Sunday, November 06, 2005

Truth be Told

I used to think that as long as a person was actively pursing truth there was nothing to be worried about. That as long as she was passionate and sincere about finding truth, she would eventually find her way into the arms of Jesus Christ.

I am no longer convinced this is the case. Why? Because the pursuit of truth (regardless of whether or not you want to capitalize the "T") is too abstract. Christians don't worship an abstract idea. We worship a person. Christianity rises and falls on the person of Jesus Christ born, crucified, and raised.

Perhaps as you are reading this post, you are taking the safety off of your scriptural dart gun and asking, "What about John 14:6, Amanda? 'Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the light, no one comes to the Father except through me.'"

Once again we are brought back to a person.

If you search for Jesus, you find truth.
If you search for truth, you don't necessarily find Jesus.

There are enough "truthes" out there that one could pursue true things for multiple lifetimes without ever coming to the cross. The pursuit of truth could lead someone many places.

Jesus can be difficult to find. His way is narrow and foolish. His way is confusing...he tells you to pick up a sword but then you get in trouble for using it. His way is offensive...he tells you to eat his flesh; or to be more true to the Greek, to gnaw on his flesh. Jesus is not the logical conclusion.

And so no. I don't breathe easily when when I hear, "I'm searching for truth." Because all too often the truth can become an idol.

Is it possible for someone to "pursue truth" and become enveloped in the person of Jesus Christ? Yes. Does a pursuit of truth automatically lead to the cross? By no means.

11 comments:

pk said...

Pursuit of Truth = (Possible) Idol
Idolatry = Not good

Amanda, my hunch is that there are many of us who regularly read your blog, myself inculded, who are within a hair's breadth of falling into this trap. I love to learn. I love to grow. I love to experience new and exciting things. I think I have high susceptability to this idolizing of the pursuit of truth.

Thank you for keeping the person of Jesus Christ before us as first and foremost.

Kevin K. Wright said...

A Christology that informs our search for truth? How very Bartian of you. Good thoughts.

Brooke Smith said...

mandy,
this was great to hear. i just had a conversation with some family members and i recall saying that i long to know "Truth." and i think maybe i was referring to Truth as a concept, a standard, an ideal??? instead of the person Jesus Christ. i would love to talk to you about this...it's got me thinking!! oh how i miss my roomie!!!
love ya,
brooke

Tony Myles said...

There's a lot of truth in this...

Micah Dormann said...

Amanda:
I know you don't know me, but I caught onto your blog through Paul Kind and Josh Jackson...I have to say that I agree with a lot of what you have to say. I've come to this point in my life, where I'm finding there are paths of doubt I'm just not going to go down on...Thanks for standing firm for the Faith!!!

Kari said...

If God is on the side of truth (and what other side would he be on?) then how can accepting things that are true be pushing against the grain of God?

How is starting with Jesus and then going for truth any different than starting with any strong stance that one is commited to holding on to and then limping toward truth that only fits in with what I already assume?

I hesitate to hold onto faith just for faiths sake. I don't think that the Creator of the World, Fabric of the Universe, would push us to turn a blind eye to truth that contradicts our current belief system.

If we did this, how would anyone ever change, or adapt, their world view when it is actually wrong?

What do you think???

Love you and love your blog.

eric St.Clair said...

Amanda,
Well said. Truth as we know it as humans is subjective. Christ is not.

Kari said...

How can we possibly say that our understanding of Jesus is not cultural? We see Jesus through our cultural lenses. Our interpretation of his meaning is DIRECTLY related to our culture/world view. Don't we see something very different from what the catholic church saw in 1400 or many others have seen through out history and the world?

One other thought - don't christians cling to Jesus BECAUSE he IS true? You chose to follow him in the first place BECAUSE he was TRUE. If hadn't seemed TRUE, you would not have followed him, just like you do not follow Buddha because (I would assume) you do not believe what he teaches is true?

Our brains start with truth, that truth for Christians has led to Jesus.

Truth can not be set aside once the journey is begun. Truth began the journey in the first place.

Isn't that true???

Amanda said...

Kari:

Actually, your comments just illustrated the point of this post--that it is possible for someone to search for truth and not end up at the foot of the cross. My primary interest in this post was to express that a proclamation of "I'm on a quest for truth," does not always mean an encounter with Christ.

Love ya!

Mandy

Anonymous said...

Amanda,

Provoking as always. I do love the way you think. Truth is a person I do agree (as if my agreement mattered that much). That person is Christ. I do agree there as well.

I think the problem though doesn't reside in a possibly futile search for truth. I think the problem lies in a partial search for truth. Most people who are searching for truth are only searching for the truth they like. I believe if people truly search ruthlessly for truth they will find no greater teacher than Christ and will ultimately not just find the cross, but the empty tomb.

But there is the opposing danger - Christians who only search for truth in religious places. Christ owns the world. God's truth does show up in Buddha (I think Kari agrees) and in Islam and psychology and economic theory. Obviously I have many things I disagree with in each of those categories...but that doesn't make them completely irrelevant. God has the darndest habit of doing things outside of our expected avenues I think.

I keep having friends think they need to abandon Christianity because they find some truth elsewhere. I just rebel against anything that says truth can only be found here or there. Truth elsewhere doesn't make truth here wrong...unless they conflict. Then there is some searching to do because of the self evident law of noncontradiction. That's why I think a ruthless search for truth will lead you to Christ--he disagrees with a lot of things. Unless you just choose to leave him out of your truth search. Then I would say you are avoiding.

I suppose there are plenty of examples...CS Lewis, Lee Strobel come most quickly to mind.

But I do strongly agree with a person centered view of truth. That makes it easy to remain humble. I haven't seen Christ yet. So how can I claim to know truth fully? I am probably wrong ten times in this post. That's why any search for truth needs grace I guess...which fits Christ too,

Dave Ward

Ann said...

Mandy,
I love to read your writing! You really need to publish a book. Every day I encounter individuals struggling to find the truth. They substitute their emptiness with sex, pornography, and drugs. I wish so much they could see that the true answer is Jesus Christ, and that He is the answer.
I hope you are doing well!
Ann Newhouse (Clausen)
jabannie@hotmail.com