How do you decide what’s True?
Two contrasting statements from Jesus and a Roman Governor reveal both the hope and challenge of the question which frames this blog mini-series. Jesus said “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” I believe he meant what he said, and believe that truth does, indeed, lead to a spaciousness, confidence, and capacity for overcoming our own self destructive ways that is freedom. Pontus Pilate, the governor, responded to other words of Jesus regarding truth when examining him after his arrest. ”What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus rhetorically, as if to say, “Why are you talking about truth, Jesus? In a world saturated with false truth claims, exaggerated exploits, propaganda, superstitions passed off as science, and yes, even ‘fake news’, do you really think truth is knowable?”
It’s a good question today, and an important one. “Wear a mask.” Fake news? ”This vaccine is trustworthy.” Fake news? “Suckers and Losers”. Fake news?
“Christ died and rose again.”
“The death of Jesus on a cross defeated the forces of evil in this world”
”The Bible is a central and foundational part of God’s revelation to humankind”
“Free Market Capitalism is God’s preferred way for nations to govern themselves”
“Racism is a systemic sin problem in America”
“My vote by mail can’t be trusted”
“Too much carbon in the air leads to a warming of the planet”
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Every day we encounter hundreds of truth claims. You can hold off on believing some things, but we often need to move our feet, our mouth, our money, in particular directions, and we’d be wise to do so based on what we believe to be true.
But how do we KNOW what is true? How do we wisely discern between good and evil, between truth and error (skills that the Bible declares to be hallmarks of wisdom and maturity). It seems that nearly every political truth claim and every news story is shot at and declared to be false in our time, (for reasons I’ll address in this mini series later). Still, I need to decide: Is this vaccine trustworthy? Are masks wise? Will Biden abolish police and destroy suburbs? Does climate change call for a change in human behavior? HOW DO I DECIDE what to believe?
Over the course of the next three posts, I’ll unpack each of this principles as a means of helping you walk through the maze of, not only this political season, but all areas of life in this very post-modern world. Here are the principles, a sort of “manifesto for getting to truth”
Post Modernity is right about some things
Most decisions have an element of faith
Almost no decisions depend on blind faith
You place your faith where the evidence points
The evidence depends on credibility and knowledge you don’t have
Credibility and knowledge are tied to THREE THINGS:
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