- Eldon Peterson
Does Truth Matter?
The April 3 issue of Time asked in bold red letters, “Is Truth Dead?” Fifty-one years earlier they asked a similar question, “Is God Dead?” with the same bold red letters and font. That article opened asking, “Is God dead? It is a question that tantalizes both believers, who perhaps secretly fear that he is, and atheists, who possibly suspect that the answer is no.” I was hopeful that this article would reflect on our cultures shift on the importance of truth – alas, it was just a political article speaking of President Trump’s failure to embrace “truth.”
Easter reminds the Christian how their hope hangs in the truthfulness of the biblical claim that Jesus rose from the dead. It is in the resurrection that Christianity either stands or falls. Truth Does Matter! Today, standing for truth is nearly as controversial as President Trump’s tweets.
I do not know when the cultural shift occurred, but in today’s world the Christian’s claim of truth is politically incorrect. Instead, the relativist's mantra, “I’m glad that works for you!” is the correct answer. It is a passive/aggressive way of agreeing to disagree. But, truth is not a matter of opinion! When your foundational truth is in what you think, you are standing on very dangerous ground. But, why can’t all religions be true? Because each makes different truth claims.
I appreciate Mark Ashton’s observation in his booklet, Absolute Truth? “These claims of truth are made about the reality of our world, the supernatural world, morality, history and life after death. They must be considered carefully when one is determining whether or not to believe a particular religion. The law of non-contradiction applies to the truth claims of religion as strongly as it applies to the truth claims of the physical world.” (If you want a copy of Absolute Truth, stop by Oasis Books – 55 West Center, Ste. 103 and I will buy you one.)
If the answers to our faith questions are matters of opinion, what works for you, then they are meaningless. Our only hope comes from a belief system that is rooted in truth rather than the thoughts and opinions of men. I believe the Bible because, “First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Many faiths make a similar claim and without further evidence, it would seem that we are forced to yield to the thought that “whatever works for you.” However, the Christian faith not only offers the view that the Bible was “spoken from God” but it also offers objective reasons to believe. The best evidence is the resurrection that Christians celebrate at Easter.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he explains why the resurrection is critically importance to the Christian faith. His hope rests in both the testimony of the Bible and eyewitnesses, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 6) Paul challenges those who doubt the truthfulness of the resurrection to read the Scripture or speak to an eyewitness.
Why is the resurrection important? Listen to Paul's reasoning, “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”?... if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Corinthians 15:12, 14) The truthfulness of Christianity rests in the truthfulness of the resurrection of Christ.
To say that belief is all that is important denies the need for beliefs to be based in truth. Paul testifies, “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)
What is your conclusion? What is your faith based in? Teachings of men? Wishful thinking? Maybe you owe it to yourself to visit a church this Easter that teaches about the critical importance of the resurrection so you can make a decision based upon the evidence.