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We Expect Truth?
In every one of our lives we walk around with assumptions of truth. In fact, it is so natural to the makeup of our humanity that we often do not notice this assumption of truth we walk around with until truth has been violated. Do you want Truth? Of course, we all want the truth. In fact, I would argue that we expect the truth.
We all expect truth when it comes to our money, family, and relationships. We want the truth when we read the labels on our medicines and the food we eat. We expect the truth from our doctors and we expect the truth from our employers and finically advisors. No one wants to be lied to when it comes to things that affect their money, their health, or their loved ones. In all these areas we expect the truth. In fact, when it comes to our religion we also expect the truth? Or do we? This is another assumption we sometimes make. However, this is not always the case. When it comes to religion and morals there is a growing consensus in society that are saying there is no truth. So the question really becomes, “What is True?” Well, the truth is “telling it like it is”. For example, the statement, “This is a blog on truth,” would be a truth statement because I am telling it like it is.
So let’s look at three principles that apply to the truth. Number 1) Truth applies to everyone. Number 2) truth is narrow. Number 3) the opposite of truth is false.
Now I know this looks to be really simple, but stick with me here. These three principles will prove to be really helpful in our quest to prove Christianity is the one absolute truth and religion.
Here we have two simple equations. On the top, we have 1 + 1 = 2, which of course is true. On the bottom, we have 1 + 1 = 3, which of course is false. How about this statement, The earth is round? Is that true? Of course. But the statement the earth is flat would be of course false. So this is simple enough. 1+1 = 2 and the earth is round. But are they true for certain individuals or are they true for everyone? Well, 1+1 = 2 Is true for everyone in all places and so is the truth that the earth is round. When it comes to the truth there are many people with many opinions, So what if you ran across someone who was really a nice person and they sincerely believed the earth was flat? In fact, the beloved this so much, they would argue with you about it? Would that change the truth that the earth was round? No! Of course not. That person would just be sincerely wrong. The truth is the earth is round even if a person sincerely believe the earth is flat.In addition to understanding that the truth applies to everyone. We also see the truth is very narrow. What do I mean by the truth is narrow? With truth, there is only one right answer. Truth has only one right way of believing something and that means the truth is very narrow. In our example of 1+1=2 there is only one correct answer. The answer is 2, it is not 3, 5, 23, or any other number. Truth is very narrow. AND as we will see the religious truth is just like math truth, it is very narrow.
There is only one true God, one true word of God, and there is only one true religion. Many complain that people who believe this way are narrow-minded, intolerant of others, but that is not the case. It is just the nature of truth. Whether it be truth concerning math, religious truth, or any other type of truth. Truth is narrow.
So far we have seen that truth applies to everyone, that truth is narrow, and now our last point concerning truth is that the opposite of truth is false. An example of this is the atheist and the Christian. The atheist says that God doesn’t exist. The Christian says God does exist. These are opposites. Both of these statements cannot be true. if one is true then the other is false. Either God exists or he doesn’t. Which means either atheism is true and Christianity is false or Christianity is true and atheism is false.
We all know intuitively that the opposite of true is false. It seems to be built into our humanity. What I mean by that is we don’t even need anyone to tell us that the opposite of true is false. This is called the law of non-contradiction. This law of logic simply states that something cannot be true and not true at the same time in the same context.
Now, these three principles may not seem important right now or even pretty simple, but these principles are under attack throughout our culture and academia. We must remember that the truth applies to everyone, the truth is narrow, and the opposite of true is false.
However, what about individual tastes are these the same as objective truths? When it comes to something like ice cream is there one best flavor? Is chocolate, for example, the one true best flavor for everyone? Of Course not. Why? Because we all have our own individual preferences and tastes. One person likes, one flavor, another person likes a different flavor. It is all a matter of individual taste.
So thinking about our 3 principles that we just learned and when thinking about tastes, there two phrases that jump out us we need to recognize. First, for our principles the phrase “one/ everybody” meaning one narrow truth applies to all people in all places.
Secondly, for tastes we can see the phrase “many/individual” meaning there are many different types of tastes depending on the individual. So the point here is that truth may be narrow, but with tastes, anything goes. So let’s do a simple little quiz to see if we are all on the same page.
Let’s start with something we are familiar with 1 + 1 = 2. Is this truth or a taste? Ok, how about this triangle? It says a triangle has 3 sides? Truth or taste? This is truth for everyone everywhere. Lastly, how about this vase of roses. It says roses are the prettiest flower? Is this a truth or a taste? It is a taste. It is merely a matter of individual taste. So I think you get the principles of truth versus tastes. However, let’s try one more.
