free counters


Matters of Taste and Matters of Truth

Greetings All,

This weeks 'thought' will be the last for a couple weeks. I'll be heading to Yamaranguila, Honduras for a missions trip, and so glad to get away from all this SNOW!!!

Therefore I send you a thought you can chew on for a few weeks. It comes from a superb little book entitled, "Coffeehouse Theology - Where Real Questions Meet Honest Answers," by Jim Thomas. If you want a crash course on theology made easy (though by no means light or dumbed down), or if you want to start a study group with seekers or young believers which is both challenging in its content and yet very understandable, I highly recommend this book.

This thought has to do with Truth -- "What Truth is and Why it Matters." I trust you will enjoy!

"Our world is so exceedingly rich in delusions that a truth is priceless."
(C. G. Jung)

"Where did everything come from? How did we get here? Why are we here? What's the meaning of life?... How can we tell what is right from what is wrong? Is this life all there is? Does God exist? These are important questions to ask. And the answers you embrace to such questions affect every area of your life. If you embrace the wrong answers, the effects can be quite negative. If you choose to believe what is false, your life will naturally be filled with all kinds of frustrations as you try to work out your life and keep banging up against truth and reality. But if your questions lead you to the truth, you can come to know deep-seated joy that will carry you through even the darkest night of the soul...

What is truth?... Simply put, truth is that which corresponds to reality... It is important to distinguish between taste and truth. If I say 'pepperoni pizza is the best,' and you say, 'No, mushroom pizza is the best,' we can both be right in one way. We are talking about the way our individual tastebuds respond to two different pizza toppings... But real life is also filled with matters of truth, propositional statements that are either factually true or factually false. If I were to make the statement, 'God exists,' and someone else were to make the statement 'God doesn't exist,' it is impossible for both of us to be making a true statement. Both cannot possibly be true just as both cannot possibly be false... Either God exists or God does not exist. In the study of logic, this is called the Law of Non-Contradiction... So there are matters of taste and there are matters of truth. In matters of taste there is much room for diversity and plurality of opinion. But whenever someone is offering a propositional statement as factually true, it is imperative we understand that if that statement really is true, then its opposite cannot also be true at the same time and in the same relationship...

Not everybody wants to tell the truth, not everybody wants to know the truth, and not everybody wants the truth to be known. For some people truth is a thing to be avoided. Why is this? Often it's because truth shines a light on the way things really are. It uncovers the reality of our flaws and failures. Truth holds us responsible for our attitudes and actions, and living up to the truth takes guts. It takes guts to obey your parents, it takes guts to remain faithful to your spouse, and it takes guts to work every day and provide for your family. For some people, the existence of absolute truth might require putting restrictions on what they perceive to be their freedom. Quite honestly, they're right about that. Absolute truth does put restrictions on our freedoms. But fortunately, that's a double-sided coin. Living in accordance with truth also protects us from harm...

Jesus Christ once said, 'You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (John 8:32). You see, rather than being something that restricts our freedom, truth was originally designed to set us free. It's like my friend Duffy Robbins has said: Truth is like the bar that lays across your lap on a roller coaster ride. That's the only way you can get the thrill of throwing your hands up as you crest the top of the hill. The bar isn't there to hold you back, its there to hold you in, to keep you safe. And that's what truth does...

In the Christian worldview, the source of truth is not just an 'it' or a 'what,' the truth is a 'Who.' Truth is embodied in a single, living absolute--the infinite personal God. God is the One behind everything. God is the source of all truth, the One who holds all the answers. In the end, it is God to whom we must all bow and give an answer for our lives.

If there is true, livable, propositional truth to be found; if there is truth that will give us a clear view of reality and, at the same time, an anchor for our souls, it will come from God. And in the end, as my friend Robert Benson likes to say, 'What we are all seeking is not a list of absolutes but The Absolute."

On my office wall I have a poster with a quote from Thomas Jefferson. He's not a man of deep Christian conviction, having had a high respect for Jesus, but adamantly rejecting nearly all the writings of the apostle Paul, whom he labeled as a "dupe," and an "imposter" and "the first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus."

Yet despite my obvious disagreements with his sentiments in that regard, he did offer some advice that I've found helpful in this whole matter of truth vs. taste, or absolutes vs. relativisms when he said: "In matters of principle stand like a rock; in matters of taste swim with the current."

It was his way of avoiding the extremes that some fall into: Of seeing everything as absolute and thus being nearly impossible to get along with, on the one hand, or seeing everything as relative and therefore standing for nothing on the other. We would do well to remember that both exist, because God exists (as the ultimate absolute!), and yet from Him has come the diversity He Himself has worked into the very fiber of creation. May we be wise enough to know the difference, and then take our stand on that which is rock solid truth--remembering as we must, that we are called to do so with a blend of boldness and humility that always speaks that truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

To the end that we might be grounded, safe, wise and free,

Pastor Jeff