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Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Shall KNOW The Truth...

...and the Truth shall set you free.

This is a Biblical principle; but there is just one problem: most people today don't believe that truth exists! You may be thinking, "What are you talking about?! Of course, I believe that truth exists!" Let me clarify: people don't believe that ABSOLUTE truth exists. We've been brainwashed into a wishy-washy truth that is "true for you, but not for me." Therefore, we can't really KNOW what truth is -- it is constantly changing according to man's interpretations. What kind of truth is that? This is why public school kids are so messed up today; they are told that there is no absolute truth -- if it works for you, then it's true for you and it alright to do. It is self-defeating; if one does what is "right" according to him, and another does what is "right" for him, there is no concept of Biblical morality (right verses wrong) -- everything is ALWAYS right for me, though it may or may not be right for you. This is also why skeptics can claim that there is no God -- it's true for them, but not true for you if you do believe in God. And even in doing so, the skeptic is making a truth claim "There is no God." In other words, the skeptic's claim is said as if it is the absolute truth. (Not all religions can be true, after all.) This is the way today's world looks at truth. If I claim that something is true, everything else is false -- you can only have one or the other. But the world says, "It's true for you, but not for me" or vise-versa. So in making the claim, "There is no such thing as absolute truth," one is making a truth claim of his own -- He is saying that his statement is true! Hence, this view is self-defeating. So, how can we KNOW truth if everyone believes that his view is right? In the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, this principle is explained in detail. I found this particular story to be a great illustration:

The story begins by explaining the Evangelism Explosion (EE) technique of explaining the Gospel:

After introducing yourself, you are to ask questions like these to the person who answers the door:

1. Can I ask you a spiritual question?

And

2. If you were die tonight and stand before God and God were to ask you, "Why should I let you into My heaven?" what would you say?

Most people are curious enough to answer yes to question 1. (If they say, "What do you mean by 'a spiritual question'?" you go ahead and ask them the second question.) As for the second question, the EE manuel predicts that the non-Christian will usually give the "good works" answer.... In that case, the EE manuel tells you to respond with the gospel....

While this technique has been very successful, some non-Christians do not respond to the two questions as expected. For example, one evening I (Norm) decided to take EE to the streets along with a fellow member of my church. Here's how it went:

Knock, Knock."Who's there?" (A man came to the door.)

I stuck out my hand and said, "Hi! My name is Norm Geisler, this is my partner, Ron, and we're from the church at the end of the street."

"I'm Don," the man replied, his eyes quickly sizing us up.

Immediately I jumped into action with question 1: "Don, do you mind if we ask you a spiritual question?"

"No, go ahead," Don said boldly, apparently eager to have a Bible thumper for dessert.

I laid question 2 on him: "Don, if you were to die tonight and stand before God, and God were to ask you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?' what would you say?"

Don snapped back, "I'd say to God, 'Why shouldn't you let me into your heaven?'"

Gulp...he wasn't supposed to say that! I mean, that answer wasn't in the book! After a split second of panic, I offered up a quick prayer and replied, "Don, if we knocked on your door seeking to come into your house, and you said to us, 'Why should I let you into my house?' and we responded, 'Why shouldn't you let us in?' what would you say?"

Don pointed his finger at my chest and sternly replied, "I would tell you where to go!"

I immediately shot back, "That's exactly what God is going to say to you!"

Don looked stunned for a second but then narrowed his eyes and said, "To tell you the truth: I don't believe in God. I'm an atheist."

"You're an atheist?"

"That's right!"

"Well, are you absolutely sure there is no God" I asked him.

He paused, and said, "Well, no, I'm not absolutely sure. I guess it's possible there might be a God."

"So you're not really an atheist then -- you're an agnostic," I informed him, "because an atheist says, ' I know there is no God,' and an agnostic says, 'I don't know whether there is a God.'"

"Yeah... alright; so I guess I'm an agnostic then," he admitted.

Now this was real progress. With just one question we moved from atheism to agnosticism! But I still had to figure out what kind of agnostic Don was. So I asked him, "Don, what kind of agnostic are you?"

He laughed as he asked, "What do you mean?" (He was probably thinking, " A minute ago, I was an atheist -- I have no idea what kind of agnostic I am now!")

"Well, Don, there are two kinds of agnostics," I explained, "There's the ordinary agnostic who says he doesn't know anything for sure, and then there's the ornery agnostic who says he can't know anything for sure."

Don was sure about this. He said, "I'm the ornery kind. You can't know anything for sure."

Recognizing the self-defeating nature of his claim, I unleashed the Road Runner tactic by asking him, "Don, if you say that you can't know anything for sure, then how do you know that for sure?"

Looking puzzled, he said, "What do you mean?"

Explaining it another way, I said, "How do you know for sure that you can't know anything for sure?"

I could see the lightbulb coming on but decided to add one more point: "Besides, Don, you can't be a skeptic about everything because that would mean you'd have to doubt skepticism; but the more you doubt skepticism the more sure you become."

He relented. "Okay, I guess I really can know something for sure. I must be an ordinary agnostic."

Now we were really getting somewhere. With just a few questions, Don had moved from atheism through ornery agnosticism to ordinary agnosticism.

I continued, "Since you admit now that you can know, why don't you know that God exists?"

Shrugging his shoulders, he said, "Because nobody has shown me any evidence, I guess."

Now I launched the million-dollar question: "Would you be willing to look at some evidence?"

"Sure," he replied.

This is the best type of person to talk to: someone who is willing to take an honest look at the evidence. Being willing is essential. Evidence cannot convince the unwilling.

Since Don was willing, we gave him a book by Frank Morison titled, Who Moved the Stone? Morison was a skeptic who set out to write a book refuting Christianity but instead became convinced by the evidence that Christianity was indeed true. (In fact, the first chapter of Who Moved the Stone? is called "The Book That Refused to Be Written.")

We visited Don a short time later. He described the evidence presented by Morison as "very convincing." Several weeks later, in the middle of a study of the Gospel of John, Don accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Today Don is a deacon in a Baptist church near St. Louis, Missouri. Every Sunday morning, for years, he's driven the church bus through the local neighborhood to pick up kids whose parents wouldn't come to church. His ministry has a special meaning to me .... because two men like Don .... picked me up with a church bus more than 400 times -- every Sunday from when I was nine until I was seventeen. I was in a position to accept Christ at seventeen largely because of that bus ministry. I guess it's true what they say, "What goes around comes around," even if it's just the Sunday school bus.

The moral of the EE story is that complete agnosticism or skepticism is self-defeating. Agnostics and skeptics make the truth claim that truth claims cannot be made. They say that truth can't be known but then claim that their view is true. You can't have it both ways.

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