Saturday, 13 May 2017

j) Lesson 7 WHAT IS TRUTH – The Need to make Faith Assumptions


Read pages 152 - 188.

Theme:  Not apologetics, but personal integrity and humility are the first steps towards finding truth
With respect to “Plato, Moses, and Aristotle” Page 152 - 158


1) Discuss the 3-column chart on page 154.   How is the resulting way of life related to the
original premise?  Which column best represents your life?


2) If we don’t think deeply about these questions about foundational truth - then what will
inevitably shape our lives?


Discuss:  People who don’t do basic philosophy will be led /  brainwashed by those who do.
Basic philosophy is simply the ability to reason logically down to foundational matters.  


People who don’t do theology will be led by those who do.  Berean Christians. Acts 17:11

A Reference Guide - The standard for truth in the various global spheres
In Christianity - Revelation  - the Bible
(In practice for far too many - leaders we “like”)
In the West  - scientific evidence / logical reasoning
In the East - truth is intuitive
Becoming quiet so truth can be “dropped” into our minds / hearts
“That flash of insight / the light turns on / Enlightenment”
The collected writings of the sages
In Islam - Revelation - the Quran from Allah, the Hadiths from the First Community
In practise - Truth is found in trustworthy elders (community authority)
“Leaders critically examine for truth. The rest simply accept their teachings.”
Islam is more an Oral tradition - unquestioning submission to Allah / Elders.

3) Discuss: Today there is a strong tendency to avoid thinking about these foundational
questions.  Our postmodern culture has made these issues irrelevant. Postmodernism
teaches - life is short, it’s an accident, ultimately irrelevant, death is the end of me, the key
value is fun, live for today, no need to address the big issues, they are far too divisive and
ultimately irrelevant etc.
To what degree have I absorbed (been brainwashed by) these sentiments?
With respect to “The Challenge of Circular Reasoning” page 161 - 164


4) Discuss the reality of brainwashing in every culture, in our culture and subculture.  How
do we avoid this trap?  How do we prevent / minimize the brainwashing effect as we mentor
and disciple the next generation?
According to Einstein: A Life, a biography published in 1996, he was
devoutly religious as a child. But at the age of 13, he “abandoned his
uncritical religious fervour, feeling he had been deceived into believing
lies”.
Christians would in turn argue that Einstein was shaped by
(brainwashed?) by modernism’s foundational assumptions - reason
and science are the pathway to truth.
How do we respond to experts in our culture?  Can experts be wrong,
brainwashed as well?
5) Explore our human dilemma of needing solid answers, yet having to make heart
assumptions, because we simply do not have the ability to verifiably prove the “truth claims”
we need to make.  (solid answers to meaning, purpose of life, what is truth, right or wrong,
what comes after death etc)


With respect to “A Short History of the First Principle, the Axiom for “What is Truth?”


6) What is accepted as “obvious truth” in our North American culture?  Consider the
following: culture’s truth standard, cosmology, meaning / purpose of life, morals, ethics?  
Discuss the reality that within any belief system like atheism / Christianity faith assumptions
become concrete facts in practice and in discussion.


7) Consider the reality of human pride.  How does pride shape our thinking, our search for
truth? Discuss the reality of our many limitations, our life choices, our physical, emotional,
intellectual spiritual limitations.   (Sidebar Page 167)


8) Discuss: My truth is first of all something that I love ie “something I want to be true” rather
than something I logically know to be true.
The epic error of Modernism may be the declaration that we are rational creatures.  
The epic error of Postmodernism may be the claim that “what I feel is truth for me”
We are driven far more by our wants and our fears, by our subconscious drives.  
We are far more vulnerable to twisting and manipulating facts than we realize,


With respect to “Reality Checks … “ page 169 - 180


9) The best that we can do in our effort to find truth is to examine and harmonize the
confirmed facts from science, from history, from experience.   Discuss the danger of twisting
known facts so that it supports the truth position that I want to be true. How can we avoid
this temptation?   How can we promote honesty, personal integrity in processing known
facts?


With respect to “Religion’s Reality Checks through Careful Responses to Critics”
(Page 181 - 2)


10) Compare Christianity’s approach to criticism with that of Islam’s or Atheism’s.


With Respect to “External / Internal Validation” (Page 186 -7)
11) Share stories as to how truth was affirmed by the Spirit in your life.
12) Reread and discuss the short section “An Honest Question” page 185.  Do you agree /
disagree with the suggested approach?  

Wrap up


John 14:6    In Judeo-Christian thinking truth is a person, not simply a dogma.  What
difference does that understanding make in our search for truth?


Matthew 13:10 – 17 This difficult passage describes the challenges facing us when stuck
in our own “truth”.   The root problem is “hearts that have become calloused.”  Consider
the impact of human pride / lack of humility, lack of awareness / acceptance of our
creature-liness / the reality of our limitations / our brokenness.  How can we encourage
these missing heart attitudes (in ourselves / in others)?  How does God attempt to develop
these in us?  How does he attempt to break through all of our defenses? 



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