Tag: THE NATURE OF TRUTH

TRUTH THROWN TO THE GROUND: Part 1

I love to watch old Sci-fi movies, but they look so dated and corny now: how did anyone ever take them seriously? Perhaps they never did…

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                              “WHAT IS TRUTH” by Russian painter Nikolai Ge (1831–1894)
Perhaps the answer lies partly in the fact that people of that time-say, the fifties-were so willing to enter into the story that they overlooked weaknesses in the plots, the sets and the acting. In fact, we do the same thing now, don’t we? Yes, the sets, the effects etc. are much more realistic, but any time we watch a film-even if it’s a true story-we’re intentionally believing something which isn’t real. In thirty years the films we love now will look dated and we’ll wonder why we enjoyed them so much.
E=MC2, or 3, or 5…PERHAPS…
Our willingness to believe things which in our heart of hearts we know are untrue or which we can’t substantiate is manifested in many ways. A science teacher not a million miles away from where I live told his class that there’s no such thing as truth in any absolute sense. You need to find your own truth, he said. If the students had applied that little nugget of advice in their exams many of them would have failed.

“There is no God”, he said boldly. Was he absolutely sure about that? Is that really a scientific statement, or is it philosophical? Who “proved” that there is no God?
Over a period of several months this self-styled warrior of truth (his own) was clearly attempting to turn his captive audience away from the faith and standards that many of their parents had worked diligently for years to bestow on them. By the end of the school year he’d worked up to his grand finale, his ultimate sermon: the beauty of Buddhism, and how they should all look into it.

“…it will throw truth to the ground…” (Daniel 8:12 ESV)

ESTABLISHMENT CLAWS (yes I did mean to spell it that way)
Of course, the common and contemporary wails of “separation of church and state” echoing around the nation only get applied to Christian beliefs: they don’t get applied or even considered when the argument and the discussion is against that same God, or for, say, Islam, even if the teacher is wasting the students’ learning time by talking philosophy rather than the science he’s being paid tax-payers’ money to teach. And this is just a miniscule part of the nation-wide, nay, the world-wide effort underway to stamp out all vestiges of Christian faith, to radically revise the last two thousand years of history, to totally alter our perception of truth, and to usher in a brave new world: a utopia in which boys and girls use the same toilets whether they want to or not, where babies by the million are denied the right to live, and where more people get married but separate a lot sooner.
Utopia! The word isn’t used anymore, I know. It’s worn out, old, cliched, and discredited. But make no mistake, the dream is the same, and it represents the belief that humanity is the competent commander of his own destiny. The word means, by the way, “no place”…perhaps one reason for its loss of favor.
“I’M NOT A NUMBER, I’M A FREE MAN!” (Number 6)
(Oh Patrick, you were such a male chauvenist!)
You may notice I used two more out-dated terms above: “boys” and “girls”. No, I don’t mean to agree that they’re out-dated: my sons are “boys”, and I praise the Lord for that. But if certain people have their way, not only will our boys and girls all be using the same toilets and the same locker rooms (they already are in some places), but anyone labeling people “boys” or “girls”, “men” or “women” will find themselves being sued by those who are so “loving” and “fair” that they’ll put you in jail and out of business for disagreeing with them, or even for refusing to bake a cake (oh I forgot, that’s already happened). Aaah! How loving these people are! They put us Christians to shame, don’t they!
Am I exaggerating? Consider newly updated anti-discrimination laws in New York (December 2015) where business owners can be fined up to $250,000 for miss-assigning a transgender person’s name:
The NYCHRL requires employers and covered entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification. Most individuals and many transgender people use female or male pronouns and titles.
Other violations of the law include refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities such as bathrooms that are “consistent with their gender identity” (NOTE 2)
You “won’t be fined for accidentally using the wrong pronoun”  in a private setting, defenders of the law claim. Let’s wait and see how true that statement is.
WHAT DO WE WANT?
I’ve written before about how we humans choose what we want to believe rather than hunting for truth. One answer to this assertion is that nobody can know what real truth is…therefore there’s probably no truth to be identified or found… therefore let’s just make up our own! That way, we’ll all be happy, right?

