|Truth or Untruth: logic and religion
Author: AlexdR PM
My own ponderings over religion. You are free to disagree. I am not trying to offendRated: Fiction K - English - Spiritual - Words: 1,500 - Reviews: 5 - Published: 07-02-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2385081
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So, as I was sitting here pondering my existence I began to mull over the idea of "truth". Now, truth in an everyday since seems like something we take for granted. Truth is the logical end to a set of facts and evidence. Or, at least, that is how I have come to know its definition. We acknowledge that truth must exist and that our logical end is simply the closest thing we have to the "truth". So I suppose my definition falls short.
Our perception of truth is that which we feel or think is closest to reality. And reality exists. It is impossible to know anything is in fact true, but it is possible to convince yourself you are as close as you can be to the truth.
So, why is it that when we come to the word "spiritual" truth is cast aside? It is a common argument amongst "spiritual" people these days that one's own beliefs can be true for them, and another's beliefs are true for that other person. And that claiming to know the truth for all people is rude and inconsiderate to other's "truths".
This baffles me. If all beliefs are true, then what about the person claiming only his (or her) belief is true? We have reached a paradox!
If A states that B is telling a truth, and B states that A is lying, who is in the right?
Reckoning back to my definition of truth, I stretch to mean also that there is only one truth, and that our human beliefs in the world "spiritual" are attempts to become closest. So, it is a lie to say all beliefs are truth if all are not (at least) identical.
If a person believes that every individual person's beliefs are true then either that person must except that each person lives in their own little pocket of reality, or that the universe changes itself to fit the whims of each person, or that all beliefs are shots in the dark and therefore, none of them are true.
This is the view of the agnostic. The person who believes that if there even is a god or an eternal answer to our existence, it is so remote and incomprehensible that any attempt by mankind to find it is futile and therefore, any attempt is just as good as another. I heartily agree with this. Without complete knowledge of the universe our feeble attempts at truth are just that: feeble, weak, and a waste of our time. Any belief that claims to have found the truth falls short of the truth.
However, I believe that there is a cosmic force at work in heavens and that that cosmic force could contact, and did contact us. We may not have ever been able to reach It (or Him) but It (or He) certainly could contact us.
I believe and am willing to (and have) bet my entire existence that Jesus Christ is this God incarnate and that He came to the earth, lived among sinners, suffered and was killed under Pontius Pilate, and by His return from death redeems and reconciles us mere human beings with the Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and All-Loving God and that someday he will return as he has promised.
Of course, I may be false. If so, I am completely wasting my time. But I am not making this up, nor is this a human attempt to reach to God; this is God reaching, through Bible, to us. To me. To you. Even the agnostic cannot disagree when I say that only through God's attempt to reach humanity, can humanity ever even know about Him.
But what makes the Bible so special?
Even though the Bible was written by people, the ultimate author is God. This claim is not invented by the church, but is the claim the Bible makes for itself. "All scripture is God-breathed" (Timothy 3:16) God is an active person in the Bible, over 2,000 times in the Old Testament there are clauses like "And God spoke to Moses," "The word of the Lord came unto Jonah," and "God said."
Of course, the mere fact that the Bible claims to be the "Word of God" does not prove it as such. Many other books make similar claims.
Unity. The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years by more than forty different people. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds, including Joshua (a military general from Egypt), Daniel (a Prime Minister in Babylonia), Peter (A fisherman from Roman Galilee) and Nehemiah (a cup-bearer from Jerusalem). The books were written in a variety of places, such as the wilderness (Moses), prison (Paul), exile on the Greek isle of Patmos (John). The Bible was composed on three different continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) and in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). The contents of the Bible deal with controversial topics. Yet, the Bible is a unit. From beginning to end, there's one unfolding story of God's plan for salvation for mankind. This salvation is through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself testified that He is the theme of the entire Bible.
If you don't that this is anything special, I challenge you to find ten people from your local area having similar backgrounds, who speak the same language, and all are basically from the same culture. Then separate them and ask them to write their opinion on only one controversial subject, such as the meaning of life. The unity of the Bible is the strongest argument for its divine inspiration.
The bible is also an index to History and archeological record. Until the early 1800's historians knew little about what happened before the days of Plato and Socrates in Classical Greece. Of course, they saw the Egyptian ruins and pyramids, but their language was still unreadable. China was mysterious and foreign and The Sumerians was known only from the crumbling ziggurats that dotted what is now Iraq. The Bible was general labeled by scholars as another Mythological account and its ancient references to cities long ago were thought of as fanciful. But as newer clues surfaced in regards to the ancient cultures of the Middle East, it was found that the Bible was in fact very, very historically accurate. It described battles that were also mentioned on the walls of Thebes in Egypt etc. The ancient peoples called the Philistines and the Hittites were for centuries thought to have been made up by Bible authors, but it was discovered that both peoples truly existed. Just within the last ten years, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor during Christ's later years was proven to be a historical figure when article of his was found in Greece. The Bible is an accurate historical index to the archeological record.
So, back to the original topic, how do we know the Jesus' teachings are true? Well, I suppose, we don't. But I would think we have three options: Jesus was insane and he was just rambling and rambling, Jesus was a liar and did it for personal gain, or Jesus was in fact genuine. When someone claims to be God, these are the only options. I am sure that countless maniacs have claimed to be God, as weird as that is. Few, however, make logical arguments. Jesus never studied to be a rabbi; he only did what was required of any young man. However, he was able to discuss religion with temple priests at age twelve and even "amaze" them with his words, he could gather crowds from hundreds of miles away and discuss the most heated topics in knowledgeable (albeit radical) ways, and he never left someone without an answer. He was not a crazy person; he was perfectly sane and well aware of what he was doing.
Was he lying? If he were lying I would guess that he would try get more out of it. Jesus was the man who washed his follower's feet, who challenged the authority, who suffered and died in the most humiliating way. Even when the city of Jerusalem welcomed him as a triumphant king he still (in under a week) drove the same people out of the temple in a rage, and by their hands was crucified. If he was lying, he did it all wrong. And his message of hope and love and forgiveness would have died with him.
The only option I see left is that Jesus Christ is indeed God Incarnate and that the Bible is truth and that through Christ's sacrifice all people can know God. All people, aren't they the ones taking shots in the dark looking for God? They are never going to find him that way.