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Old 06-30-2004, 12:41 AM   #1
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How do we tell the difference between lies and the truth?

In this massively confusing world of conflicting theories, how do we tell the difference between lies and the truth? Is there any way that we can be certain, or do we only have our own gut instincts to go on? With so many different experts making convincing arguments which often contradict one another, where in the end does the truth lie (no pun intended)?

I believe it is fully possible for us to be able to discern with 100% certainty what are lies and what are truths, and I'd like to share it with anyone who's interested.

Has anyone watched many episodes of the television show The X-Files? The show weaves a clever plot in which the main characters are constantly in doubt, not knowing whether the facts that they've found are the truth, or whether those facts have been engineered as part of a hoax, or whether they're being deceived into believing that it's all a hoax when in fact they've known the truth all along. As you can imagine, it can get a bit confusing for both the heroes of the show as well as the viewers.

The reason I bring this up is that the plot of The X-Files parallels what is going on in our own lives to a certain degree. There is an underlying conspiratorial organization similar to The X-Files in this world which is spreading lies left and right, attempting to make us believe that it does not exist, attempting to replace truth with lies, and attempting to divert our attention away from the only focus which can provide clarity and save us all.

Rather than stringing you along any further, I'll simply state what I'm talking about: the Devil is our deceiver, and the only way that we can find the truth is by being reunited with God through his son Jesus. When a person accepts Jesus as their savior, they are cleansed from all of their sin and made holy so that God's spirit is able to live in their heart from that point forward, providing them with assurance that they will be exonerated on judgement day. God's spirit in conjunction with the Bible (which God inspired) is then able to lead and guide them to discern what exactly the truth is in regards to every issue in life.

Without this, we are all adrift, lost in a sea of confusion as we attempt to use our flawed human understanding to sort through the lies swirling all around us. I am offering this testimony from over 13 years of living it first-hand.
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Old 06-30-2004, 12:58 AM   #2
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No human is 100% sure of the truth. As humans even the history of our own actions are in question. How many times have you looked back 5, 10, 15 years and realized it didn't quite go down the way you stated it back then.

You'll NEVER know until you die.
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Old 06-30-2004, 01:59 AM   #3
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There is no "Truth." Study philosophy, and you realize that much of your worldview is molded by a particular philosophy.

Forgive me if this is a bit presumptuous to ask, but are you a "born-again Christian"? Have you been your entire life, or did you "find Jesus" as an adult? And, if so, do you now look back upon your life as "empty" or "sinful"? I ask this, because that appears to be the worldview that you are coming from.

On the other hand, for those who have been Christian their entire lives, they tend to look at the world differently. In my case, I come with 12 years of Catholic education, and an environment that encouraged independent scholarship. Frankly, as a result, I find and approach religion in a very "academic" manner. I'm interested in discovering how God has been viewed differently over the years, the decades, the centuries, and the millennia, along with different generations and different cultures. Unsurprisingly, there is very little agreement, as even Western Christianity is highly fractioned (not that that is a bad thing).

Honestly, I wouldn't worry. Contrary to religious fearmongering, the world is actually a far more peaceful place than it has ever been. Think all those tranquil Hollywood romanticist films about the medieval times are accurate? Quite the opposite; people were four-feet tall (due to poor nutrition; check out old knight's armor, if you don't believe me), lost their teeth at a young age (toothbrushes didn't exist until the 18th century), were constantly at war (WWII scared Europe into a continuous peace for the first time ever; it was embroiled in sporadic, but relatively constant imperial wars before that), and Christianity was anything but about religion (imperial Europe appointed the clergy full of noblemen, and treated it like a worldly kingdom for well over 1000 years). There was a reason that Martin Luther lost his cool and illustrated the book of Revelation (most unfortunately, though, because it spawned 500 years of people obsessed with the end of the world). And yet, religion still lies en masse, telling us that we are so evil, more so than ever before, while history clearly makes that statement false.

