends, it goes on and on and on for eternity.' But this the searching for the answer, not The Answer. It seems to be difficult to understand The Answer but it is certainly possible. I believe understanding The Answer is somewhat similar to being enlightened, but I also believe that knowing The Answer does not solve problems. No, answers (as solutions) must still be discovered and rediscovered. It seems to be that there is never a complete answer for more than an instant, considering nothing stays the same for more than an instant (and maybe not even that long). This leads to the need for periodical testing and re-evaluation of problems and solutions, which is where punks come in. Now the song is not flawed according to any of this reasoning. No... the song is excellent. It simply presents the issue by leaning to one side to help listeners relate to the confusion between an answer and The Answer. It states nothing untrue or incorrect. Still, it offers little guidance for finding either The Answer or any answers other than to challenge the existing solutions. Just by itself it could be seen as having quite a dismal outlook on the search for answers and might also imply The Answer doesn't exist. I wish to provide additional insight for any who listen to this song. I most certainly do not proclaim to know The Answer nor to have any answers to problems. But The Answer does exist as the answer to answers and this should offer hope to those that need it and a challenge to seek it. Further, even if no answer can be truly complete for longer than an instant, it is worth striving for an answer that is as complete as possible. Knowing The Answer is to know why it is worth it.
"The answer, in my opinion seems to me that people are in search of an answer. The answer can be anything. Whatever the problem may be, we want to know what the answer is to solve it. What I think Graffin is trying to say is, that no one person will ever find an answer. He always point out throughout the song, one man preaching about an answer. When the people listen to the man, and he goes through with his plans, they fail miserably. He also points out that he has answers too. But Graffin is not out there to let everyone know about them. I think that what Graffin is trying to say here, if you look into the song deeper than what it really is, is maybe if we all think together as a whole, unite as one, ce up with an answer together, then maybe we will come up with a better solution than what on man can do."
"Religion tries to be The Answer. 'If you follow these rules, if you do what we say, you will reach nirvana.' But as that might work for some, it certainly doesn't work for me, nor for most of the people that I know. Pretty much, the song itself sends the message, 'What works for you may not work for everyone. Stick with your Answer, but trying to impose it upon others will most likely end in disaster.' The man with the solution for the dusty village, or the cat who was able to figure out why the sky looked the way it did, they were doing great until they tried to impose their Answer upon others. 'If you've got enough naiveté/ and you've got conviction/ then the answer is perfect for you.'"
"I think that 'The Answer' is a persons idea in how the world should be. So instead of accepting one answer, be open-minded and evaluate multiple answers because more answers will come along. Also that accepting one persons answer is not always the right thing to do. Because one persons answer could be truly devastating. For example 'The Answer' that Hitler decided on, to conquer Europe and rid the world of all but the Aryan race."
"I think 'The Answer' is referring to religion itself. As the lyric goes, everyone is looking for an answer, without regard for validity. Some of the things in the Bible and other religious books are ridiculous and sometimes just plain wrong. People will look toward religion for the answer to all their life's problems, but they don't bother to understand what they are actually doing. The miracles, why don't they occur with everybody? God acts in odd ways will be the answer. Once again an answer that means nothing. I think what the song is also saying is that you don't have to stick your answer in my face all the time. Pretty soon, another answer will come up, just like what happened to the old man. This is a lot like religions, who pity all the non-believers, deists, atheists, agnostics and other. Go ahead and pity, but don't keep insisting that I turn to religion, leave me alone."
"Well, I think this song is about the fact that there will never be an answer to the eternal questions of life and what we're supposed to do at this earth. You can search for the answer in some religion or anything but you won't find it cause there is none. You can also believe in those who believe they have found the answer (religions) and stop having your own thoughts anymore. "but if you've got enough naiveté, and you've got conviction, then the answer is perfect for you" I think this symbolizes that you have to be very naive to actually believe there is an answer to everything. Stop searching, start living!"
"This song is basically stating that people make up religion when it suits tehn weh ntehy are in need, or in need of a bit of attention. I myself am I Christian (you may find it hard to beleive that I am a great bad religion fan and am going to see them in Dublin!) and I can sympathise with this point of view. I look at Bad Religion's songs not as being anti-religious, but simply as stating perfectly reasonable opinions and arguements against religion."