8/26/15 Nick 26
In math problems, there are usually one right answer but many wrong possibilities. Yet we don’t reject math because it is intolerant. Rather, we value it because it gives us truth. When it comes to the many opposing and contradictory religions and ideas about God and eternity, they can’t all be true. Yet that is essentially what a young man named Nick was telling me today in an outreach conversation. Nick said “Whatever people want to believe is true, as long as they believe in something.” Noble and all-inclusive as that sounds, it is not true simply because we want it to be. Truth is truth, whether in religion or in math, and Nick’s wishful thinking ignores the contradictory beliefs of the various religions.
Nick grew up with a Catholic father and a Jehovah’s Witness mother, and might be excused for his “whatever” attitude. But his claim that people should be able to believe whatever they want comes from the idea that we each are free to decide what is true about God and that we have the ability to do so correctly. But God is the source of all truth, and our ability to comprehend it and whatever truth we do have about God is dependent on what He chooses to reveal to us.
Hebrews 11:6 says “…anyone who comes to him (God) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” To his credit, Nick did say he believes that God exists. But does he believe the rest of that passage, that “…he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”? Is he really willing to seek God, or just to look for confirmation of his own ideas about religion? Does he seek God on God’s terms, or his own? How about you and I?
I told Nick that as a Christian I am to seek God on His terms based on His written Word, the Bible. And one way we know we are doing that and not just giving in to wishful thinking is because there are ideas about God in the Bible that we would never imagine or choose for ourselves, at least not on face value. “Take the story of Noah’s Ark for example. Not emphasized in the childhood version is all the death and destruction just outside the safety of the ark. That’s an uncomfortable truth not resulting from wishful thinking. It’s based on God’s revealed Word, available for all who “earnestly seek him.”
Nick’s view, shared by many if not most, is that there are many “truths” to pick from. God’s view is that He has graciously given us the one Truth we need among many lies, the light shining in the darkness. And, infinitely more important than a math problem, that’s the truth that counts.