Thursday, February 25, 2010

Truth, 9/11, Perception & Biblical Understanding

I've been transitioning into a new role at work, and writing personnel evaluations so I haven't been putting much effort into On My Walk lately. In fact my study time has been next to nil, which I admit is not a good thing.

One thing I have been spending a bit of time on is watching various videos about the 9/11 attacks in the USA and the various theories about what happened that day. I have a view of what happened that day that is based on my perception, and the information I've viewed both accurate and inaccurate. My view of what happened isn't important to this post so I'll leave it out, I really don't want to talk about "What really happened!" on my blog at all.

I'm very interested in how people study the Word of God and in inspiring others to take the highest possible view of Scripture. I truly believe everyone can "know truth and be sure of it!" as I state on the back cover of Fail-Safe For Fallacy, if they but just read the Scriptures and believe them.

There's a bit of a problem though. People are not very good at "finding" truth. We are very good at supporting what we think is true with our perception of various evidence. We all suffer from selective perception, and a tendency to weigh evidence that we can explain within our chosen perception much more heavily than evidence we can't. We are excellent at self deception through the process of agreeing with ourselves.

Fred Lybrand had an interesting thread about how people come to faith last year. I think the discussion could be expanded to include how people understand any type of evidence, be that Scripture or YouTube videos.

You see, I decided to check out the "other position" about 9/11 and watched a number of videos. I felt a familiar emotion rising up in me, fear that maybe I've been wrong and would have to admit it. As I watched the videos I found there were some convincing points being made by the supporters of the "other position." I started to wonder at how easily I could be swayed by media, which led to me being much more critical, and I realized that I was not going to actually be convinced by clever videos to change my mind.

So why do so many people look at 9/11 and see things one way, and many others look at it and see something absolutely different? More importantly why does one group of people look at the Scriptures and see Covenant Theology, NuCalvinism, and Lordship Salvation while another group sees Dispensational Truth (that's the title not an intended slight), Progressive Revelation and Free Grace? Well OK I guess I'm actually more interested in the why those who are wrong (whoever that might be - because the who is wrong is not important for the question) can't seem to see the truth. Why is it?

I think we are victims of our selective perception. We are not very good at finding truth. Truth must be revealed, and once it is revealed it is undeniable. Please note that everyone thinks their theology is "undeniable," therefore it's "undeniability" is not a good test of it's validity.

What do you think? Are we able to find truth? Maybe I have some agreement with "inability" after all...


bobfromchicago said...

Tough subject. 2 principles come immediately to mind: 1: Never depart from a closely held belief without indisputable evidence. 2: It makes more sense to assume incompetence or evil, than conspiracy.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

I've always thought that doctrinal differences were like three blind men feeling an elephant. Perhaps a transcendent God is so much more than our little minds can comprehend that each prophetic voice, or each reader of Scripture, got a little piece of the truth, then overlaid it with their own thoughts. That would mean we are all correct, a little bit, and wrong, partly, and getting to The Truth would require sorting out one from the other, then not only compiling the little piece of the truth each of us has, but learning how they are truly connected in the reality of God. Probably only God can do that.

bobfromchicago said...

I miss you. You OK?

Kevl said...

Hey Bob, thanks for the kick in the pants


Mark said...

All the more reason to really know what you believe and why. Early in our Christian years we take much of what we hear for granted. There comes a time when we must become like the Bereans and be willing to challenge what we have heard or even perhaps how we have understood it to test and see if it is true. The willingness to not want to defend my point of view, but seek the truth is an important realization. I think this important so we can learn what is true and why, and can reject various false doctrines and not be led astray but the so many subtle and not so subtle variations that exist today. The truth is tried and refined and we can know with greater certainty what we believe.