Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Opus 2012-55, Truth and Facts

Children do not like history.  There are exceptions.  I was one, but the majority find it a boring chore.  There are a number of reasons for this from boring teaching to that fact that history requires more mature thinking than any other subject.  In elementary math there is one answer and often one way to find the answer.  It is very clear if you are right or wrong.  People like that.  English is a skill you can often pick up by listening and there is a vast range of imagination that is allowed.  Science is taught as if there are clear answers and the kids get to play with objects while looking for the answers.  That may not be accurate but it is what they experience.

History, on the other hand, requires reading, thinking and evaluating.  Even such a simple thing as the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence brings up questions.  One of the big issues is the nature of truth in history as opposed to science.  Modern, western science became strong on experiments and gathering evidence.  You try something, write about it, have others try the same thing, compare results and keep trying until you come to what is accepted as fact.  It may be a long process, but it is doable.  It is called the Scientific Method.  For now we will ignore the evidence that modern science has abandoned this process to advance political positions.  The theory is sound even if the current practice is questionable.

In history you can’t go back and re-run the Battles of Lexington and Concord to find out who fired the first shot.  Obviously a first shot had to be fired, but there is no way to know who did it.  And the “who” makes a difference.  This is difficult for people who want simple answers.

Historical facts are different than scientific facts.  History is not as cut and dried as science.  Science demands that facts be observable, measurable and repeatable.  History can only ask for the most reasonable.  You experience this every day when you drive.  Consider the simple traffic light; red, yellow and green.  Traffic lights are useful not because they are infallible but because they are based on reasonable faith.  We assume people will not run the read light.  An occasional tragedy does not invalidate that assumption.

That is the best we can do for historical fact.  On the other hand take someone who drives through a red light because the statistics say that the odds are no one is coming through the other way.  They can go a long time without a problem.  They can also cause their death and the death of an innocent party. 

Can we know the true and complete answer to the motivations of the American and French Revolutions?  No.  Can we see differences in the causes and results?  Yes. 

Life is not simple.  Issues are complex.  Our information is limited and often biased.  That is why it is so important to look at the values of the source.  When two people give me different accounts of an event I must look at the whole picture.  One, the Christian, believes that God knows all and that liars are destined to an eternity in the fiery pits of Hell.  The other, a non-Christian or what the Bible calls a “so-called brother,” does not believe there is any consequence if he lies, even if he gets caught.  Which one has more motivation to tell the truth?  Which one will I chose to believe?  I would think it would be obvious.

To steal and adapt a line, “Thinking.  Don’t leave home without it.”  I guess we should not stay home without it either. 

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.