Summary: How do I know the difference between what is true and what is false?



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Truth & Error

Gospel Truth - The preacher, one Sunday, asked the congregation to read the Gospel of Mark, chapter 17, for the following Sunday. On the appointed day, the minister asked, from the pulpit, how many had read it. A large number of the worshippers put up their hands. "There are only sixteen chapters in Mark," said the minister. "This morning I am speaking on honesty."

Pepe Rodriguez was one of the most notorious bank robbers in the wild, wild west . He would creep over the border into Texas, rob a bank and then flee back to Mexico. The Texas Rangers got so frustrated they decided to illegally cross the border and track him down. After a long search, they finally cornered him in a Mexican bar. All the lawmen had their guns drawn. Pepe could speak no English and the Rangers couldn't speak any Spanish. So they asked Pepe's friend, the bartender, to translate. He explained to Pepe who they were. The Rangers asked the barman to explain to Pepe that they wanted to know where he had hidden all the money. If he didn't tell them, they would shoot him down like a dog. The bartender translated, and Pepe began to shake with fear. "Tell them the money is hidden in the well. Count down 17 stones from the handle, and that's where all the loot is." The bartender turned to the Rangers and said in English, "Pepe is a very brave man. He says that you are a bunch of stinking pigs, and he is not afraid to die."

Hard to know truth in a photoshopped world.

In the postmodern world, Truth is like a smorgasboard. Take what you want, leave what you don't.

"As long as I'm sincere, it doesn't matter what I believe."

Religions are things of truth claims. So when we are evaluating religions, we have to deal with truth.

Over and Over, those who speak in the Scripture assert that what they are saying is "true" or "the truth."

Romans 9:1 I speak the truth in Christ-- I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--

74 times in the Gospels, Jesus says "I tell you the truth..."

Christianity rises or falls on what is TRUE. This morning, as I was listening to the Bible as I got dressed, I was going through 1 Corinthians where Paul insists that the TRUTH the REALITY of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the crucial hinge point of our faith... it matters if it's TRUE!

What is TRUTH?

Truth is primarily a quality of propositions.

Is that picture true? Is not a valid statement. But if we ask "Did this person really commit this crime?" or "Were you present when the crime was committed?" or "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?"

Three tests of truth:

1. Logical consistency

Does this follow the laws of logic? It is consistent with itself?

David Hume, a famous atheistic philosopher, once said, “If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”

Really? Because I would ask you to take that statement and apply it's own test to itself. Is it a scientific statement? No. Is it a mathematical statement? No. Then, according to its own standard, you must reject it... it is not logically consistent.

It is a philosophical statement. Maybe you've met someone who said something like this:

"The only true knowledge is scientific knowledge." Really? Because that's not a scientifically provable statement... it just called itself false.

Albert Barr's story about the museum guide. "How do we know these rocks are 40 million years old?" "Because we found 40 million year old fossils in them." "How do we know that the fossils are 40 million years old?" He rolled his eyes and said, "Because we found them in 40 million year old rocks!"

Undeniability - something that in the process of denying, you actually affirm.

Young man who asked Ravi Zacharias: How do I know that I exist? "And whom shall I say is asking?"

"There is no such thing as absolute truth." "Are you absolutely sure about that?"

2. Empirical adequacy

Can it be verified in any way? Does it fit the facts of reality? Does it explain adequately the world around us?

Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" sold 40 million copies and asserted that as a matter of history, there has been a vast conspiracy to cover up the fact that Jesus was actually not crucified. The Quran claims the same. This is convenient for both of them, because if they deny the Crucifixion, they don't have to deal with the Resurrection.

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