So there's the question. What is "true" and where to find it? First, you have to establish what is false, and since I believe that God represents His true nature through science, I think that is a good place to start. Mathematics and sciences operate mostly on facts, rather than opinions or mythic speech. And then there's historical evidence, which also operates on facts, and there's one thing that the Bible cannot escape: history. History tells us that there is no definitive version of the Bible, and I think that few people know that the Old Testament has for centuries been taken from the Masoretic Text from circa A.D. 1000, not "source texts," and, until the Dead Sea Scrolls showed up, we had nothing to compare it to. And, yes, they are both noticeably different, from the Masoretic Text having more Mosaic Law prohibitions than the Dead Sea Scrolls (implying that they were likely added) to the Dead Sea Scrolls also having the so-called "apocryphal texts" that Catholic Bibles have, but Protestant Bibles don't. In other words, Martin Luther was wrong to have removed them.

But I digress. My point is, rather than trying to construct the world on the basis of what you believe, try and decipher what the world is trying to tell you. And this whole "good versus evil" thing...life is never that cut and dry.

Melon
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Old 06-30-2004, 07:19 AM   #4
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Re: How do we tell the difference between lies and the truth?

Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
Rather than stringing you along any further, I'll simply state what I'm talking about: the Devil is our deceiver, and the only way that we can find the truth is by being reunited with God through his son Jesus. When a person accepts Jesus as their savior, they are cleansed from all of their sin and made holy so that God's spirit is able to live in their heart from that point forward, providing them with assurance that they will be exonerated on judgement day. God's spirit in conjunction with the Bible (which God inspired) is then able to lead and guide them to discern what exactly the truth is in regards to every issue in life.

Without this, we are all adrift, lost in a sea of confusion as we attempt to use our flawed human understanding to sort through the lies swirling all around us. I am offering this testimony from over 13 years of living it first-hand.
I don't believe that Jesus wants things to be so complicated. His message to me is LOVE. Love your neighbor, help one another, take care of those in need. I believe that our goal as Christians is to follow his path.

Applying black and white rules (God vs Devil, Truth vs. lie) in a grey world can be comforting, but realize that the world is grey and treat other people with love and respect - not as if they are less than you because they don't see things the way you do or live in a different way than you do. God loves you no matter what.

As for the Bible, I believe there are a lot of things in there that are God's word. I also believe that some of it is only the viewpoint of the author written in times that are very different than ours now. If the words do not speak of the theme of Love - if the words say otherwise then to me they contradict the teachings of Jesus and I choose the path of love instead.

For example, in Psalm 137 - the psalmist says

"Babylon, you are doomed!
I pray the Lord's blessings
on anyone who punishes you
for what you did to us.
May the Lord bless everyone
who beats your children
against the rocks.."

Now, I highly doubt that God inspired these words of revenge. To me, they are clearly the Psalmist's point of view.

BonoVoxSupastar is right - we won't know the truth until we die.
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Old 06-30-2004, 08:20 AM   #5
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The Bible is a flawed creation of Man and not the word of God,

There is in all probability not a single cabal of atheist people ruling the world and creating all the bad things in it.

You are not going to find the facts about today in a single piece of cult propaganda, you will only find it if you seek knowledge from all sources and come to your own conclusions.

Can I please have some examples of conflicting theories so that I may see where the massive conflicts are?
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Old 06-30-2004, 08:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
You are not going to find the facts about today in a single piece of cult propaganda, you will only find it if you seek knowledge from all sources and come to your own conclusions.
even though I sort of agree, it would take me approximately 238 years to read at all the available sources

so we do with what we've got at hand


I agree that in the end it's about love
and your decision how you'll let love lead you
or something like that
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:07 AM   #7
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well, a lie is not true, and the truth is....


[the truth is I only read the topic title, because the rest is too much/too hard for a simple dutchie]
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Old 06-30-2004, 04:53 PM   #8
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Melon:

This may sound a bit far-fetched from an intellectual standpoint, but I actually already have substantial verification that I'm pointed in the right direction.

