Friday, July 4th, 2008
I came across two statements about truth recently in the book Trick or Treatment?: alternative medicine on trial by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst.
Statement 1: “Truth exists – only lies are invented” (Georges Braque).
Christian apologetics is primarily the defence of the truth of the Christian faith against criticism and misunderstanding. Jesus Christ said “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Whatever is true is in some way connected to the one who is the Truth, Jesus Christ. So we can celebrate the expression of the truth, wherever we find it.
Statement 2: “Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening” (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr).
Truths can be hidden amongst misunderstanding, falsehood and even lies, but it remains truth nevertheless. Today’s culture often reflects the truth about human nature, about the quest for meaning and value, about the search for the ‘spiritual’, even though that culture often fails to realise where these truths are properly to be found – in God.
“What is truth?”, asked Pilate: Ministries such as Damaris’ Culturewatch aim to identify the truths incorporated in films, books, music, art, and, just as importantly, they also point out where their errors lie. One Keith Green song has Satan saying: “I put some truth in every lie, to tickle itching ears”. Even though we can celebrate truth wherever we find it, we must not ignore the falsehood that exists alongside it.
As Jesus sent his disciples into the world to preach, he warned them to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We need to defend the truth and expose the false with “gentleness and respect”, and we should be able and willing to give an answer to everyone who asks us about the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15). Peter’s emphasis on both the medium and the message challenges us today. May his words be true of each one of us as we aim to present to those around us the one who is the Truth:
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:14-16)