The First Enemy of Truth
The concept of "truth" is one of the most beleaguered terms in our culture today. Postmodern philosophy is openly hostile to any claim of absolute Truth.
"That may be true for you, but it is not true for me," has become a common phrase, especially in modern academia. A poster on a student's dorm room sums it up nicely. It read, "Descarte said he was only sure about his doubts. But how could he be so sure?"
At the trial before His crucifixion, Jesus faced two enemies of truth. The first one is very similar to what we are hearing today. The first enemy of truth is to assume that there is no truth, or that it can't be found.
In John 18:28ff, Pilate had concluded three times that Jesus as innocent and was prepared to let Him go. Why did he change his mind? Cynicism. In verse 38, Pilate finally says, "What is truth?" In other words, who am I to decide? Your truth isn't my truth. Who's to say?
This form of cynicism is very handy when you would like to denounce someone else's view in order to justify your own ideas or actions. There is only one problem with it: it is philosophical nonsense. If someone claims that, "There is nothing that is true," we might want to ask them if the statement they just made is true. It is a self-refuting statement.
It is the same problem politicians and citizens have when they quote Matthew 7:1 in a speech or Letter to the Editor. They disagree with someone's perspective on a moral issue and then remind us that Jesus told people to, "Judge not, lest you be judged." I often wonder if the speaker or writer realizes that he/she is violating their own interpretation of that verse by quoting the verse. They are "judging" others -- namely, the people they are condemning for supposedly doing the judging.
Again, a lofty-sounding denial of truth can be a handy card to play when you want to justify a certain behavior or action. (Haven't we seen enough of that recently in the news?) But the fact of the matter is, there are many universally held beliefs and realities which transcend all cultures. It is hard to find proponents of rape, the torture of innocent children, or genocide.
The question isn't, "Is there anything that is true?" Rather, the question should be, "What things are true?" The first enemy of truth is to deny its existence.
Scripture: John 18: 37 - "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (How about that for a politically incorrect statement!)
Action Point: Gently and in love point people back to the reality of truth. Don't let charges of "intolerance" keep you from sharing the reality of Christ.
(Thanks to Roy Clements, pastor in Oxford, England, for inspiration in this MMM)
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