mercredi 11 janvier 2012

The Truth

Today, i wanted to advocate for the search for truth on a personal basis as well as in helping other to get it. 

The Ravi Zacharias ministry has this beautiful statement for motto: "HELPING THE THINKER BELIEVE; HELPING THE BELIEVER THINK". I happen to be one of the product of this christian ministry. I have always thought to myself, if i have to join a ministry beside the FGBMFI, which God used in my early christian life, i will certainly join the RZIM, since this last one strengthened my faith foundations and gave me materials to complete some of my spiritual superstructures.

The Business of leading people to believe or to live a satisfactory life is profoundly entrenched into the concept of truth. But this is exactly were the problem resides. Who wants to know the truth? Even more succinctly put, even if we demand the truth as we almost unmistakeably always do, would we be able to handle it once we get it? Can we handle the truth? We better be able to do so because that's the only thing that keep us connected to real life and reality in any meaningful way. 
In my many hours of counseling people with a great range of problems in their lives, I have found that one fact comes out again and again. If our sense of security, sense of being loved, senses of well-being, pride, or simple desire to pursue pleasure are at risk, we will readily believe in almost any lie, whether it is told by others or from our own invention, if it is consistent with what makes us feel more comfortable. An alcoholic is a victim. Premarital sex is a good idea to determine if two people are compatible. I could never get AIDS. People can take advantage of each other and still be great friends. A woman can change an abusive guy by staying with him. It is OK for a taxpayer to cheat on his taxes; after all, everyone else does it. If someone is feeling bad, overeating will make it go away. Success in a career will make a person happy.
Lies, Lies, Lies!!
Every one of these statements is a lie! At one level or another, we know they are all lies. Yet, at one time or another all of us have believed some of these lies. Why? It is difficult for us to accept the truth. The truth can be threatening intellectually or emotionally or in some other way. Nevertheless, we would do ourselves a favor to admit that our human nature makes us prone to believe lies if we do not closely watch ourselves. We don't want people "telling us" the truth. (Is There a God: Questions About Science and the Bible, Page 17-18. John M. Oakes, Ph.D. 1999)
Not only do we get confused about the nature of truth, but we also get confused about it sources. For anyone in search of truth should always ask oneself this basic question, 'where will i get the right information?' As the bible reveals, the world is filled with plenty of voices fighting for our attention and not all of them proceeds from God nor are they necessarily truthful. Therefore we should be selective on the kind of sources we go digging for information. Most human actions are driven by beliefs. And if we believe the right thing, we might be doing what is right and if we believe the wrong thing we might end up doing the wrong things. If that serves us as any relevant guide about human behavior, we can therefore discover someone else beliefs just by observing how he/she behaves.
Voltaire may have been correct to write that "those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities," but a more meaningfully rational statement would be to say: If you commit atrocities, then you believe absurdities. And the undeniable fact is that the absurdity most often believed by those who have committed Man's greatest atrocities is that there is no God. (The Irrational Atheist. Page 77.  Vox Day. 2008)
 Wanting the truth and looking for truth at the right places is just part of what we need to do. There is something else that we need to make sure that we have. It is called paradigm. The right paradigm is like a map and it precedes good intention and good character in the shaping of who we are. This little illustration below will help to clarify that. Here the paradigm is illustrated by a map:
Suppose you wanted to arrive at a specific location in central Chicago. A street map of the city would be a great help to you in reaching your destination. But suppose you were given the wrong map. Through a printing error, the map labeled "Chicago" was actually a map of Detroit. Can you imagine the frustration, the ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination? You might work on your behavior -- you could try harder, being more diligent, doubling your speed. But your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster. You might work on your attitude -- you could think more positively. You still wouldn't get to the right place, but perhaps you wouldn't care. Your attitude would be so positive, you'd be happy wherever you were. The point is, you'd still be lost.

The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your behavior or your attitude. It has everything to do with having a wrong map. If you have the right map of Chicago, then diligence becomes important, and when you encounter frustrating obstacles along the way, then attitude can make a real difference. But the first and most important requirement is the accuracy of the map.

Each of us has many, many maps in our head, which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the way things should be, or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps. We seldom question their accuracy; we're usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions. The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act. (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Page 6-7. Stephen R. Covey).
I have long learned that when i discuss or debate a subject, I always try to identify what are the assumptions or the working paradigm my interlocutor is bringing in the conversation. It helps to understand the questions behind the questions. If we ever want to help people we better learn what are our own functioning paradigm as well as the other person paradigm. It might help most dialogue to become more effective and productive. Know yourself first, and try to know others.

May God bless you, prosper you and guide you in all His grace and truth! Have a nice day and new year 2012 in Jesus' name.

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