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[COMMENT: Christianity and the Bible (sadly and erroneously) do not have a positive reputation for truth-seeking. And most sadly and erroneously -- that is true among Christians, right in the top leadership of the Church. The only way we can take truth seriously is to put truth ahead of God, but we do not do that.
But the fact of the matter is that the Bible is rooted and founded in the business of finding the truth of a matter -- in a way which transcends the truth-seeking of any other culture. The Way of the Cross, the Commandments, especially the Two Great Commandments to love God and one another, and the whole concept of a freewill covenant which God is creating with us to build His Kingdom -- none of these make any sense at all unless truth comes first, even before God. "Test the spirits to see if they are of God..." means that we are to test anything at all which claims to be from God. Even if it really is God knocking on our door.
We are, in other words, to put truth ahead of God. Why? Because that makes truth-seeking the royal road to God. What other road would we (or God) want? And because, if we do not put truth ahead of God, we have no way to distinguish between the true God and false gods.
If we are not willing to find out that we might be wrong, then we can never know whether we are right. Only on the public, level playing field of honest discussion, only in a free-market of ideas, can anyone at all honestly test for the truth. And we all take our risks there. But we need each other to keep ourselves honest.
Such a community of people will find themselves making serious advances on the truth, and continually cutting the distance between their beliefs and the real truth -- whatever that may be. That is the meaning of science, which arose only in a Christian culture in the late Middle Ages, after 1000 years of steeping in Biblical principles.
See Elijah on Mount Carmel, at the direction of God, putting truth ahead of God (I Kings 18).
See also I Corinthians 15 where Paul says that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then we should not preach that He was. Truth comes first. How else can we call God "faithful and true"?
When the Church, the Christian community, catches on to this,
the whole public scene will change. We will begin to succeed in a way we
never have before, and may encounter persecution like never before. Satan
and his allies will not stand by when the people of God again gain an
intellectually credible testimony for God.
Consider this passage from St. Paul: “I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9:1). And this one: “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8). And one more: To false brethren “we did not yield submission, even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you” (Gal. 2:5). Any reflection on St. Paul—especially if we want to shed the light of his witness on our current circumstances— needs to anchor itself in the concept of truth. The word truthshows up some fifty times in Paul’s letters, from the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans (Rom. 1:18) to his last Letter to Titus (Titus 1:14). Indeed, to Paul, even the greatest theological virtue—charity, the measure by which we’ll all be finally judged—is authentic only when it conforms to truth. He tells us in his famous canticle to charity, “Love does not rejoice in wrong, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).
—Charles J. Chaput,First Things
June/July 2009, p. 9
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