Summary: Sermon 10 in a study in the Sermon on the Mount
“You have heard that the ancients were told”
“Believing things ‘on authority’ only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy.
Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority—because the scientists say so.
Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life.” - C. S. Lewis
Lewis had a way of making some very interesting and thought-provoking observations on topics that most of us never pause to consider.
How often, for instance does any of us stop to think about why we believe the things we do; what information, what influences came to us or presided over us that ultimately led to the formulation of our systems of belief?
More than any time in history, I’m afraid, we now live in a culture at least in America, where information is being spewed out faster than anyone could hope to keep up; and unfortunately there is not a lot of documenting and investigating of sources going on among the general public.
HOAXES AND HOOEY
“A deadly new computer virus that actually causes home computers to explode in a hellish blast of glass fragments and flame has injured at least 47 people since August 15, horrifying authorities who say millions of people are risking injury, blindness or death every time they sit down to work at their PC!”
“Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to
let them know how much they liked their coffees and to request that
they send some of it to the troops there.
Starbucks replied, telling the Marines thank you for their support in
their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor anyone
in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee.”
“During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts.
First of all, has anybody noticed that just recently, the company has
changed their name? Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought the real reason was because of the "FRIED" food issue.
It’s not. The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use genetically manipulated organisms. These so called "chickens" are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet. Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them.
This is great for KFC because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs.”
Of course not all hoaxes and hooeys are harmless and funny. I know you’re all getting tired of hearing about the “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. So am I. But I read it anyway, just so I would know what to say about it if I got into a discussion about it with someone.
Brown states in the very beginning that ‘all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate’. Now that may be a true statement with the exception of the ‘documents’ part.
I Googled one of the paintings he described because I had never seen it, and it appeared to me that he described it accurately. I can’t confirm or deny the documents or rituals he mentions; well, I guess I could if I wanted to take the time and energy to research them, but I do not.
What concerns me though is that in making this general statement he lends an air of authenticity to the rest of the content in his story so that if the reader does not stop to think it out he or she will read the story as an accurate account of history.
In fact, before I was half way through the book, which is well-written and suspenseful and imaginative by the way, I was laughing at the glaring inaccuracies in it.
No harm done; I know the truth and can see easily through the fiction. But those who do not know the Bible and have not desired to know the Biblical or historical truth about Jesus and His church may very easily be swayed to believe they have read the truth and react to the church and Christians accordingly.