Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’

Inform or Inflame?

August 24, 2010

A partial truth can be more damaging than an outright lie.  I have had conversations with people who had a small piece of the truth, but that piece had been taken out of context, or misapplied for the express purpose of provoking an emotional response.  Emotions can be powerful motivators to get a response, but it might not be the right response.

It would be best if we responded with both reason and emotion.   In fact, perhaps we should take a lesson from Mr. Spock, and allow reason to guide our decisions, free from the entanglement of emotion.  Once a decision is reached, then our emotions can come on board.

Be careful of the sources of information.  They may be telling the truth, but is it the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  Or are portions of truth being used to manipulate a response that is desired for reasons unknown to the recipient?   We are responsible for our actions, and we should be careful of the informational sources that guide our decisions.

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Beyond Words

September 3, 2009

“The spirit may grasp truth that breaks beyond the barriers of human language.”

Last night in Bible study, one of the older members of our congregation, (She is 97!) commented that the topic was so deep that she was having trouble expressing what God was saying to her.  After the study was officially concluded, we were still sitting around talking and the line that I wrote above, came to me and I quickly got up wrote it down on the board so that I wouldn’t forget it. 

I believe that God communicates to us in a variety of ways.  God will utilize the natural means of verbal communication, such as reading, dialogue, and rational thought; but additional truths are grasped by an internal comprehension,  a revelation on a spiritual level, which allows us to understand, but that may be difficult to express.  These truths have a profound impact on how we comprehend the things of God, and of the world, and even though our attempts to put them into words are only partially successful; they enrich our lives, and our cognition of metaphysical reality.

How Do We Know The Truth?

August 20, 2009

“You can’t believe everything you read.” 

Except this blog of course, I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… unless of course I am confused, have my facts mixed up, bad memory, wrong information and so on.  OK, at least I promise not to intentionally lie, but you don’t necessarily know me, so does my word mean anything?

We know our own experiences.  Whether those experiences are remembered and interpreted correctly are another issue.  Sometimes people who were at the same event have different recollections of what happened and what was said.  So our collection of remembered data is relatively sound, but not absolute.

Things that we can see at the moment can be pretty certain.  Unless we are having a temporary, or even not-so-temporary break with reality caused by drugs, fatigue, mental illness or other factors.  Still, for most of us we can believe our senses, unless, of course we are deceived by a magician, or illusionist, or a quick talking con man.

Still for the most part, we can know a good deal about the world by our accumulation of assorted experiences.

We can also know what we hear from other sources.  The only problem with that is that we are relying on our sources to relay accurate information. 

Sources are not always accurate.

Now if we have multiple sources, or if our sources have been credible and reliable in the past, then we can become more certain of our knowledge.

What happens when our sources disagree? 

We evaluate our information by number of sources, reliability of sources, and how well the information meshes with the rest of our understanding of reality as we know it.

Good luck with that.

Jesus said that he is “The way, the truth, and the life..”

and that “we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free.”

In Proverbs it tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

I believe that through my faith in Christ I can have a knowledge that is secure.  I have a firm foundation upon which to build my life-view.  Once you have The Cornerstone, the rest can be built up.  If I occasionally have to take out a section, and rebuild, that doesn’t shake my world.  I don’t always have to be right, as long as I know The Truth.

Christmas, the Bible and Truth

December 24, 2008

Christmas, the Bible and truth.

There are several approaches in epistemology for determining truth value. (Epistemology is the section in philosophy that deals with issues of knowledge and truth.)

The correspondence theory states that truth is determined by whether or not empirical facts can verify claims.  Atheists and Christians have argued for a long time over the conclusions of this approach.  Of course, as a Christian I believe that the Bible is true and I have not personally seen anything that satisfactorily contradicts that claim.  The eternal nature of some of the claims of scripture will have to wait for eternity for verification.

The coherence theory evaluates the cohesiveness of a group of claims to determine truth. (kind’ve like how we can catch a person in a lie.)  For me, and for millions of others,  the Bible is a cohesive truth.  It is internally consistent, which is remarkable since it is written by so many different people over such a length of time.  It is also consistent with its application to life.  It fits together with my understanding and my experience very well.

The pragmatic theory states that something is true, if believing it to be true “works”.  Again for myself, and for millions of others the Bible works.  Millions of people live better lives because of their belief in the Bible as the word of God.

The concept of truth as a social construct is yet another approach.   This theory states that truth is determined by ones culture, or society. ( I personally do not accept this basic concept of truth, but if I did, it could apply to the Bible.)  There are millions of people who for thousands of years have believed the Bible to be true, therefore in this approach the Bible is true.

As we celebrate Christmas, we can believe that the biblical story is true.  Jesus  was born of the Virgin Mary.  He is the Son of God.  Immanuel, God with us.

Merry Christmas Everyone!