Monday, April 01, 2024

Is truth flexible?


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I may be old-fashioned, but I was raised to trust police officers and believe that people who held high office were above reproach and took their oaths very seriously. However, in recent years that way of thinking has been challenged. The question that is often asked is - are the people who behave in this less than honourable way 'just one bad apple in the barrel', or is their behaviour indicative of systemic problems in our police forces and political hierarchy.

As any regular readers of this blog will know, my aim is not to address or discuss the political problems of the day. However, sometimes behaviour in society is a window to the general malaise that has crept into our culture. So my questions are: Does truth really matter? Is truth flexible? Do we have our own truth? Of course, the answers to these questions will depend on who you are asking and the circumstances we find ourselves in.

So where do we turn for answers to these questions? 

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Let's think for a moment about standards and truth in other areas of life. If you want to know the rules for driving on roads in the UK, you will refer to the Highway Code - where the points in the code are supported by law; the wording is 'must' and 'must not' rather than 'should' and 'should not'. When a Doctor, a nurse or a Pharmacist is looking for crucial information on the selection, prescription, dispensing and administration of medicines, they refer to the BNF (the British National Formulary). And so on - the Magna Carta, the Constitution of the United States. There are standards, and we are expected to live by them.

So it is when it comes to matters of morality. The key document to define morality is the Bible. It has long been accepted as the foundation of civilised society - don't just take my word for it. Listen to and read what writers and thinkers such as Tom Holland, Professor John Lennox and Jordan Peterson have to say about the Bible and its influence on Western Civilisation.

My point - we ignore the teachings of the Bible at our peril. The unravelling of the standards of truth and morality in our society is a direct result of downgrading the status of the Bible. We claim that acting and thinking without referencing the Bible gives us freedom. But it throws us into a downward spiral producing uncertainty, stress, pain and grief in individuals and society.

The Bible states in Proverbs chapter 14 verse 34 that 'righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people'. Scripture clarifies that personal and national sin has consequences and devastating effects - 'But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death,' James 1:14-15.

The only answer is that we, as individuals and a nation, repent and return to God. God's desire is to bless us, but we need to want that blessing to benefit from it. I conclude with a quote from the Apostle Paul (who all the men I mentioned earlier speak about very highly). He wrote in 1st Timothy chapter 2 verses 3-4, 'This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth'.


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