Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rush Revere and the First Thanksgiving; or - Why Bother with the Truth?

Robert Tracy McKenzie, professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College, has written two pieces on his blog about Rush Limbaugh's recent book on the First Thanksgiving, you can read his Faith and History blog here

What I find particularly interesting is McKenzie's discussion of people not caring about whether something is true or not as long as they like what they're reading. He surveys positive comments on the Limbaugh book on and notes that the vast majority make no mention of whether or not the book is true and factual - the book not only has errors but is misleading as it seeks to advance an agenda that the Pilgrims would not have recognized. 

I'm currently reading Peter Kreeft's, Heaven, the Heart's Deepest Longing, and I just happen to be at a place where Kreeft is discussing what McKenzie is writing about - that people don't ask whether something is true when they hear it or read it - if they like it and it makes them feel good then that is good enough. I see this all the time; I see it in the church, I see it in business, I see it in politics, I see it in society. Perhaps this subjective toxicity is one reason why the church no longer views the Bible as containing commandments that must be obeyed and precepts and principles that must be conformed to and propositional truth that must be either accepted or rejected - the truth or falsehood of what we read or hear no longer matters, it is all about how we feel about what we read or hear.

C.S. Lewis wrote that he would believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ whether or not it benefited him personally because the Gospel is true. That is strange to our thinking because we've been taught first and foremost to ask, "What's in it for me?" To Lewis "Is it true?" was the first question, to us the first questions are "How do I feel about this? What's in it for me? Does it meet my needs?" 

Last week the Tuesday-morning small group that I'm in looked at Paul's visit to Berea in Acts 17:10 - 15. Luke writes that the Bereans examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things [Paul's teaching] were so. That's a novel idea in 2013, to actually read the Bible, to submit to the Bible, and to ask whether something is true before we ask anything else. As Kreeft writes, "True does not mean 'true to me', but 'I want to know what this truth means to me'.

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