This kind of humanistic reasoning assumes that plurality can work, just so long as we all agree that other peoples’ “truth” is as valid as our own. Good luck with that one. And down we all go, in the direction of the lowest common denominator, or of the ideology with the biggest gun.

It’s about as logical as saying that two-plus-two is whatever you want it to be. The only “two plus two” theory not acceptable in this thought-economy is the Christian one.

It’s about as logical as saying that four different opinions of the color of the President’s hair can all be true: one says it’s red, another says it’s black, another says its blond, and another says it’s brown. Are they really all right? Is it true that the President’s hair is red and black and blond and brown?
There are people who would doggedly insist that yes, his hair is all those colors: “it’s just a matter of perception”, or “it’s just a matter of differing light frequencies making things appear to have certain colors”, or “how dare you be so judgmental!”
In the determination to avoid making a decision about certain things in this spaghetti of post-modern society, we’re denying our own intelligence, we’re distorting the art of logic, and we’re threatening to conclude that nothing, not even the power of reason, has any meaning except what we decide to give it. We’re replacing it all with gobbledygook, just for the sake of making a political or philosophical point-or rather, to avoid one. In fact I’ll go further than that: we’re replacing it all in order to avoid seeing “the elephant in the room”: the aspect of life, the universe and everything, the aspect of God and his creation which is eventually unavoidable: there is such a thing as Truth…whether you like it or not.

WHAT IS TRUTH?
After Jesus Christ was condemned to die he was questionned by Pilate, the governor of Judea. He told Pilate:
“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”.
Pilate replied, cynically,
“What is truth?” (John 18:37-38 NIV).
Our once-solidly grounded society, imperfect as it was, has descended to the philosophical confusion of the Roman Empire. If Pilate had really been interested in knowing what truth is, he would have at least considered the words of Jesus, who said:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the light. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
NOTES
1: Nikolai Ge (1831–1894).
2: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/27/nyc-will-fine-you-250000-for-misgendering-a-transsexual/

ARE ALL RELIGIONS WORSHIPPING THE SAME GOD?

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We Bible believers are commonly confronted with aggressive arguments against our monotheism, and yet we’re also told that all religions are worshipping the same God…

(EYEPHONE: “Spinoff” Evergreens +)

The logic goes like this:

“There are many different gods in the world, and many different philosophies, therefore it’s wrong to try to claim that your idea of God or your way to life and enlightenment is the right one or the only one. There are many roads to enlightenment, or to heaven, or to spirituality, or to God, and we are all on our own path to the same destination…” (whatever that may be).

The “all roads lead to God” assertion is an argument which attempts to rob me of my convictions by claiming that all beliefs are equally valid without consideration of their veracity or merit.

What about the group of 39 people known as “Heaven’s Gate”, who in March of 1997 beamed themselves up to a space ship hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet by killing themselves: were they on a valid path to life, heaven and enlightenment? What about those who murder others brutally in order to receive direct entrance into the presence of their god, with attendant submissive virgins and other abundant blessings- are they on a valid and acceptable path to life, heaven and enlightenment? If they are, I for one don’t want to go to there to be with them.

If everyone is going to heaven or an afterlife, except perhaps Adolph Hitler and your least favorite politician, how will life be any better in heaven than it is on earth now? There are twenty-five thousand murders a year in the United States alone: is that how heaven will be for all eternity? Surely not! If everyone is going to heaven will it not be filled with arguments, violence, greed, selfishness, bribery, friction, division and theft? I would rather not go there either, thank-you.

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And if someone or some force is going to make a judgment of some kind as to who should go, will it be your god or mine, or perhaps some baby-eating frog-god, or the cleansing effect of Samsara-the wheel of perhaps thousands of painful reincarnations?