The verification is that God's spirit living inside my heart is an active and dynamic force which enables me to commune directly with, believe it or not, God himself. I actually have a personal relationship with him where he is able to speak to my heart and guide me (I'm not talking about actually hearing an audible voice, here). This is a very real, tangible experience which transcends any particular course of study on its own (although I don't mean to belittle the value of knowledge itself).
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Old 06-30-2004, 04:55 PM   #9
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BostonAnne:

You're absolutely correct that Jesus' message is about love, but when it comes to initially being reunited with God (whatever sins we have committed have separated us from him), the other side of the coin has to be dealt with first.

The other side is addressed in the question, "Why did Jesus have to die?" Why couldn't God have allowed his love for us to just forgive our mistakes by simply sweeping our sins under the rug instead of allowing his son to suffer and die on our behalf?

The answer to the best of my understanding is that God is holy, and because of this, no matter how much he loves us, he cannot turn a blind eye to justice. If a judge in a courtroom was about to sentence a criminal, and then the criminal suddenly comes forward at the last minute in total contrition and says, "I'm really sorry about robbing and killing that family," then would that judge be doing the right thing to simply say, "Okay, since you're sorry, case dismissed"? No, the judge would still have to sentence the criminal because justice demands that crimes have to be paid for.

This is the same scenario with our sins. Not only is God the perfect manifestation of love, he is also a perfect judge, and a good judge must see that justice is done when wrongs have been committed.

Now God could have simply allowed all of us to remain separated from him for the rest of eternity, but instead, out of love, he offers us a second option. If we accept what the bible says is the "free gift of salvation" through his son Jesus, then Jesus pays our debt of sin in full, wipes our rap sheet clean, and reunites us with God.

The bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We initially come to God through a fear of judgement, and then once we're reunited with him by having satisfied the demands of justice through the sacrifice made by his son, only then are we able to genuinely grow in love as we remain in contact with him.

I believe that in the end, it's not all about love, or knowledge, or faith, or anything else. It's all about focusing on God through his son as the center of everything, seeking him above everything else, and then love and all other good things will naturally flow out of that.
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Old 06-30-2004, 05:15 PM   #10
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A_Wanderer:

I'll give you an example which relates to your theory of seeking knowledge:

Some historians believe that Jesus was a real person who did at least some if not all of what the bible describes.
Other historians believe that Jesus was simply a mythological figure.
Still other historians believe that Jesus was real but the bible in no way reflects his life.

Until someone builds a time machine, all that we can do is read their theories and study any of the old parchments written by people who lived in that era and try to piece it all together.

In other words, all that we've got are several different theories and no absolute certainty about any of it.
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW

Now God could have simply allowed all of us to remain separated from him for the rest of eternity, but instead, out of love, he offers us a second option. If we accept what the bible says is the "free gift of salvation" through his son Jesus, then Jesus pays our debt of sin in full, wipes our rap sheet clean, and reunites us with God.

The bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We initially come to God through a fear of judgement, and then once we're reunited with him by having satisfied the demands of justice through the sacrifice made by his son, only then are we able to genuinely grow in love as we remain in contact with him.

I believe that in the end, it's not all about love, or knowledge, or faith, or anything else. It's all about focusing on God through his son as the center of everything, seeking him above everything else, and then love and all other good things will naturally flow out of that.
My understanding of God's Grace isn't that he offers us a second option, but instead just loves us for us - the broken people that we are. To me it is all about love. God loves us unconditionally and we should strive to be so good.

I have attended Church for 2 years now - and am learning tons of things. None of the things I have learned are as complicated as what you are saying. I am not coming to God out of fear of judgement. Instead, I spent years away from God because I never felt worthy to be near God. I am learning that God simply loves me. God is the only one that doesn't judge me, but just loves me for me. If that isn't God's Grace, then what is?
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Old 06-30-2004, 11:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheFirstBigW
Melon:

This may sound a bit far-fetched from an intellectual standpoint, but I actually already have substantial verification that I'm pointed in the right direction.

