28% of Russians believe that man never walked on the moon. 4% of Americans are sure that Elvis is still alive. Hmmm….
What happens if you don’t want to hear the truth? And how would things change in the world if you have came to appreciate half-truths and made-up facts more than the real things because you prefer those half truths? What would result if you surrounded yourself with people that enjoy the same illusions? The truth is, belief in the absurd or fanciful will not change anything. What is true would still be true and what is a lie would remain a lie. Sorry Elvis and Putin.
The truth might “set me free”, but illusions might keep me far happier; many, many people live their whole lives denying what is true. From what I can see from conspiracy theories to the fight between “progressives” and “conservatives”, is that it is obvious that even if presented with irrefutable evidence, some folks prefer to hold on to what they want to believe.
I think that you could classify those folks as delusional, or at least “fanatical”, but in fact there's a scientific explanation for this. Experiments over the years have proved again and again that once we form an opinion, it's difficult for us to change, even after learning that the information we relied on was not true. We have a tendency to lend more weight to information that supports what we already believe, and less weight to information that contradicts it. We are hard-wired to hold on to our opinions —- even if we’re patently wrong. So before we get angry at someone for not sharing our opinion, maybe we ought to pray for discernment—and truth. A church will not grow by compromising the truth, but rather by embracing it—-even if it goes counter to what we want to hold on to.
“Truth”—the real truth—is the heart of the matter. That’s what Pilate could not grasp when he condemned Jesus, and it’s the cause of most of the trouble in the world—-particularly when it comes to religion, God, determining right and wrong, and eternity. In four decades of operating a summer camp I have lost count of the times teenagers (and some adult staff) have told me that they were not interested in hearing anything more about a topic because “they had already made up their minds”… Those words are an epitaph to anyone seeking truth and God.
It was not when I was desperately trying to prove the truth and efficacy of the Christian faith that I grew, nor did it cause me to find a bedrock upon which I could build my faith; rather when I became determined to know the truth about God (specifically if it was irrefutably true that Jesus really did rise from the grave) that my faith took off! It was a scary journey at the time, because I had to be prepared to find out that I had been misled or misinformed about all I was taught. But that spiritual odyssey caused me to find a first-hand faith in God that has not only sustained me since graduating from seminary, but has also allowed me to grow and share the faith in a manner I would never have been able to if I had not yearned for the truth no matter what the truth caused me to give up.
I would challenge anyone that has not found faith in God through Jesus Christ to do one very simply thing: Determine to seek the truth—-and promise yourself that you will not walk away from what you discover. That does not mean that will become a Christian—-you can still refuse to worship Him or call Him “Lord”—-but you will not be able to say that you’re not sure ever again. Perhaps that’s why most folks really do not want to know the truth.
Let’s be known to the world by how much we love each other—-first. But let’s also be known as people unafraid of the truth—-as men and women that embrace truth. We might find evangelism easier and the folks with whom we share God’s love more receptive if we are known as gentle, loving creatures that seek truth—-and then share it.