What is “heaven”? Is it freedom from rebirth and oneness with Brahma, or is it enjoying the company of seventy-two perpetual virgins, or hanging out on some distant planet with hyper-intelligent aliens, or being present and in continual worship of Jehovah, or joining the ranks of heroes in Valhalla? How can it be all of these things at the same time?

Some people will tell you that there is a god of rocks, and some will tell you that rocks are one with God-that nature is god- and others believe that God created rocks and is separate from them. How can all three be right?

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Some say that god is an impersonal force in all of nature, and others believe that god is a person who created nature and is separate from it. How can both be right?

Some people think that God now condones and blesses gay marriage and others believe that homosexuality is and always has been an “abomination” to God:  how can both be right, unless God is schizophrenic or can’t make up his mind?

I once spoke with a very lovely and polite young woman from India. She told me that her family has ten gods. Under the umbrella of Hinduism you can believe in one god, ten gods, or millions of gods, so long as you are sincerely devoted to your chosen path. Imagine a world, a universe, in which there are millions of gods. How are they all going to agree? How are they all going to work together to create and maintain an orderly universe? Surely they would all have to be in perfect harmony and unity in order to function? (think “parliament” or “congress”). Surely they would have to attempt to choose one from among them who would have the final say? Surely they couldn’t be like the Greek pantheon, in which gods bicker, fight and take offense at each other for virtually no reason?

Imagine a nation like the United States or Russia having a thousand presidents: how would anything ever be achieved apart from argument and fighting? It’s difficult enough with one president! Can you imagine President Reagan sharing his position with President Obama, or vice-versa?

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If there is a real God he, or if you like “it” or “she”, must have certain characteristics.  Just as a man cannot have black curly hair, and red hair and blonde hair, so a real God cannot be both infinite and finite. He cannot be both precocious and all-wise and merciful. He can’t have several unrelated names. He can’t have a hundred different and contradictory plans for mankind. He, she or it must have particular characteristics, and they must be characteristics which will enable him/her/it to successfully create, sustain and manage tasks far beyond our abilities.

MANY ROADS?

Picture yourself on a road in Japan. You’re on highway 197 going west. You want to go to London England by car and you’re convinced that all roads lead to London. But you’re on an island, and twenty-five miles after passing the city of Yawatahama your car falls into the sea…plop. It doesn’t matter how much you sincerely believed that that road leads to London: it does not. You need to catch a plane or a boat, no matter how averse you are to the thought of flying or sailing. And if God is real, there must be similarly clear-cut lines between what is factual despite your sincerely-held beliefs, and what isn’t.

Try driving down a road which is sign-posted “Dead-End” and you are likely to be needing a farmer to come and pull you out of the middle of a field. Just as there are sign-posts on roads to guide us in our cars, so there are signs in our universe and our world, in history, nature, science and archeology which guide us in making a wise decision for our future spiritual direction.

The charge is often made-usually to the Bible believing Christian only-that it’s not possible to know that your way is right and that others are wrong, so we should all just give up our pet ideas and get along: I disagree. The Bible claims to tell us the truth about life, the universe and everything, and there are ways of testing that assertion.

In previous posts I’ve outlined some of the “signs” which I personally have concluded are real, tangible, reasonable guides for my own spiritual convictions. As an example see “Why I believe in God”: https://nickyfisher.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/why-i-believe-in-god/

Or read “Is God a Teapot?”  https://nickyfisher.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/is-god-a-teapot/

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Going back to “hair” for an analogy, if you said that my son has black hair, and I said he has brown hair, and someone else said he has blonde hair, and someone else that he has red hair, not only can we not all be right, but I’m more likely to be right because I have seen my son. I can attest to you with confidence that he has brown hair, and no matter how vehemently you assert that he has red hair or all colors of hair, I can stand my ground, and also try to convince you that you are wrong and I am right.

The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God, and attests confidently to a personal, loving, all-powerful God who created all things, and who sent his son into the world. His son is named, and his actions and words while on the earth have been recorded. You can either choose to reject that testimony, or you can embrace it and hold fast to it, since it entreats you to hold fast to it as though it were your life. In fact, it is your only way to life.

