In our world today, it seems that lies and deception outweigh the truth. How many wars have been fought as a result of a lie? The political picture of America has degenerated to the point where you can’t believe what any politician says. Deception is common in the business and economic realm. When I was a child, people settled business transactions with a handshake, and you could be over 90% sure it would happen. Who among us today has not lost money because someone lied to us?
When Jesus told Pilate that He came to bear witness to the truth, Pilate responded by saying, “What is Truth?” (John 18:37-38). In the secular world, “truth” cannot even be defined, much less believed. Romans 1:25 tells us there will be those who exchange “the truth of God for a lie.” In 2 Corinthians 11:14, we find a warning that “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
So what can we believe? In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul writes that there will be those who have a connection to the Church who will “speak lies in hypocrisy.” Then he identifies who those might be, and we see some of them today. In the prayer of Jesus for his disciples, He said, “Sanctify (set apart) them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” We CAN trust God’s Word. Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 tell us that God cannot lie.
The reason for this website is to encourage everyone to go to the Bible and read and think for themselves. We deal with evidence. If someone offers an opinion they can’t back up in the Bible, don’t believe it. Can fake “evidence trick us?” Yes, but the nature of science is that counterfeit evidence is eventually exposed for what it is. The word “science” means knowledge. False science is an opinion stated as knowledge but not supported by factual evidence (1 Timothy 6:20).
When it seems that lies and deception outweigh the truth, trust God by looking at His Word. Don’t let someone tell you what His Word says or what His creation proves. Instead, “Seek and you will find” – “for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” (Matthew 7:7 and Romans 1:20).
Truth Does Not Grow Old – by Thayer Salisbury It has been over 120 years since Spurgeon put these words in print, but they are as true and relevant as this morning’s newspaper. In fact, there may be more truth in this one paragraph than in many full broadsheet newspapers (to say nothing of the tabloids).
“Fontenelle used to say that, if he could only get six philosophers to write in its favour, people could be made to believe that the sun is not the source of light and heat; and I think there is a great deal of truth in the remark. We are told, ‘Well, he is a very learned man, he is a Fellow of Brazenface College, and he has written a book in which he upsets the old dogmas.’ If a learned man writes any nonsense, of course it will have a run, and there is no opinion so insane but, if it has the patronage of so-called scientific men, it will be believed in certain quarters.” –Charles Spurgeon
A whippersnapper told me the other day that a well-established and proven fact could not be true because “that is what people believed in the 1980s.” He offered no evidence that the fact was not a fact. He simply denied it on the basis of its age.
I suppose that fellow does not believe in gravity because it was described and explained in the 1600s. And he must refuse to ride in a car because cars use wheels, and somebody invented the wheel longer ago than anyone can document.
Truth does not grow old. A fact is a fact, even if we do not like it and even if it has been around for centuries. Sadly, falsehood just needs a well-known sponsor or two, and it spreads like wildfire. Stupidity only needs a few to shout it in the popular media, and masses will rush to accept it.
We want to thank Thayer Salisbury for allowing us to share this thought with you. Today, many say that faith in God is an old idea, but the new truth is that science explains everything. However, science does not explain the origin of the universe from nothing or the origin of life from non-living matter. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Truth does not grow old.
Jesus told Pilate that everyone who follows the way of truth listens to His voice. Pilate replied, “What is truth?” That was a rhetorical question. He said it because he didn’t think there was such a thing as ultimate truth, and his worldview was like that of many moderns. What is truth today? “Truth is what you make it.” “Your truth is not my truth.” “I don’t believe anyone has ultimate truth.”
In today’s world, people are confused by many contradictory “truths” presented by politicians, religious leaders, and social media. It is amazing how two people can look at the same fact and reach opposite conclusions. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the tomb, He told His disciples that He would soon be crucified. Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled. What should I say—Father, save me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour. Father, glorify our name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (See John 12:27-29.) The crowd of people who heard it reached different conclusions. Some said it was thunder, and some said it was the voice of an angel. When Peter and the apostles spoke to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, some said they were drunk while others repented of the grave injustice they had done to Jesus. (See Acts 2:5-13, 38-41.)
It has always been possible for people to reach completely different conclusions while looking at the same evidence. In our posts and publications, we often show design in living things, on planet Earth, and in the universe. We see that design as evidence of a Designer. Others see it as a pattern of accidental coincidence created by random chance. Paul said we can know there is a God by the things He has made. (See Romans 1:20.) He explained the inability of many to see that truth by saying, “In their case, the god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
What is truth today, and why is it often difficult to tell from lies? Experience has shown that when a lie is told repeatedly and often, people will eventually believe it. In our post-modern age, we have social media spreading lies. We also have “fact checkers” who have their own agendas and biases, which slant the way they look at “What is truth?” It can be hard to know whom to believe.
The term “fake news” has entered our vocabulary in a big way. We have seen news reports of “peaceful protests” while behind the reporter, fires are burning. In cases like that, we can see that the facts don’t fit the description. However, modern technology has created ways to fool our senses. We have posted examples of various kinds of fakery HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
The fakery is only getting worse to the point where we can’t always believe our eyes and ears. Artificial intelligence has made it possible to create very convincing fake videos. You won’t believe your eyes if you watch THIS FAKE VIDEO of president Richard Nixon eulogizing the Apollo astronauts who died on the Moon. Of course, we remember that it did not happen, but the video can almost bring tears to your eyes. The creators of this fantastic fake video were not trying to fool us but to show us how dangerous video fakery has become.
