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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Truth is truth

[Reposted from my youth ministry blog-]

I am always intrigued when I meet someone who denies something which I have already accepted as true.  In one way or another, it usually ends up being quite interesting. The main reason it interests me is because I end up learning a lot about people and how they come to form their beliefs. 

The moon landings form a prominent example of a class of beliefs people fail to believe in.  I remember first encountering this disbelief when I was in high school. The person who happened to disavow that Neil Armstrong and anyone else landed on the moon happened to be one of our group leaders. Quietly, I was astounded.  The reasons for not believing in the moon landing were elaborate and founded on what sounded like scientific reasoning.  However, after doing a little investigating at the school library and talking to one of my teacher's I found better reasons to continue believing we landed on the moon. 

The most enlightening thing about the encounter was what happened when I went to share this information with the group leader.  Instead of listening to what I had to say, this person rejected what I said. He said I was just buying into the hype, or something like that... In any case, his reasons for believing or disbelieving always trumped what anyone else presented. He just knew.  

As a Christian, this is a terrible way to believe.   Some people disagree with me, but I think they are wrong. I think Paul would also teach that you are wrong (c.f. 1 Cor. 15:3-8).   

Let me distinguish some things which will I believe will help us be better believers of truth. 
1. Truth is truth- it has a certain character. It is important to know the truth.
2. Truth never changes.  Particulars and contingent information can change, but truth never changes.  
3. Truth changes everything.  The nature of truth affects reality. 
4. Truth is contextual. Rarely does the phrase, "just the bare facts," make sense.  

Christians do know certain things. We are not global skeptics (i.e. people who do not believe something unless it can be proved with 100% certainty).  We may not always know how we come to know things, but we do know them.  

In humility, we should grant three things with all of this: 1. We are wrong at times, maybe even about a great deal.  2. We are limited and do not know everything. 3. We are not the only ones who can know truth. 

Knowledge is a sort of thing with degrees. It is not an all or nothing enterprise.  Truth is, but knowledge is not.   This is why we can acknowledge all of the above and still affirm basic Christian principles and beliefs.  

Returning to the example of the moon landings. How do we know it is true and really happened?  Well, the evidence points that way. Am I 100% percent certain we landed on the moon? No. Do I know we landed on the moon. Yes, I do. I believe the different types of evidence, my common sense, and the testimony of others. 

Our Christian belief should be formed in the same sorts of ways.  

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  (John 14:6).  

I know Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  This changes everything. 

P.S.- just for fun,
The Flag is Still There
Moon House Rock