You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)
This is not a political post.
But in an age when ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ rule, it is time to remind ourselves: truth matters.
It really worries me that the very concept of truth is under attack, not just by Trump, but also by the media he so hates, and the fake news we see every day online. Just one example recently was Mark Hamil becoming just the lastest celebrity forced to deny his own death on Twitter:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 17, 2017
Fake news like that is genuinely upsetting, and so far nobody seems to understand how to stop it.
Truth really does make a difference.
Some people seem to think that truth is whatever they want it to be. It isn’t. Truth is true for everyone or it is not truth at all.
Some say ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’
But when it comes to something that is factually true, a different opinion just means you are entitled to be wrong.
As I explained to my son earlier today: in some situations there is such a thing as an opinion, but in others there is such a thing as fact.
If I was to say ‘two plus two equals five’ I would be WRONG.
It wouln’t matter if I said ‘but thats just my opinion, you should respect it.’ It wouldnt matter if I called it an alternative fact.
The world isn’t flat no matter how vigorously flat earthers believe otherwise. They are to be pitied, not encourged by some platitude that implies truth doesn’t matter.
This is very important when it comes to matters of faith.
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Some patronise by saying how much they admire a person of faith’s hope despite not believing it, without aknowledging that false hope is something to pity not admire.
Some say, ‘All Faiths are the same’
No, they aren’t.
Take the two most common, Christianity and Islam, for example.
One believes God is three-in-one, the other believes He isn’t.
One worships Jesus, and claims He rose from the dead, the other believes He never died.
They can’t both be right.
No wonder that my post outlining the differences between Islam and Christianity about Jesus remains my most visited article on this blog.
Many today would urge people of faith to pretend that they believe that everyone else’s opinion about their faith is equally valid. Some argue faith is only an opinion about a disputable matter, it is much more than that.
Anyone who truly believes their own faith is true simply cannot believe it doesnt matter whether their faith is true or not. That would be a contradiction that destroys all notion of faith.
No wonder the agressive atheocracy proponenets try to promote this nonsense as ‘tolerance’. They want to destroy all forms of faith, and this form of so-called tolerance does it in an instant.
Faith is a belief about something we cannot see which ultimately is either true or not.
We can argue about whether we can know for certain whether what we belive is true. But we should never accept that whether it is true or not doesn’t matter. If we no longer believe there is such a thing as absolute truth we have destroyed the concept of faith altogether.
The Apostle Paul understood this:
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15)
Ultimately the Christian faith stands or falls on that one question: did Jesus rise from the dead? If some alternative facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection are true, Christianity is false, and we are nothing more than purveyors of fake news.
Faith requires that we are sure, that we are convinced, that we believe with solid conviction.
As the Bible puts it, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NASB).
How then should a Christian deal with a Muslim who is equally convinced his own faith is true?
The answer is with respect, yes. But with too much respect to patroninisingly claim that it really doesn’t matter which of them is correct, or that both religions are the same really.
My friend Bob Roberts has found that reaching out to those who think differently to him with love, but also the respect to admit that each of them actually believe what they say they do is powerful. In fact respectful truth-telling in the context of genuine freindship has lead to hundreds of Muslims visiting his church.
We have to learn again how to relate to those who think differently to us. And liberalism isn’t the answer.
Rather it is learning to speak about truth like we actually believe in it, but doing so in a loving way.
We don’t need to angrily shout at people, or refuse to like them if they won’t convert to our way of seeing things.
But we don’t have to make out that it really doesnt matter what people beleive, either.
Or as the Bible puts it:
‘Speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15)