Archive | November, 2016

Post-truth? What does that mean?

30 Nov

oxfordengdict

Today I welcome Michael Cochrane as guest writer to ‘Logical Gal’.  Michael, besides being my husband, works as a technology reporter for World News Group and voiceover artist. I fell in love with him 37 years ago when I overheard a young man announce, “The unexamined life is not worth living!” He has been a guiding force in my growth as a critical thinker.

Each year the Oxford University Press, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) select a word of the year, one that “reflect(s) the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and… [has] lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”

The OED word of the year for 2016 is “post-truth,” which is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Unlike words such as “post-war” or “post-modern,” the term “post-truth” does not suggest the world has moved beyond a time in which truth is relevant or significant. Rather, it implies that we now live in a world in which public opinion of events, politics, economics, science, morality and ethics – essentially anything that comprises reality – is more important than reality itself, and that emotional appeal or subjective belief is more effective than factual truth in achieving that objective.

Another way to think of this is to look at the classical correspondence theory of truth, which states (according to Wikipedia), “the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world.” In other words, truth is “that which conforms to reality.”

If we accept this definition of truth, then by inference, “post-truth” also means “post-reality.” Which actually makes more sense as a word of the year given the secular, cultural elite’s current embrace of ideology as a substitute for objective reality.

Understanding someone’s grounds

16 Nov

“Jesus went around doing good, healing the sick and feeding the hungry and blessing those who gave to the poor,” pointed out an advocate for social justice issues as primary.

The man in conversation with her countered from a teaching from the Sermon on the Mount: “Jesus illuminated His commitment to the Law when he taught that we should not murder! And abortion is the unlawful taking of life from the innocent!”

I overheard this discussion during an October radio conversation between two Christians explaining why they were voting differently; the first one for Hillary Clinton and the second speaker for Donald Trump. Each maintained that the party of his and her candidate best supported the teaching of Jesus.

Clearly, what we focus on (as well as what we don’t look at or see) guides our beliefs and subsequent actions.

After 90 minutes of back and forth explanations, neither person had changed his/her mind.  But for me the discussion was fruitful because I could see:

  • each person advanced sincerely-held views, supported by an accurate understanding of a portion of Scripture.

The issue, as far as I can discern, seems to point to this question:

  • What do American citizens believe the Constitution delegates to the federal government to handle?
  • Which problems/situations should fall under the purview of state, local or non-governmental groups of people and individuals?

I don’t know how to reconcile the views any other way than what our Founding Fathers left in place for us: a representative republic, undergirded by a written constitution that allows for change.  Whether you are upset or relieved with the results from 8 November, the system worked. No one is ever COMPLETELY satisfied, but that FACT is woven into the very fabric of our constitution.  Our system is not perfect, but it beats many alternatives!

Just for the record, when I reflect on Jesus’ marching orders, it appears clear that we, his followers, are commanded:

  • to make disciples among all the people groups
  • to baptize them in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
  • and to teach them to do all that He, Jesus commanded, including making disciples……

PS: I see this command as an outworking of the Greatest Command to ‘Love God and to Love Neighbor’.  (For we show we love God IF we obey Him.  And what greater way IS THERE to love our neighbor than to care for their eternal, forever condition?)

 

 

Novel Logic

9 Nov

And (you) killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead; and we are witnesses. – Acts 3:15

Okay, logical guys and gals.  It’s the day after the election.  Let’s use some clear thinking to stabilize ourselves.

No matter who has won a mandate (?) to sit in the Oval Office, the story line is still intact. If we let ourselves fall into discouragement, then we are putting a lie to the FACT that there is a Cosmic Story in which we all play our roles.  Furthermore, we can read the last chapter as written in the Bible’s final book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

If any of you ENJOY reading dense, complicated novels with labyrinth-like plot lines, then there is no need to despair.

Facts:

  • the Author of life did not die (see verse above)
  • He is directing each scene on earth and in heaven (All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. – Matt 28: 18)
  • good novelists keep us in suspense and direct the plot through a suspenseful climax to a satisfying conclusion

If we relish and appreciate reading a finely crafted story by a reputable author, then we can relax and carry on with OUR assigned roles as ambassadors and reconcilers for Christ.

 

Psalm 115:3 –  Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases!

 

Reformation Logic – If God did this, then for sure….

2 Nov

95-theses This past Monday was the 499th anniversary of Martin Luther’s penning and dispatching to Albert of Brandenburg (Archbishop of Mainz) his 95 arguments for reforming the church.

One of the central beliefs among the reformers was the doctrine that guilty sinners are justified ONLY by faith in Jesus’ atoning death and righteous life on their behalf.  Using ‘shorthand’ this is called ‘the justification by faith’.  Prior to this tectonic shift back to original Christianity, the church had taught with a growing force that salvation was dependent not just on faith but also on works.  One had to MERIT heaven.

So where does logic fit in?  Have you heard of reasoning from the greater to the lesser?

If so, then you’re in for a boatload of comfort!

Here’s how the argument goes:

If God has given you faith to trust Him to save you from deserved wrath, then that same faith is sufficient for you to trust Him when He says He will provide grace for every other one of your needs.

The greater and ‘harder’ work is rescuing us from our certain prideful or oblivious march along the path toward hell.  That cost the Father His Son. The ‘lesser’ work is rescuing, helping, provisioning, guiding, healing, and meeting our needs in this life through faith.

There’s even a promise from God backing up this conditional IF/THEN statement.  Romans 8:32 – For He who did not spare His own Son, will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all other things?

How does that comfort me?

When I’m afraid about something difficult facing me later today or next week, then I ‘admonish’ myself like this:

  • Maria, you have trusted God for the gift of eternal life, why would you doubt His promise when He tells you NOT to fear the here and now? The same Word that holds out His offer of salvation also declares His willingness to be with you and to provide exactly what you need at the right time. To doubt this God for the lesser when He has already given you the greater just doesn’t make sense, Maria!!

Dear friends, there’s a constant negative, world-shouting message of fear and false reality.  We MUST vigorously and repeatedly recall the truth.  Our faith in the biblical God is a gift and our most precious possession. But like a muscle, if we don’t strengthen it every day, it will not remain static, but grow smaller.

Exercise the logical mind that God has given you!