I have chosen by both faith and reason to believe that the Bible is the revealed, inspired Word of God. If you try to convince me otherwise, you are actually attempting to convert me to your idea of God, are you not? Why is it that it’s fine to “believe whatever you want to believe”, but it’s not alright to believe the Bible? Why is it that the only explanation for our existence and prescription for our health and healing that’s politically incorrect is the Biblical one?

The Bible is very clear on the subject of plurality:

“I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6b);

“I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6);

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts4:12);

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

WRONG RIGHTS AND A LAWLESS WORLD

In a world where we’re all expected to think that everyone’s understanding of truth is valid no matter how contradictory, there are an awful lot of laws being passed to enforce the politically correct view of truth.

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ALGORITHM “Cumulus”

Consider an example from the new business climate uncomfortably reminiscent of that of a fascist state, in which a small family business which once baked wedding cakes had to close their store and face fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars, simply because they wanted to live by their own politically incorrect Christian convictions http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/21/christian-bakery-guilty-violating-civil-rights-lesbian-couple/

The owners were essentially told that they were free to believe what they wanted to, but not to live out their beliefs. Where is the logic in that? And in truth, we aren’t allowed to even have our beliefs in our mind, because the state through such institutions as the education system strives to convince us that there is no God and that we all evolved from a puddle. Try to work against that and you will get fail grades and be turned away from many professional positions.

The empire which prides itself on its “freedoms” seeks to impose its ideas upon the rest of the world. Gone (or going anyway) are the Christian freedoms which brought more dignity and light to the West than communism, paganism, fascism and religionism ever managed to destroy by brute force. In their place is a creeping upside-down set of values, beliefs and morals which achieve more than Marx ever even hoped to achieve in the overturn of history and morality: There is no right or wrong that the State does not decree or consent to; the state now blesses immorality and the things God calls “an abomination”; there is no individual who is not subservient to the State; there is no higher power than the State; the State has the unchallenged right to lie and call it “truth”; there is no God to save us from ourselves; there is no fixed understanding of right or wrong; there is no hope of an afterlife, but only the assertion that our bodies will push up the plants a little faster for the “other” animals to live and evolve.

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All of this is consistent with Biblical predictions of “last-days” life on earth, and it’s called, at times, “lawlessness”.  The use of this word in the NIV version aptly sums up related words in translations such as the KJV.

Somehow it doesn’t seem to make sense that a society which passes thousands of new laws, rules and regulations annually could be called “lawless”, but the Biblical use of the word is very different to our every-day use of it. John summed it up for us in a very concise and clear way:

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

John goes on to express the good news found in the gospel, that Jesus Christ came into the world to take away our sins. However, we have to turn from them. It’s the failure to turn from them, and more than that, the determination to embrace them, which the NIV translates to “lawlessness”. And lawlessness is declared to be the hallmark of end-times humanity: the determination to embrace sin in defiance of the law of God.

In the Bible lawlessness is frequently contrasted with righteousness. For example, Peter contrasted “righteous Lot” with “the filthy lives of lawless men” (2 Peter 2:7-10).

It’s no good attempting to redefine sin, or to claim that God changes like we do- an indecisive doting old man sitting up there in the clouds who becomes more and more human, who wants us to do just whatever makes us feel good, and who waits for us to tell him what is right and what is wrong. No, the creator and sustainer of the universe has his own very precise set of values and requirements, and doesn’t change or evolve any more than the laws of nature do.

THE LAWLESS ONE

The Bible goes further than warning of a lawless age: it speaks of a specific individual who will be the epitome and the ultimate expression of lawlessness. The word “lawless” in relation to this man’s character, means in the original Greek:

“Unprincipled”; “wickedness”;  ”without law”; “transgressing law by not regarding it”; “free from law”.

(See 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11).