So what is truth today? Jesus is truth. The Bible is truth. The point we are making is that we must be skeptical when it comes to history or politics, or religion. Make sure your sources for faith topics are reliable and test them against God’s word. Fake news can be dangerous, but false religious teaching is the most dangerous of all.
We have written about “Truth” before, and our point has been that truth is never 100% sure when you deal with humans. When Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), he was giving us the only thing we can fully trust, and that is God’s Word.
There is an interesting story from history about the Duke of Brunswick in Germany. In the early 1600s, he challenged the connection between torture and truth. He requested the assistance of two Jesuit scholars who had been using torture to extract information about witches. He had a confessed witch who was being stretched on a rack, and he invited the Jesuits to join him in watching her torture.
With the two Jesuits watching, the Duke said to the woman “Now, woman, you are a confessed witch. I suspect these two men (the Jesuits) of being warlocks. What do you say? Another turn of the rack executioners.”
The woman cried, “No, no! You are quite right…They can turn themselves into goats, wolves, and other animals…Several witches have had children by them…The children had heads like toads and legs like spiders.” The Duke turned to the Jesuits and said, “Shall I put you to the torture until you confess?”
One of the Jesuits she accused of being a warlock was Friedrich See who helped to end witch hunting by writing a book in 1631 titled Cautio Criminalis. The book demonstrated that torture was not a tool for obtaining useful information because humans will say anything to stop the pain. We have all seen children say preposterous things to get out of a jam, but adults do the same thing on a different level.
When Pilate questioned Jesus in John 18:37, Jesus said, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” How Jesus lived and what He taught can be trusted because it is not of human origin. Over the centuries when people follow Christ’s teachings, their truthfulness has been demonstrated. Pilate’s response to Jesus was, “What is truth?” Soon after that, Pilate told the Jews he could find no fault in Jesus.
Torture and truth do not go together. Truth stands on its own. It cannot be manufactured or forced. People make false claims about Christianity, but just as Pilate could find no fault in Jesus, today no one can find fault in what Jesus taught or how He lived.
Reference: Scientific American, May 2017, page 77.
I would suggest that the most prolific atheist of our time is Michael Shermer. Unlike Richard Dawkins, Shermer knows something about the Bible and Christianity. Shermer is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where he enrolled to become a preacher in the Church of Christ. Because of this education, Shermer understands the biblical account of Jesus. Even though his view of Christ and the Church has been altered by his embracing of atheism he does raise good arguments that are well presented and usually factually correct. He is the editor of Skeptic magazine and has a column in Scientific American which is almost always from an atheist/skeptic position. In the April 2017, issue of that magazine (page 78) Shermer has “What is Truth, Anyway” as the title of his column.
The problem Shermer and I would suggest that all of us face, is that truth has many meanings. In the Old Testament, the word truth was used in two senses: (1) Facts that may be ascertained to be true or false. (2) The existential and moral, or truth as the attribute of a person. The Hebrew word “met” is used for the former and “muna” is used for the latter and is translated “faithfulness” in some translations. In the New Testament Greek words for truth (aletheia, alethes and alethinos) are used in three different senses: (1) Dependability, truthfulness, uprightness of character applied to God and to men. (Romans 3:7 and 15:8; 2 Corinthians 7:14; and Ephesians 5:9) (2) Truth in the absolute sense of what is real and complete as opposed to false and wanting (Mark 5:33 and Ephesians 4:25). Jesus used this to describe himself in John 14:6. (3) Something real as opposed to a copy. (Hebrews 8:2 and John 6:32,35)
Much of the debate between creationists and atheists is rooted in what the two viewpoints are willing to accept as truth. Shermer says, “It is not impossible that the dinosaurs died a few thousand years ago as Young Earth creationists believe, but it is so unlikely we need not waste our time considering it.” I would agree with Shermer on this point because of the problems it poses, and we have discussed this in our publications many times. However, both sides in the discussion have made a decision of what they consider to be true, and both sides are unwilling to look any further at the evidence because they feel they have the truth.
Shermer moves from this scientific discussion to the question of whether Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. He rejects both of these suggestions because the claim is extraordinary and he doesn’t consider the evidence for the validity of the claim convincing since other explanations are possible. About these other explanations, Shermer says, “Any of these explanations for the gospel descriptions of Jesus’s resurrection are far more likely than the possibility that Jesus actually returned to life after being dead for three days.”
The bottom line in Shermer’s argument is naturalism–that everything that has ever happened can be explained by science. By assuming naturalism, most atheists preclude any kind of evidence that cannot be falsified or tested experimentally. Shermer’s rejection of the resurrection is a rejection of historical evidence. He rejects the testimony of witnesses because they could be biased and cannot be checked, and yet that is true of all historical events. He doesn’t consider the logical problem of the apostles dying for something if they knew it was false. He rejects the effect Christ has had in the lives of millions of people as subjective and emotionally driven. When you demand scientific falsification of any true event, you preclude much of what we know of the past and even some of the present.