Do You Really Want the Truth?

Phil Jensen


What_is_truth (2)The majority of mankind is lazy-minded and incurious. When a man calls himself a skeptic or unbeliever, that usually just cloaks a disinclination to think anything through to its conclusion.— paraphrase of a statement by T.S. Eliot

There is a lie that everyone tells at some point in their lives. For the most part people don’t directly say it out loud, or even to themselves. But we all imply it, to ourselves and to others, in many ways.

It’s not always a lie; everyone has areas about which they could make the statement truthfully. But at various points in our lives, we all have issues — often very significant ones — about which the statement would be a lie to others if we said it out loud, and a lie to ourselves if we believed it.

Rick Kriebel 2016


The statement is this: “I really want to know the truth.”

(It’s rather ironic for that to be a lie, huh?)

Now, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever coming out and saying “I don’t want to know the truth” — particularly if the truth in question has to do with something important. But people very often claim — and actually believe — that they’re pursuing the truth about something, when in fact they’ve resolutely turned their backs on it.

Woodrow Wilcox


One of the biggest things that prevents people from genuinely seeking truth is the tendency to think any idea they don’t like must not be true. Without realizing it, people will consider something to be false solely on the basis of its being unappealing to them, inconvenient for them, or unpopular among people like them.

This is why it’s so rare for people to put effort into investigating whether certain things are true, and so common for people to try to prove that certain things are true. Many people will believe that a certain thing is “firmly proven,” when there actually isn’t any support for it beyond popular belief and “expert opinion”; or they’ll believe that “there is no evidence at all” for a given thing, when in fact there is quite a bit of evidence for it — including a fair amount that has been clearly and directly presented to them. What they believe is determined not by evidence, but by preference. They may put a lot of effort into trying to win arguments, or at least avoiding concessions; what they won’t put effort into is honestly and critically examining their preconceptions.

But anyone who is serious about pursuing truth must be prepared to accept things that don’t fit their preferences or comfort zones. Someone who is not willing to be changed by what they may discover is not truly open to discovery.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the way set up by the Creator, through Jesus Christ, confronts each of us with a decision: Do you really want the truth, even though it will cost you — will keep you from doing things you’d want to, will make you uncomfortable, will make you unpopular, will hurt your pride?

The Bible lets us know that God’s truth will be found by those who honestly seek it. God is not unknowable, and the faith laid out in His word is not a blind, unreasoning one. Sure, it asks us to believe in some things we can’t see, and it acknowledges that human reason is limited. Nonetheless, it emphatically and consistently urges us to seek knowledge and wisdom, and is not shy about pointing to clear evidence. There can be no doubt that the Bible strongly discourages us from being uninformed (however much Christians may be accused of being “ignorant”).

Though even a small child can have faith in God, the Bible gives even the most intelligent and inquisitive person endless opportunity to study and learn. Understanding the Bible deeply is not a task for the lazy-minded. Criticism of the Bible inevitably comes from people who neither know nor care what it really says or means, but who are just looking for excuses to reject it — “contradictions” that aren’t there, “errors” that no writer would actually make, statements that can be stripped of their context and misrepresented, and so on.

The humanistic system that rejects God claims to be founded on reason and knowledge. Yet it makes the fatal mistake of starting with the desired conclusion — i.e., that man is not accountable to any higher authority — and, in effect, demanding that all evidence be forced into conformance with it. For all its claims of being about science and discovery, this school of thought does something that’s guaranteed to stand in the way of honest learning like a thick iron wall: it insists that what can be discovered must meet certain conditions — conditions other than simply being true. It carries the pretense of accepting only what can be seen and known; yet — because of the filter it forces knowledge to be put through — it not only demands belief in things that can’t be seen, but also demands the disregarding of things that can be seen. If a clear fact doesn’t line up with it, that fact will be bypassed or explained away by any means necessary.

By what they do, in contrast to what they say, humanistic thinkers show what their system is really about. They tell us to question authority… but not their authority. They tell us to think for ourselves… as long as we don’t reach conclusions that challenge them. They tell us to learn and investigate… but only within their approved boundaries. If we show understanding that shines an unwelcome light on their worldview, they subject us to mockery and demand that we be silent. These are not the actions of people who seek to follow truth wherever it leads.

The person who really seeks truth will not let their search be limited to what the world around them encourages or allows, to what is popular to think, to what is supposedly “proven,” or to what makes them comfortable. An honest search for truth will lead to the One who is truth.



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David Mann is a Christian who lives in Florida.
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