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This “man of sin” leads the world in lawlessness, and the world in its foolishness agrees with him and the philosophy he espouses. He has no qualms about lying and calling it truth. He calls the killing of the innocents a good thing. He redefines the institutions of God. He calls wrong right and right wrong. He seeks to “change times and laws” (Daniel 9) He seeks to turn the world’s morality and view of life and history upside down. He seeks to divide God’s land- the land of Israel. By his actions and his beliefs he betrays commitment to a god of his own preference, but defies the true and living God.

Could we, oh could we possibly have any candidates for this position in our world today?

ABSOLUTE TRUTH AND E = Mc2, or 3, or 5, perhaps…

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Some highly enlightened people are absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain…except of course, that which they are absolutely certain of. If that doesn’t make sense, you’ve got more savvy than they have….

There’s an old one-liner which is still a favorite of mine:

“I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure”.

(COUNTER SILENCE “A Distance Left To Travel”)

My son’s high school science teacher has been working hard to convert any kids in his class who believe in God over to his faith, which is stringent agnosticism coupled with evolution. Once in a while the kids are taught a little science in the science class, but most of the time its philosophy, and one of the recent pearls of wisdom levelled at this largely malleable and captive young audience was that there are no absolutes in life, the universe or anything: nothing is absolutely certain.

That’s a strange claim coming from one who deals with the laws of nature every day, and particularly from one who is presumably getting paid to teach. What is he teaching-that nothing is objectively true but here’s a ton of homework on it all anyway? What’s the point of school if nothing can be known for sure?

Even the great Einstein, from whom some have extrapolated a bizarre form of relativity, was able to declare without hesitation that E=Mc2.

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One thing the evolutionist is absolutely certain of is that anyone who disagrees with him must be wrong:

“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)”.

(From Richard Dawkins’ Review of “Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution”).

Prominent atheist professor of the history of biology at Cornell University, William Provine, put it this way:

“Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear. . . . There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.”

(William Provine, Origins Research 16, no. 1/2 (1994): 9; quoted in Technical Journal 10, no. 1 1996: 22).

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The “no absolutes” assertion is one of many contemporary attempts to purge Christian morality, thought and influence, and the Judeo-Christian God from the world. It’s another way of short-circuiting reasoned debate, akin to insults often hurled at Christians such as “bigot”, “ignorant” and “hypocrite”.

And if you think about it, if there is no God, there are indeed no absolutes when it comes to morality: right and wrong are decided by the people via government and can be changed over and over again. Or to put it in more politically correct language, morality and ethics are “fluid” and evolve with humanity, and they are decided by the people according to circumstances and expedience.

One of the problems with this kind of thinking is that we can’t claim to have the moral high ground above the Adolph Hitlers of the world. Hitler wanted to purge the earth of weak and diseased humans: how can we say he was wrong, if there are no absolutes? Surely, the best we can say is that we “disagreed” with him. If he had been the victor in WWII, his standards of right and wrong would have ruled upon the earth.

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If I were to show up for work three hours late and then excuse myself by saying that there are no absolutes so I can just work when I feel like it, I would lose my job, and rightly so.

I’ve told this story a few times before but it’s another of my favorites. A young acquaintance of mine once told me that “Christianity is just an excuse for morality”. One wonders how he would react if someone were to hit him over the head, steal his money, and run off with his girlfriend, because the rules of behavior which he and most of us wish those around us to live by are rules of morality. And we all have an inbuilt sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. We don’t need government to tell us that stealing is wrong and violence is wrong-what we need is to listen to our conscience and our Creator and to live by those standards.

The universe can be studied because there are absolutes. In fact, if there were no absolutes there would be no universe, it could not operate. So it is in the moral and the spiritual realm. If there is a God at all, He has a character, a personality, and He has standards of right and wrong which He wishes His Creation to live by. It’s a poor excuse to refuse to believe in or search for Truth by saying that no-one can know it. If the same excuse had been used in science we would be still living in the dark ages. Just as there are unchangeable, fundamental truths which hold our universe together, so there are moral and spiritual truths for our existence and benefit, and we should each be searching until we find them.