Is the statement: “Christianity is the one true religion and Jesus the is the only way to God,” a truth for everyone? Or is it a matter of personal taste for each individual? What do you think? Well, in this room most of would say the truth. But outside this room, there would say this is just a matter of personal individual taste.
In fact, they would say it doesn’t really matter which religion you believe because they are all pretty much the same. Is this true? Oprah says it is. She thinks all religions are pretty much the same and therefore all roads lead to God. Is this true?
Well the idea that all roads are just different paths to God is called pluralism. Pluralism holds that all points of view are equally valid. So instead of believing there is one true God and Religion for all people, pluralism holds that there are many religions and many different God and all are equally valid. In everyday life, especially on college campuses, you will hear a repeated mantra. It goes like this, “Well that’s true for you, but not true for me.”
So according to pluralists, there is no one true religion and that means all of them are true or are basically the same. If you want to believe in your religion go for it, but that doesn’t mean I have to, and please don’t judge me if I don’t believe the same things you do. It may work for you but it is not true for me.
In many ways, religion to the pluralist is like choosing ice cream flavors. Some choose this flavor, some choose another, you like Christianity, I like Islam, you like Judaism, I like Hinduism, you like Buddhism, and I’ll bee an atheist. Whatever works for you.
But are all religions the same? With pluralism and tolerance being pushed on our children and school it is important to first know what we believe and second recognize what these other religions teach. This is hugely important because what we live what we believe.
SO right now I think its pretty evident that the pluralist would put the idea of religion on the side of taste and not the side of truth. In fact, because of this, they would say that all of these religions are basically the same and hold in essence the same truth.
Now, this sounds nice but, what you actually discover when you compare these religions is that while they have some similarities, there is some major, major difference.
Norman Giesler and Frank Turek point this out in their book I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist:
While most religions have some kind of similar moral code because God has implanted right and wrong on our consciences, they disagree on virtually every major issue, including the nature of God, the nature of man, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, and creation! Here are a few of those big differences: Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in different versions of a theistic God, while most Hindus and New Agers believe that everything that exists is part of an impersonal, pantheistic force they call God. Many Hindus believe that evil is a complete illusion, while Christians, Muslims, and Jews believe that evil is real. Christians believe that people are saved by grace while all other religions if they believe in salvation at all, teach some kind of salvation by good works (the definition of “good” and what one is saved from varies greatly). These are just a few of the many essential differences. So much for the idea that all religions teach basically the same things!
Similarly, Greg Koukle in his book Tactics touches on the similarities and differences between religions. Here we have two tablets. They’re the same shape and the same size. They look the same yet they are very different. The one on the left is aspirin and the one on the right is arsenic.
Pluralism presumes that the similarities between faiths are more important than the differences. Are aspirin and arsenic basically the same because they both come in tablet form? For some things, the differences are critical. Religion is one of them.
So are all religions the same? There are major differences with only a few similarities. Some of these differences include The nature of God, Sin, Salvation, Heaven, Hell, and Creation. These are major and significant differences? Wouldn’t you agree? But just to help you understand let’s just compare two religions Christianity and Islam. As we compare these two religions I want you to ask yourself if these seem like the same thing?
Let’s start with Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus is NOT the eternal God; he is only a prophet. According to Sura 19:92 Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than an apostle. Now if we look at what Christianity says. It says that Jesus is almighty God, creator of all things. We read in John 1:1 , In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. When we compare each of these religions beliefs we find, Islam just thinks Jesus was a man, and Christianity explains Jesus to be God. That is sort of a big difference.
On the subject of God Islam teaches that there is one God in one being called Allah. Christianity teaches that there is One God in three persons commonly known as the Trinity. It teaches that the Father the Son, and The Holy Spirit are one God.
On the topic of the scriptures Islam teaches that the Quran is the word of God. Christianity teaches that the Bible is the word of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13 it states that “when you received the word of God … you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.” The Quran, on the other hand, says, concerning the Bible, “The Old & New Testaments are divinely inspired but the Christians and the Jews have corrupted the Scriptures.”
