News and Views
Discerning Truth From Fiction
One of the most difficult things that faces us these days is recognizing what is true and what is not true in the multitude of ideas bombarding us every day.
The first, and perhaps the most difficult to sort through, concerns the vary nature of truth, the question of whether truth is relative or absolute. The concept that truth may be relative is fairly recent, growing out of increasing philosophical arrogance that places human intellect at the centre of both knowledge and reality, as can be seen in one of its favorite questions, "If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound if nobody hears it?" This view of truth has been popularized in the catch phrase, "My truth is as good as your truth." However, truth, as it describes reality, can still be best viewed in terms of something being true and its opposite being false. Some things are absolutely true, in every place, in every time, in every circumstance, without regard to fads in human rationalization. This concept is well stated in the book, "The God Who Is There," one of the writings of Francis Schaeffer, one of the great philosophical minds of the 20th Century.
Jesus made two statements which are definitive of truth and its opposite. In John 14:6a He says, "I am the way and the truth and the life." (NIV) In John 8:44 He says to the unbelieving religious leaders of His day, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (NIV) If Jesus, God the Son, is truth, then God is the origin of all truth, which makes sense considering that God created all, besides Himself, that exists, and that He is all-knowing. This means that we can accurately say, "All truth is God's truth." This says three things about truth: First, God's written Word, the Bible, is the plumb line for truth. Second, humans can discover truth as they learn about themselves and the world they live in. Third, the truth humans discover and the correct interpretation of it will agree with a true and unbiased interpretation of the Bible.
In our time, there is a constant barrage of messages with a mixture of truth and un-truth, messages that seem so helpful at first glance, but messages which ultimately are rooted in some aspect of the supremacy of the human intellect or of demonic lies, and thus lead away from relationship with God. These messages come in one form or another through a lot of TV programs, through books, through internet web sites, through friends on facebook, and through any and every other means of communication. These messages give us false views of God, false views of Christianity, false views of who we are as humans, false views of human abilities, false views of human goals, and false views of reality. Their original sources include other religions, philosophy, psychology, New Age spirituality, liberal humanism, individuals claiming special insight, and more.
An example is the book "The Secret" which seems to claim that we can personally gain by following the impersonal laws of an impersonal universe. There is no "Law of Attraction," but when we follow Paul's advice to think positively about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), we will find our minds being transformed (Ro, 12:2) and will be happier and more pleasant people. Proverbs 23:7 recognizes that our innermost thoughts show what we are, as it says, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he," (Amplified) Dr. Henry Cloud was asked to write a book answering "The Secret." and he did an excellent job in his book "The Secret Things of God," which tells God's positive message while recognizing bits of truth from "The Secret" and not being a mere put-down.
Always, the problem is to recognize which is true, which is false, to recognize how a tiny false bit can twist the whole message making it harmful as a whole while remaining predominately true. The problem is exactly as convoluted as that last sentence. The only way that we can recognize the false twists is by dwelling in a growing knowledge of the truth, by making the Bible our source book, by seeking to know God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, personally and well, and by living in obedience to the truth we know. Knowing the truth is like having those who deal with money spend a considerable time simply handling real currency, because by handling the real thing they learn its feel and can then recognize counterfeits. If we neglect the truth, if we neglect to submit to the sovereignty of God, we risk missing out on all that is good in eternity.
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