The verification is that God's spirit living inside my heart is an active and dynamic force which enables me to commune directly with, believe it or not, God himself. I actually have a personal relationship with him where he is able to speak to my heart and guide me (I'm not talking about actually hearing an audible voice, here). This is a very real, tangible experience which transcends any particular course of study on its own (although I don't mean to belittle the value of knowledge itself).
I mean, really. How am I supposed to respond to something like this? I already have substantial verification that I'm pointed in the right direction too, and in similarly irrational manners. I've felt as if I've been communicating with God since I was 10(-ish), and I hesitate to get anymore descriptive, because this is about my own personal faith experience, not some bombastic Pharisee exercise to prove to everyone that I have more faith than them (lest you forget the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector)!

I will tell you this: you likely have schizoid tendencies (e.g., very mild schizophrenia, which is given a different name because of how very mild and functional it is) if you feel this way. Your frontal lobes don't process dopamine correctly. Want proof? Take a serotonin-boosting drug like Prozac or the amino acid, tryptophan, and those feelings will go away. You'll be fine, though, if you don't use your faith experiences for evil; if you decide to declare yourself the next incarnation of Jesus and form a cult, then you should go to the psychiatrist. Maybe I should do this myself, but I quite enjoy the unique faith experiences actually. Just don't be so arrogant to think that you're better than everyone else in the process.

Melon
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Old 07-01-2004, 12:34 AM   #13
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Your observations are very interesting, and I appreciate the underlying wit you use.

You're right in that we can't go by feelings or experiences alone, and we can't go by knowledge and human understanding alone.

I really think that what this is about is humility, as in being humble enough to drop to our knees in prayer (like the Tax Collector) and ask God to guide us in the right direction, as in being willing to surrender final authority on all issues to his judgement rather than our own (at least until he can shape our thinking to be more like his).

I'm not implying that I'm humble and you're not. I guess I'm just trying to do my best to express what I've learned in the hopes that it might be helpful to someone, and hopefully I'll learn some things as well.

And I'll keep in mind the suggestion about the Prozac.
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Old 07-01-2004, 12:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by BostonAnne
God is the only one that doesn't judge me, but just loves me for me. If that isn't God's Grace, then what is?
You're absolutely correct that God loves you just for you.

Grace is exactly what God is providing us through his son, and that's why we need to accept Jesus as our savior (the word savior meaning that he saves us). So what exactly is Jesus saving us from?

Just by looking at the ten commandments (i.e.- "Do not lie", "Do not envy", etc...) we can see that we are guilty of breaking some of God's laws, thus making us lawbreakers.

When a judge sentences a criminal, it doesn't mean that the judge is a mean or unloving person, it means that in their capacity as judge they have an obligation to see that justice is fulfilled.

This is not about God being harsh or cruelly judgemental or lacking in love for us. This is about him having to deal with our guilt as lawbreakers so that he is able to pardon us, cleanse us from our sin, and make us holy so that in his perfect state of holiness he can draw near us and adopt us into his family.

I know it's sometimes difficult for us to think about the judgement side of the bible because our natural human reaction is that it sounds mean or scary or unloving, but saving all of us on judgement day (as even Jesus himself describes it) is the main reason why he came to earth and died on the cross.
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Old 07-01-2004, 03:19 AM   #15
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Perhaps you should also refrain from being so arrogant as diagnosing perceived mental illnesses in members melon. Until someone gets a degree in medicine and then psychiatry, I strongly advise we all lay off these personal posts.

Speaking of arrogance though, it is my belief that it is fairly arrogant to ever assume we know God's intentions. Of all things man can understand, I think religion and God him/her/itself is the one thing we have the least understanding of. I am wary of anyone who claims otherwise.
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