Finding Truth in a Confused World: Affirming the Authority of Scripture
Read Deuteronomy 6:4-15
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”
Everyone today has an opinion. Pick any topic and ask people what they think about the issue, and you will find many different ideas. Each person will express their views and condemn those who have a different perspective. Pick a topic: Covid-19, Vaccines, poverty, health care, politics, government authority, healthcare. But it is not just about politics, but it is equally true about religion, morality, and truth. What is our identity, what is sexual morality, is abortion right, etc.? In this world of opinions, we no longer have any basis for truth; truth becomes what I think. Then, to affirm what we believe to be valid, we fall prey to confirmational bias, where we only listen to the viewpoints and information that verifies what we believe to be true.
The tragedy this preference for my personal opinion infiltrates the church and Christians as well. With so many different churches available today, we find the church with the same political and moral views that I affirm. Truth is then determined by what the majority of people think (at least the majority of people that I chose to associate with). We fall into the trap of spiritual confirmational bias.
So how do we determine what is true when opinions become facts and personal beliefs become dogmas? The answer does not lie by turning inward to our own sentiments. As someone once said, “navel-gazing, even spiritual navel-gazing, reveals nothing but navels.” If our heart is desperately wicked, to turn inward to our own opinions and thoughts is to follow a self-delusion.
To find the truth, we need to turn to scripture. In Deuteronomy 6, God sets forth the basis for the Israelites new life in the promised land. If they were to be successful and enjoy the blessings of God, they needed to be governed by what the Law states. In verses 4-5, we find the Jewish Shema, which, for the Jews, became the ultimate declaration of faith. We are called upon to love God with all our hearts. But that love is expressed in our obedience to God’s words. When God says that “you shall bind them as a sign on your hands and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,” he is commanding them to make the Scriptures the determiner of truth for their whole life. The Law of God is to govern what they do (their hands) how they think (their forehead). It oversees their home (doorposts) and dictates how they live in the thoroughfare of life (on your gates). Obedience to the Law is the basis for life. To forsake the Law of God in pursuit of our own morality is not only to abandon the path of successful living, but it is also to risk the judgment of a jealous God. In the end, we replace God as the focus of our worship with a new idol—the idol of self.
In our age of personal opinions, we are often asking the wrong question. We often ask: “What do you think?” or “What do I think?” Instead, we need to be asking: What does God say? Instead of turning inward to determine truth, or turning outward to the opinions of others to follow the majority opinion, turn upward and look for what God has said in His word. In the Bible, we find all the answers we need to navigate through all the perplexities and confusions of life.