Saturday, May 9, 2009

Episode VII


There is no religion that is the "true" religion. All of the major religions have a bit of truth, but not the whole truth. It's like this:

There were 3 blind men. They were each placed next to an elephant and asked to describe it. One grasped the leg of the elephant and said, "The elephant is like a large tree." The second pressed against the elephant's side and said, "No, the elephant is like a great wall, tall and vast." Still, the third man ran his hand along the trunk of the elephant and said, "No, the elephant is long and flexible like a snake." All of them had truth about the elephant, just not all the truth. That is what all the major religions are like. They all have some good things to say and they have a little truth, but there is no one true religion that can see the whole elephant.

I've heard this a lot, but this logic does not stand up, and here is why:

This line of thinking ignores the fourth person in the story: The Storyteller. Apparently, the Storyteller has reached an enlightenment unlike any other. The Storyteller has surpassed all great thinkers, philosophers, and scientists because of this one insight:

The Storyteller can see the whole elephant.

How would he know that the 3 blind men got it wrong if the Storyteller himself had only the same partial truth? He assumes superiority by claiming to have absolute truth about the elephant.

No respectable thinker or rational philosopher would claim to be able to see the whole elephant. Only the one who can see the whole elephant for what it truly is can be the one to say things like "there are no absolute truths." or that "all religions are valid and have partial truth, but no one true religion exists."

It is blind arrogance to claim these things, yet so many do. Why?

I believe that when we remove God from the position of the Storyteller, we put ourselves there. This is the problem with Humanism. It relies on our very small and untapped brain to rationalize the universe. It is like asking a steam engine to travel across the U.S. in an hour. And what are we but a passing vapor on this earth?

Maybe we should spend more time wrestling with the fact that we probably don't know what the elephant looks like either.

However, if I put Jesus in the position of the Storyteller, then I place my hope in Him that he is telling me the truth. That's what Christianity is all about: Faith in Christ. Faith that he has told us the Truth. He's the only one who can see the whole elephant. We either believe him or not.

This is the meaning of peace: If He is wrong about the elephant, what do I have to lose?


  1. But who states who the storyteller is? The head of any religion could claim him for their own.

    I also have never thought the what do I have to lose approach was a good one for Christians. While I understand fully that persecution on earth is counted as glory, only John son of Zebedee lived (though in exile) to a ripe old age. All of the others met death for the cause of Christ. The fact is, history shows that you may very well lose much to follow Jesus.

    Moreso, I look to a story by Katherine Anne Porter, titled The Jilting Of Granny Weatherall. Its an easy find in print or on the web, and has stuck with me. You see a woman bound for glory on her deathbed, only to vanish into darkness. Its a haunting tale. What she lost was a great deal of her life for something that did not exist. To me this is the fear of anyone who in disbelief calls themselves a believer. They want to believe, but can't or won't.

    Let me state clearly. I believe in the virgin birth, death, burial and resurrection. However I would never chalk these things up to a no lose situation type of gamble, as I believe it is insulting to the very nature of the redemption we receive. Faith is as you stated something to believe, not something to see.

    I would hardly call that the meaning of peace.

  2. You fail to realize the prize in comparison with the race.

    Besides, living by what Christ teaches would be hard to call anything but the ideal life. Hope, love, serving others, treating others better than yourselves, family responsibility, faith in God, living in the grace that we've been given. If I do all of these things to the best of my ability, I will have had a great life, not a perfect one. No one gets that. If I do all of these things and still am wrong about who Jesus was and "vanish into darkness," what loss is that to me? I've lived a great life. But if Jesus is who I believe him to be, then I have gained Heaven. Following Christ is a win-win and more than some fairy tale concocted to make children "act right." I never said that life would be easy and no one should believe so. However, life can still be good.

    God-given free will allows each of us to decide who we think the Storyteller is. But when we claim it is us, that's where the stumble occurs. True knowledge comes from a setting of realization that you have very little knowledge and a humbleness that allows you to admit that you are wrong or might be wrong and then learn from it.

  3. while i agree that might be an ideal life, i don't think treating salvation like a gamble is reverent. You either believe boldly or you are in disbelief. I know you believe Seth, and would never discredit your faith. My point is I think that is a poor definition of peace.

    and as i stated i understand that persecution is counted as glory. You can call that life a good one, just as Job did. My point is if you take the view of what do i have to lose, then i would say everything if you vanish into darkness, as everything you lived for had been a lie.

    I don't believe life is meaningless, and I don't believe anyone simply vanishes to darkness. My thought is simply there are better ways to defend salvation than to say "what loss is it to me?"

    I don't know who you are quoting when you say "act right". Very few times do my worries about the church come from children, but from the people who misguide them.

  4. The idea of "what do I have to lose" comes from Paul and it was good enough for him.

    Phillippians 3:6-8: But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

    I know Paul was in prison, experiencing persecution as you say can be counted glory. I agree. However, he's also talking about the fact that should he lose everything on this earth, for whatever reason, who cares? I have Christ and that's all I need.

    For me, I think it's very clear that I do not think Salvation is a gamble, but a sure bet. However, I write to an audience that believes that there are no absolute truths and that Jesus isn't who he said he was. How am I to reason with a skeptic but from their own arguments and beliefs? Much like Paul did in Ephesus when he claimed that the statue to the unknown god represented God himself and the Greeks simply didn't know it.

    If I die and discover that there is no Heaven and vanish into darkness as some believe, I don't think I will care too much about how I lived my life. I'm gone.

    I do not, however, believe that will be the case. So again, how can I lose by believing in Christ? It's a better life accompanied by meaning with Hope for the afterlife. That's the life with Christ. Everything else pales in comparison.

    There is a peace in knowing you have nothing else to lose. It allows you to make the hard decisions you would have ignored otherwise. There is a peace in knowing that though I lose everything, even my life, I have gained Christ. I believe that's what Paul believed. It's no license for a reckless life, but maybe a reckless belief in Christ.

  5. In my beliefs, Jesus is the greatest storyteller of all times. He used stories or parambles to teach the truths he wanted us to all know. Why? Because we remember the stories. After his resurrection and ascension, his disciples went from fear and denial to boldness in their witness and testimony of all that they had seen, knew and heard. Why the dramatic change from the gospels to the book of Acts, hiding in fear to boldness on every city corner, and willingness to experience persecution for the truth they had experienced? The Holy Spirit had come upon them. The Holy Spirit is promised to us as believers also so that we may continue to give witness of what we know-tell the stories as you would, of what we know to be true in our own lives. Jesus said speaking to Nicodemus in John 3:11, "I tell you the truth, we speak of what we kNOW, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony." We are to keep telling His story and the story he has given us to tell.

    I love this blog.

  6. i love you seth, and hope you know i love that we can argue points, even if we're coming from the same side

  7. hey there! love the blog and the main picture LOL! thanks again from coming to Claytons baptism toda