Not Many Wise -

Faith and spirituality in a modern world


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Who to trust?

A mobile phone and a newspaper.As we go about our daily lives we get showered with other people’s opinions, which includes good and bad advice. But who to trust?
‘Experts’ tell us:

By sifting through all these things, we formulate our own opinions, and we give these different sources a certain amount of authority.
For example, we may have an elderly neighbour who is well travelled, and they seem to have wise words to say on many things, so we take a lot of notice of what they think.

To make the right choices in our lives, we need to know that the information we are told is accurate, and that it is the truth.
If the information we are told isn’t reliable, then how can we make the right choice?

Let’s look at three areas which can have a big influence on how we live out our lives:

Education:

University graduation.What about everything we have learned in our centres of education?
In 1978 I was at COLLEGE listening to a botany lecture.
The lady lecturer had just finished explaining about an experiment which proved a certain theory on how plants worked.
Then one of the students said that he had seen an experiment which disproved what she had just said. (He did give more details).
Her answer was very interesting!
She said : “At this level, this particular experiment is taught as fact, but if you take a degree course then it won’t be taught as fact.”

So beware, not everything that we are taught is the truth!

Television, radio and the Internet:

TV on a table.You can trust the TV can’t you?
What you hear is the truth, isn’t it?

In 2002, I was watching a HISTORY programme about the Philistines.

The ‘expert’ said that the Philistines originally came from Greece, or somewhere like that, because they wore metal shin guards and because of the shape of their helmets.
So far, so good.
But then he said that the Bible tells us that the Philistines have always lived ‘here’, (he was standing to the west of Israel).
So he was telling us that the Bible was wrong and what he was telling us was the truth.
He very effectively cast doubt on the Bible.

But in fact the Bible tells us that the Philistines came from Crete!

In Amos 9:7 it tells us that God said:

Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor ….”
(Caphtor is Crete)

So the expert had said that the Philistines had come from Greece or somewhere like that, which was true, Crete is about 50 miles below Greece, but his problem was telling us that the Bible had got it wrong!
How many people would have seen that programme and would have believed that the Bible was wrong?

Newspapers and magazines:

How much truth is there in a newspaper?
About 20 years ago the newspapers were saying:

Children dive for cover under their desks, as RAF plane crashes next to an infant School. The children had to be comforted by their form teacher after this traumatic incident. Parents were furious that RAF planes are allowed to fly so dangerously close to the school.”

Is this the TRUTH?
I happened to know two of the mothers who had children at that school, and this is what really happened:
The mothers, and some fathers, picked their children up from school as normal.
A mother of two children asked them about their day: “Neil got sent home from school for being naughty,… and we saw a plane go over, and two white mushrooms came out of it.”
The mother asked if anything else had happened, and they replied no.
The next day the newspaper reporters were waiting outside the school and they immediately bombarded the parents with questions: “Don’t you think it is terrible how low these RAF planes fly? Isn’t it dangerous having RAF jets flying so close to the school? Aren’t you scared for your children’s safety?”
But the reporters were ignoring the parents who were saying: “NO the plane crashed a long way away.”
The reporters just weren’t interested in what they had to say.
They only wanted to find the parents who would agree to their particular slant!

So how much TRUTH is there in newspapers, and magazines?
It will be based on some facts, but they can get distorted and a story will be created with things that just aren’t true.

The Bible is the Truth and it is totally trustworthy.

An open Bible.When Jesus was praying to God the Father, He said:

Your Word is Truth.” [1]

That means the Bible, God’s Word, is Truth, is the Truth.
On another occasion Jesus said:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples (followers).
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [2]

Can you imagine what those people listening said?
It’s the same response as what we would say now.

We’ve never been slaves to anyone! How can you say that we shall be set free?”

And that’s what we would say, isn’t it?
But Jesus’ answer is very interesting: He said:

I tell you the Truth.” (It’s that word again!) “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

We are all slaves to sin!
What is sin? It’s all those things we

But that is not all:

Most things we hear on the T.V. or what we read in newspapers, etc, is a mixture of truth and error.
But the Bible is pure, unmixed Truth.
So when we read the Bible, we see how pure, and holy God is, and how twisted our own lives are!

But the Truth doesn’t just stop there:

It shows us how to escape our slavery to sin – to be set free!
In fact, a word used in the Bible to describe this escape is ‘redeem’ which means to ‘buy up’ (from the slave market).
It was Jesus Christ who paid the price to release us from our slavery to sin.

..the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [3]

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…” [4]

Are we willing to face the Truth?

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” [5]

[1] John 17:17
[2] John 8:31-32
[3] Matthew 20:28
[4] 1 Timothy 2:5-6
[5] John 20:30-31

Education image: thanks to Serif ARTGallery CD

Peter Reason

March 2012

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