No matter what branch of life you come from, I think it’s fair to say that our greatest struggle as humans is discerning truth in a world of confusion. Unfortunately for most of us, our initial impressions and beliefs harden as we grow older, making it increasingly more difficult to become receptive to the truth and to admit the possibility that “our truth” might be flawed. However, that kind of remission of one’s own pride will reward you with liberation.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)
History proves that truth has never been a terribly easy thing to find, therefore, I think it’s reasonable to say that it is a little naïve to adopt the common or accepted way of thinking as found in the social pressures of society. Think of how many different varying beliefs there are in the world. There can only be one truth, therefore you know that the world is filled with lies. So, I’m going to try to articulate a few ways for you to discern between fact and fiction before making your decision on where to place your heart. First of all, I must point out that the truth, whatever it happens to be, is not necessarily going to be what you want it to be. To prepare ourselves to accept a reality, we must remember not to reject something simply because we do not agree with it. The truth is the truth.
Now, the best away (I believe) to discern truth is to examine the intentions and motivations of that which you are analyzing, whether it be a particular belief, or a person, and try to recognize any selfish or immoral motivations that might expose the true nature of it. For instance, if you were tied between two religions, wouldn’t you rather find truth in the religion that sought only to bring love and hope into the world than the one that was motivated by sexual lust to receive paradise through terrorism? Always ask yourself whenever you’re conflicted with someone’s intentions, “what do they stand to gain from this”? If it is for their own gain, then you know that they are inspired by evil. But, if it is selfless, then how can they be condemned? I deeply encourage you to wrap your head around a person’s background before giving blind credence to them, because the greatest lies always look like truths. It says in Genesis that Eve was tempted not only because of the idea of gaining wisdom, but because the forbidden fruit “was pleasant to the eyes”. This is a perfect example of how fatal it can be to fall into earthly appetites.
The next tactic that I find really helps is acknowledging that whatever the truth is, it cannot theoretically be wrong, therefore it will be the one belief or theory in which there are no holes or flaws. If time passes, and no explanation can patch up a hole found in it, then time will also expose it for being one of many lies. What you’re doing here is essentially looking at a bunch of apples and seeing, over time, which one of them began to age and rot like a real apple does, and which of the rest were made of plastic all along. Concerning religion, you must always look at the prophecies of any religion and marvel not at the religions in which fulfilled one or two prophecies, but every single one. Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Most people don’t realize that science is a religion by definition, one in which people worship themselves as the gods and superior intellect of the universe. As flattering as that sounds, we mustn’t forget that science is based on human logic, another way of saying flawed logic. Despite the fact that science has unlocked many great understandings for us, it tends to revolve around the idea that whatever cannot be measured with its caliber of tools cannot exist. The point being, science, the default belief of mankind, and one of many varying “faiths”, continuously proves itself wrong, which is in turn what keeps it going. Science is nothing more than a series of failed conclusions. For this reason, even science, which has convinced the world of its spotless uncertainty, must be questioned. Thessalonians 5:21 elaborates, “But keep in mind this is saying that we are to test everything throwing out the evil and holding to all that is good. The purpose for testing is to figure out what is good to believe and what is harmful to believe.”
The final trial of truth is to observe the other people who attest to that particular truth and realize that there will be geniuses and lunatics, as has every belief there is to believe. Your perspective on it, in order to remain clear for a decision, must not be diluted by your surface impressions of others, but on your own good judgment. Hopefully now, the next time someone comes on the news professing to have some truth, you won’t go along with their teachings based on how convincing they sound, but instead put them to the ultimate test and let the truth reveal itself. You can use these tactics for anything, but the reason I bring prominence to spiritual beliefs is because I always thought that if it were even possible that there was a God, that maybe I didn’t have it all figured out, then I should probably take a longer look at it instead of brushing off the possibility that my eternal soul is up for stakes. If 99% is all that can be known in the universe, and a generous 1% is what we know, isn’t it fair to say that somewhere in that 99% of things that we don’t know, there exists God? Don’t decide now. Question always.