Truth Claims

I am 73 having been in ministry for 30 years. I interact with both Christians and non-Christians on a regular basis. With most Christians(those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior) when challenged by God’s word they choose not to come under its authority. When pushed they confess they don’t believe in absolute truth.
When interacting with non-Christians their education after the 80’s seem to give them permission to believe what they want to believe and not be concerned about truth for they believe it to be relative.
I have watched Ravi’s videos regarding truth; logical consistency, empirical adequacy and experiential relevance. It makes sense to me. When I share it with others they don’t understand. It might be my delivery of those thoughts or could it be that they aren’t capable of understanding?
It is like someone getting a math education without every having multiplication explained to them and expecting them to solve a math problem requiring multiplication. They are missing a vital tool.
Can the culture in the United States be so degraded that expecting a person to follow a logical thought is being very optimistic? That many of Ravi’s presentations are way over most individual thought processes?

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I personally think it has less to do with people’s lack of education and more to do with their lack of thinking: For someone to consider things like truth (and logical consistency, empirical adequacy etc.) presumes a much more committed kind of thinking which inevitably burns up a lot of precious mind-space…

I see the same thing and I share your concern.
You say:

I think they could understand if they were willing to invest themselves in the pursuit. But there are many reasons not to:

It’s possible that personal mind-space is a very precious and scarce commodity for typical modern American people.

Personal “mind-space” can be almost automatically devoured by plain ‘ole responsibilities of life: Job, family, education, dealing with health, finance and 100 other technical complexities which grip people by the throat. At the end of the day many only hope to get eight hours of sleep so they can get up and do it all over again the next day.

Beyond life-issues which hijack people’s mind-space I think there are plenty of other ‘valid” reasons folks have to bypass serious and sustained engagement in biblical considerations: To begin with, biblical challenges from the pulpit might seem to be delivered in a simplified way on the surface, but might more accurately be riddled with other complexities when a person dares to struggle with it on a serious level:

Biblical teachings that are said to be simple by a pastor may not necessarily be as simple as he presents them: Issues of context, interpretation, textual translation issues, bias and doctrinal presumptions are many times grounds for valid questionability. And when people’s objections and questions get brushed off or remain unresolved their inability to deal with new issues can compound. But knowing this ahead of time most probably don’t ever seriously confront their objections to begin with.

For many, unraveling biblical teachings can sometimes feel like having to deal with an unresolvable “can of worms”. And contending with (and working through) internal points of resistance toward various challenges and teachings can be a separate “can of worms”… Having to deal with all of that can feel like a rather impossible thing to deal with. So I think people generally don’t typically “go there”. It can feel like a rabbit hole (which they may never come back out of) to think too seriously about those things.

I think most Christians typically bypass the need to think about spiritual things with substitutes like a hopeful prayer, or a hail Mary combined with a daily devotion, or positive mantra for a daily inspiration… all with a similar kind of dependence they have in their morning yoga or daily caffeine.

For one reason or another (and there are many other “valid” reasons available) most people (and most Christians) simply have their mind-space invested elsewhere. The thought of locking horns with things like absolute truth or the word of God may not be a struggle that seems possible for most to engage in.

So maybe that’s why they don’t.

Hi Michael.
I just would add that most of the time the barriers are not intellectual but emotional or spiritual. I mean, people are not keen to analyse the evidence neither the coherency of their worldview because they do not want to see the light, as it shows they need to be accountable to God. More or less, the idea is something like ‘whatever works saving me from the need of surrender my life to God is OK’. I recommend you not to hold on your shoulders the responsibility of the people.
Having said that, I would recommend trying to ask key questions in order to allow people to find their own inadequacies. Only when they start to understand that something is not fitting well with their set of believes, then they are able to evaluate another options.
I hope this helps.
Blessings, Aldo

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Hi @MJM419

I appreciate your question. It is certainly a legitimate concern that you raise. For the most part, I don’t believe the problem is a primarily a question of not having enough understanding of logic, but the desire of people wanting to be in control of their own lives. When we come to a knowledge of what is true, especially for significant questions like meaning and purpose, it often challenges us to think or live in a different way. But to live and think in a different way from what we are used to is not easy, as it will often result in sacrifice to some degree. It is why most people function at an emotional level. We make many of our decisions based on our feelings rather than what we know is logically right. Think about temptation for a moment. How many of us when we feel temptation already know, with reason and logic, that what we want to do will be bad for us and others. Yet, we often give in to our ‘feelings’ because the power of the emotional and spiritual battle is greater than our obedience to truth and the Truth. Knowing good logical arguments is helpful, but, is not the principle ‘maturing process’ needed for us to be able to hear the truth, to believe, and to ultimately submit to God’s will. It is through an act of grace and “spiritual unveiling” (2 Corinthians 4:16) as we turn to God through faith. Ravi’s 3,4,5 grid does help give an excellent reason why Christianity makes the most sense of reality, but the argument is at its most useful when the person is actively seeking to try and determine what is true.

You also mentioned, when speaking to Christians, that if you challenge them with God’s word that they choose to not be obedient to it sometimes. I think that this is more of a lordship issue than a logic one. If the word matched their personal belief then they would adhere to it, because it doesn’t, they find a reason to reject it. The same goes for the non-believers who are relativistic. It seems to be more about being able to maintain some level of control over their own life and destiny. Would teaching logic help? probably, but it is important to note that there are many intelligent people on both sides of the isle who use logic to push varying worldviews. It is why the ability to find an entry point for the gospel in any and all cultures, including the modern Western one, can be a challenging minefield to navigate.

It might be that you are using the wrong ‘tool’ in the case of these believers and non-believers. Maybe God is calling you to pray for them in this season, to love them and to meet their immediate needs. They may not be at the right stage of seeking to really care for logical reasons why the Christian God makes the most sense. It might be worth asking either of these groups more questions to learn about how they measure what truth is? Most relativists don’t stay relativists when challenged a little. Keep presenting the truth of the gospel, the love of God, and the transformation and freedom that His love brings to each one of us as we enter into union with Christ.

I thought that I would also include this quote from Blaise Pascal that might be helpful:

“Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good.”

Blessings :slightly_smiling_face:

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WOW, a great discussion. First off Ravi had to be close to a genies level. To hear Ravi speak & to understand him was mind blowing. Yet, every time I turn on the radio to hear Ravi my heart was turning flips. A normal guy with a learning disability who absolutely loved hearing his talks. One day I said Lord how is it that I understand his every word & enjoy listening to him?
The Lord said, the Holy Spirit Scott & continue listening.

A great thinking mind will not be enough. Having that Master or Doctorate will not be enough. If you are not asking the Holy Spirit into your life Jesus Christ can not grow you or use you.

I have spent a life of Overcoming enormous obstacles, how? Jesus Christ! If each one of us will allow Jesus to use us He will. He has big jobs for us, but are we up for the task?
Jesus has poured out His love on me.
Scott

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