Truth matters

The other day I was on the internet and came across some fascinating stuff. One of the things that I read was about bananas. Apparently the brown part of a banana is where the most nutrients can be found. Seriously? Well, I am pretty sure that someone is just trying to have some fun. However this sort of thing does raise a concern for me. In this internet generation, there is so much information available to us, and not all of it is accurate. In fact there is a lot of bad information out there – stuff that is factually wrong to the point of being laughable. My concern, though, is that with all the misinformation, we are not just slipping in the area of factual truth, but in the areas of morality. When we can no longer discern what is true and not true, we also tend to abandon our concepts of what is morally right and what is morally wrong.

Most of us, I hope, would agree that robbing a bank is a bad thing to do. I would also hope that we could all agree that stealing from our neighbour is a bad thing. Yet as I write those words, I have in the back of my head this thought that some of us might find some excuse under which it would be okay to do one of these things. In other words, we seem to be continually adjusting our moral compass. This would be great if we were getting better at making moral decisions, but I am not convinced that is the case. Eating the brown parts of bananas is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lies we tell and believe. It also doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to see that we have given up on so much of what was once agreed to be morally right.

Where the real problem seems to exist is in how we are determining what is right and wrong. Different cultures at different points in history have wrestled with this question. It would seem that in this generation, morality is being determined not so much by an objective outside measure, but rather by popular opinion. What I have discovered is that some people judge truth or moral correctness based on what is convenient. For example there are some that would still argue that the Earth is flat. In the simplest of terms, I look out the window, and while it appears a little hilly, generally speaking, it appears flat. Since all I can see is flat, it must be the case. But the factual truth is that the earth is round. From a moral standpoint, we do much the same thing. A person steals from his neighbour, and so long as no one is hurt, and no one knows any better, he has done nothing wrong. So we justify it, and simply say no harm no foul.

Where all of this runs into trouble is that just because I can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Something can still be true, even though I don’t see it. There is a train that sits just outside the town of Alma. When I look out my window, I can’t see it, but it is still there. Something can also be true or right even though a majority disagree. Let us consider an extreme hypothetical. Let’s say we have five people in a room and three of the five people tell us that two plus two equals five. Just because the majority believe something to be true doesn’t make it true. The same goes for the realm of morality. Just because we have five people in a room, the majority of whom believe it is okay to steal from their neighbor, doesn’t make it right.

I like to spend time thinking about what heaven will be like. I am pretty sure that many of us really like the concept. However, there seems to be a wide variety of opinion on how to get there. Many of us live life on the premise that if we are good enough people that should be enough. All we need to do is be nice and we will make it to heaven. Majority rules right? Wrong. What are we to do with Jesus’ words as found in John 14 verse 6 when He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”? That statement is a truth claim with all kinds of implications. We are left with accepting His claim or rejecting it. Truth matters.

Something is true or it isn’t.

Pastor Mark McCready, Alma Bible Church