Truth: The Main and the Plain

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People tell me over and over again that my beliefs about the Bible are simply a matter of personal interpretation. But that statement assumes truth cannot be known as objective fact. No one agrees 100 percent of the time, yet there are some basic undeniable facts. For example, if a person jumps off an airplane at an altitude of 13,000 ft without a parachute then that person will succumb to the laws of gravity.

I understand why people are skeptical of anyone claiming to have objective truth. Everyone has their own opinion and few will ever admit to being wrong. Logic states if you put 100 master theologians in a room and they all disagree on a certain point of doctrine then only one of them can be right. The odds are all of them are wrong. Still, it is possible for one to have the truth. It pays to be skeptical in most cases, but there is danger in being overly skeptical when we assume it is not possible for anyone to know the truth about anything.

If truth does not exist then how do scientists establish scientific fact? How can a jury find anyone guilty of committing a crime?

When it comes to understanding the Bible, many people are convinced it takes years of seminary training to interpret scripture. It seems we give people with a doctoral degree in theology more credibility than the average lay person. However, the important truths of holy scripture are easy to comprehend.

The following verse about Jesus is crystal clear:

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV).

I know some philosophers will torture logic to make that verse say the exact opposite of what the author intended, but a majority of rational people with no ax to grind will be able to understand the plain meaning of the text–Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life.

Not every text of scripture is easy to understand, but a major principle of biblical interpretation is to interpret the difficult passages in the light of the easy ones. The clear teachings of scripture can never be contradicted. If we allow ourselves to disregard the main and plain teachings when interpreting difficult Bible texts then we are only encouraging a form of spiritual anarchy.

Join me in fulfilling our responsibility to spread the truth of God’s word.

Stephen Beagles

Is Religion Merely a Cultural Bias Based on Tradition?

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Popular athiests have recently published books about the pros of atheism and the cons of Christianity. One reason they promote for rejecting the existence of God is they believe all religion is merely a cultural bias based on tradition.

One of the atheist’s favorite expression is “Christians are only Christians because they live in a culture that favors Christianity. If the same people were born in a Hindu culture then they would be Hindus instead of Christian.” There are a couple of problems with that type of reasoning.

First, it is stating the obvious that people who are born in Christian homes are going to be raised with Christian values. Furthermore, being born into a Christian home does not say anything about the truth claims of the Bible.

Second, it does not follow that being born into a Christian home will ensure a person becomes a Christian. Many children born in Christian homes decided not to remain Christian. Studies have revealed 70-75 percent of Christian young people leave the church after high school. Those who stay in church have had many opportunities to question beliefs and choose to remain true to the faith despite the unpopularity of their stand for Christ.

Rejecting the God of the Bible over claims of cultural bias is not logical or rational. Only a small percentage of people are Christian because that is the way they were raised. A majority of people who become Christians are convinced that the Bible is the word of God and that Jesus is the only way to eternal life.