On the topic of salvation, for Islam salvation is based on what man does and is therefore based on works. Salvation for the Christian is based on the work of Jesus. Salvation in Christianity is Not based on any work man does, but solely by the work of Jesus and what he did on our behalf. In the Quran, it states, “They whose balances shall be heavy shall be blessed. But this whose balances shall be light shall lose their soul, abiding in Hell forever. “ Sure 13: 102 -104. According to Ephesians 2:8-9 in the Bible it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is a free gift from God-not by works so that no one can boast. This again seems like a Huge difference. One Islam is based on the works of man for salvation. Christianity is based on the works of God, Jesus, for salvation.
On the topic of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Christianity teaches that Jesus died on a cross and then rose from the dead. the bible says, “Christ died for our sins…was buried…he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. According to Islam Jesus never died and therefore never rose from the dead. According to the Quran, “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah”; – but they killed him not, nor crucified him.” Sura 4: 157-158
So I Think by now we can see the many MAJOR differences between these religions. It’s Allah vs. The Trinity. The Quran vs. the Bible. Jesus as man vs. Jesus as God. Jesus never died vs Jesus’ resurrection. Salvation based on what mans does vs. Salvation based on what Jesus does.
Now the point I am driving at here is that that the law of non-contradiction states that two opposites cannot be true. Yet clearly we see that pluralism teaches that these two religions are equally valid and basically the same. Yet, the laws of simple logic tell us that both of these religions cannot be true.
As we learned earlier if something is true, it is true for everyone, the Truth is narrow, and the opposite of true is false. This applies here, to religion as well. There can ONLY be 1 true religion. This means that if Christianity is true then it would apply to everyone and any teaching that were contrary or opposite to it would be false.
Pluralism as Truth?
Before we can move onto that, here is what we can know for sure. The idea of pluralism is nonsensical. All things cannot be true. It just isn’t logical. Yet despite this, the idea of pluralism is deeply rooted in our culture and deeply insinuated in our educational institute especially colleges. So in practicality, this means that generation after generation is being taught plurality over truth.
The effects can seem subtle but in order for it to work, meaning in order for it to be actually lived out, you would have to re-define traditional values and norms in our culture. And guess what? This is exactly what has happened in American our culture. We have redefined sexuality, relationships, gender, marriage, and morality. And it all falls under the guise of a redefinition of tolerance.
The old definition of tolerance used to mean to put up with someone you don’t agree with. The new definition of tolerance means to accept all values with equal validity. Isn’t this sort of more fun that the new definition of tolerance not only hinders the search for truth but just happens to be the same definition as pluralism.
It is here I would like to make a statement about the church. We need to rise to a maturity in the church that can distinguish the right battles to fight. By this I mean it can be fun spending time to get into the theological battles and discussions that have been going on for hundreds of years… stuff like is once saved always saved true or is it Arminianism, is it pre-trib, post-trib, or amillennialism, and so on… We can spend all our time thinking about whether we should drink or not drink, dance or not dance, listen to rock and roll or not, or go to movies, etc…but these are JUST dogmas. AND I want to stress that no one outside the church cares at all about any of these issues AND that not one of those issues is a salvation issue.
So with maturity, we need to spend our time on things that matter, and doing the things that matter as we fight the real fight for souls. We need to keep the main thing the main thing. By This I mean We need to know, live, and proclaim the Gospel, and we need to have a ready defense of our Faith.
The real fight isn’t over any major church doctrine and it really isn’t found in a theology book. The real battle is In the doctrines insulated and taught in our school books and institutions in our post-modern culture.
Paul knew this and wrote:
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” - 2 Timothy 4:3
Pluralism is a secular doctrine that has infiltrated American culture and our kids, and we haven’t even discussed things like evolution, cosmology, and psychology and their assumptions and teaching on students, or our next generation.
This leads us back to our 4 questions. Can we answer Yes to them? Simply put Yes.
So in conclusion, Today I have shown I have answered our first question. Does truth exist? We answered Yes and gave 3 principles of truth. Truth is true for everyone in all places, the truth is narrow, and the opposite of true is false. By starting here we can know the world around us and therefore come to reasonable conclusions.
The second thing I did was touch briefly on pluralism and its dangers. The consequences of the doctrine of pluralism is the assault on truth itself. This mainly being an assault on the ultimate truth of God. If society or academia eliminates God then what follows is an assault on values, meaning, and purpose. I also showed that all religions are not equal are even closely alike. We looked at the major differences between Christianity and Islam and saw that on every major doctrine they are completely different. From this we can know that there is one true religion and one true God. Why? Because truth is true for everyone in all places, it is narrow, and the opposite of true is false