Thursday, January 17, 2013

Truth

 No word is more abused than this one.  I was thinking a lot about "truth" this week as I listened to commentary about the anticipated confession of Lance today.  I didn't hear the interview so I'm not speaking of knowledge about what was  said or what wasn't.  But, the discussion this week wasn't about the fact of sports doping . . . but of deception.

I too find it hard to believe when I see how someone can weave such a complex fabrication.  I think it gets to the point that they must start believing their own lies.  But Lance destroyed people in the process of hiding his lie. But to some, he will get off easy. They will justify his lies by his, bigger than life, heroism. But what about the people hurt by him?  What about those he sued and defrauded of a half a million dollars? What about those who careers he ruined buy making the world believe that they were the ones lying?

Enough about Lance.  This is about truth.  I am a great believer in truth, but I must define what I mean.

Someone sent me an e-mail recently that I had "wondered from the truth" in this blog. I have no idea what they are talking about. But I strongly suspect that they weren't talking about the same notion of truth as I mean here.

I believe in absolute truth and that truth being defined simply (and a child would understand this) as that which mostly approximates reality.  If God is there, and I think He is, then he has to be truth. When I was an evangelical, "truth" really meant "doctrine."  I was a reformed Christian, meaning I followed the tenets of John Calvin.  Now I would have sworn that I followed Calvin because it was the "truth" and I was so smart (and spiritual) that I had figured it out.  But in reality, with a bit of linguistic deconstruction, what I really meant was it was the belief that was part of my personal world.  I was a Calvinist, honestly, because the guy who led me to the Lord was a Calvinist and he got me involved with a Presbyterian church.

So most  religious persons, those who tout "truth," really mean the doctrine that they have accepted, usually for social reasons.  Maybe their parents believed that way. Or, like me, they happened to intersect with Christianity at a precise theological point.

Truth is not relative.  I also haven't given up hope of knowing real truth.  But this "knowing" must come with the humility of knowing that we are fallen, our intellect is fallen and we make intellectual mistakes sometimes.  I guess I no longer have patience for those with absolute certainty.  Religious people feel that they have a moral obligation to their denomination (or major religion) to be certain (while in their heart of hearts, in the dark of the night they doubt). Those of other philosophical orientations bare the same "certainty."  The atheists, the new age people are just like the evangelicals.  And oddly, some of the most dogmatic are those who are relativists . . . all rivers flow to the same sea . . . relativists.  They are certain that there is no certainty. 

I love science.  I love being around the smart and humble scientists. Those who come to the universe (reality in other words) and ask with complete openness to learn the answers. Certainly there are scientists out there who are just as dogmatic as the evangelicals about their own theories. But those arrogant scientists are the exception.

I will let this topic rest. I want to come back and talk again about the youth that have left Christianity because their only choice was to believe dogma or  . . . leave.

3 comments:

TheMagicPaint said...

Thank you for this - it reflects what I feel as though I am beginning to learn, that I must accept uncertainty as part of my walk with Jesus. Uncertainty about doctrine, uncertainty about the past and the future at a point in my life where am having to make a lot of decisions. But remarkably I think I am beginning to find a greater certainty in hope and the unchangeable truth that is God himself.

jmj said...

Nicely said.

Brendan said...

I've wandered from your blog for awhile. Glad I came back.