Absolutely Positively Whole-Heartedly Wrong
A man walks into a crowded market in
downtown Baghdad with fifty pounds of high explosives
strapped to his body. All around are women and children, as
well as grown men, buying and selling produce. The man
positions himself in the most congested area of the market
and then reaches into his pocket, pressing a detonator that
triggers a huge blast. Dozens of people are killed,
obviously including the bomber.
The question here is not why this man
carried out this heinous act. He obviously thought that
killing himself and committing mass murder were in his best
interest. The question is: What motivated him to make such a
One of the fundamental rules of nature is
that you don't needlessly sacrifice your own life, and you
don't kill non-combatants like women and children. We've all
seen enough news reports on Islamic extremists who seem to
have no trouble breaching this barrier.
Every day, I receive emails from people
who are on their own kamikaze missions. They present me with
views that they absolutely, positively, whole-heartedly
believe in—but as far as I can tell, they are totally wrong.
Truth vs. Belief
One of the problems with having free will
is that we get to decide what truth is. The world presents
us with options about what to believe, and we select the
views we are going to hold to.
The fact that we strongly dedicate
ourselves to believing something doesn't make it true. When
people say that something is “true for them,” all they mean
is that they believe the thing without having to justify it.
Truth does not conform to assumption or
desire; it is bound by an unbiased assessment of all
available facts. Belief, on the other hand, is free
thought—it can be fact or fiction; it is often fantasy or
Johann Goethe, the 18th-century
German novelist and scientist, wrote: "It is easier to
perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on
the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the
depth, where few are willing to search for it."
The fallen nature of man constantly seeks
to distort the truth. We see this tendency in our children.
There is a new thought among researchers that children can
and will tell deliberate lies by age 4, or perhaps even
earlier. However, until age 8, most children cannot
distinguish between a deliberate false statement and an
unintentional one, but they do know that it is wrong to try
to mislead someone. ("Would a child lie?" by Paul Ekman, in
Psychology Today, July/August, 1989, 62-65.)
Polling for Truth
Far too often, people look for a consensus
to determine the truth. The thinking is that if a majority
believes something, then it must be the case.
The problem is that the human mind is
prone to wishful thinking. People will hold to assertion in
the face of overwhelming evidence and facts to the contrary.
For centuries, the majority of the people
of earth believed that their destinies were determined by
astrological mechanisms. I don't believe in astrology
because I know various objects in space have no jurisdiction
over my life.
We all know that the gods of ancient
Greece are fables. Back in the day, nearly everyone in the
city of Athens revered Athena, the goddess of heroic
endeavors. She was the city’s patron, and it was punishable
by death to defame her. If we lived in first
millennium B.C. Athens, we would probably find
ourselves drawn into believing this falsehood.
The followers of the Islamic faith believe
their deity is the superior to the God of the Bible. The
adherence to Islam is largely the result of compulsory
guidelines set by society. Every nation with a majority of
Muslim believers has a margin higher than 90 percent. If the
members of a Muslim nation want to find the true creator of
the universe, they need to step beyond the social barriers
that bar them from the truth.
Jesus warned that man is a poor guide for
those seeking truth. "Let them alone: they be blind leaders
of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall
fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14).
Truth Must Have Value
The ability to find truth is based on how
much value we place on it. All people want truth, but they
also want reality to agree with them. Unless we are willing
to let the chips fall where they may, the truth will elude
Truth requires a strong character of
integrity. A person of integrity seeks to use the truth to
eliminate error and falsehood. "To love integrity means to
use truth to eliminate error and falsehood from the world .
. .To love truth is to be truthful in such a way that people
will learn to trust us . . .To love others is to use truth
to serve them and not ourselves." ("To be perfectly honest .
. ." by Calvin Miller, Moody, March 1987, 16-19.)
Another thing that makes truth important
is the realization that there is always a special witness
watching over them. When Scottish theologian John Baillie
taught at Edinburgh University, he made it a practice to
open his course on the doctrine of God with these words: "We
must remember, in discussing God that we cannot talk about
Him without His hearing every word we say. We may be able to
talk about others behind their backs, but God is everywhere,
yes, even in this classroom. Therefore, in all our
discussions we must be aware of His infinite presence, and
talk about Him, as it were, before His face."
One thing particularly desirable about the
truth is that it can be easier than a lie. A young man was
once giving testimony in a lawsuit. One of the lawyers,
after questioning him severely, asked, "Your father has been
telling you how to testify, hasn't he?" "Yes," said the boy.
"Now," pursued the lawyer, "just tell us how your father
told you to testify." "Well," replied the boy modestly,
"Father told me the lawyers would try to tangle me in my
testimony; but if I would just be careful and tell the
truth, I could say the same thing every time."
Samuel Butler once wrote, "Any fool can
tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know
how to lie well."
Sin and Truth
"Sin has many tools, but a lie is the
handle that fits them all." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Lies are the sworn enemy of truth. The
downfall of man in the Garden of Eden began with a simple
but explosive lie: "You shall not die." Great evils usually
begin with a lie. Hitler’s holocaust began with the lie that
some people are not "pure" enough to live. Our own abortion
holocaust began with the lie that preborn life is not human
enough to be protected.
Truth gives us something that a lie can
never achieve: the peace of mind that comes from doing what
is right. Because we are all given a mind that understands
right from wrong, falsehood can never cover up the truth.
The Nazi party in Hitler’s Germany
proclaimed what it was doing was correct, but hid its
actions from the public and tried to hide the evidence of
the deeds. Covering the tracks did not change the fact of
“The liar's punishment is not in the least
that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone
else.” - George Bernard Shaw
"In which you formerly walked according to
the course of this world, according to the prince of the
power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the
sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived
in the lusts of our flesh, indulging in the desires of the
flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of
wrath, even as the rest" (Ephesians 2:2-3).
God: The Only Source of Truth
Whenever I get an email from someone who
disagrees with me, the first thing I check for is a
scriptural foundation in the email. If you cannot back your
beliefs with the Bible, you are easy prey for the devil.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to
you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening
wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every
good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth
evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good
fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn
down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye
shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).
Jesus is the embodiment of truth, which is
to say He is the origin of all things and there is no
falseness in Him.
claim to teach a way of truth; he came claiming to be truth.
Jesus is the only mediator between God and men.
Only Christ can lead us back to the truth.
We don't need to be ashamed of His guidance because there is
no other source that can set us on the path toward eternal
To make sure you are absolutely, positively, whole-heartedly
right—and not wrong—hold firmly to truth found only in Jesus
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through
Me," (John 14:6).
“For this cause came I into the world, to
testify to the truth,” (John 18:37 NIV)