By John Larkins
There are many responses to the above question, especially today. In any discussion, it is well to get this question out on the table, because from young to old people, there is no consistent answer, and it is well to point out the consequences to the rule under which you are operating. What’s more confusing is that you may operate under more than one rule.
The least reliable rule is that you may think that the truth is whatever you say. You may contend that what you say is true for you, but I may have my own unique truth, regardless of what you think. This is the rejection of absolute truth, which leads to conflict with authority. Of course, the same people who hold that truth is relative, or not absolute, are likely to suffer pain when the actual authority is involved with determining guilt and punishment.
The most important issues have to do with the way God constructed and organized this world. If you believe that there is no life after our death in this world, you can dodge this whole issue. Until you die, that. is. It makes absolutely no difference what you think, as so many millions of dead people showed by their actions that they were convinced in a life after death.
It is nearly impossible to convince anyone they will not transition to a new reality when they die. So, the question becomes, how to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we will experience a resurrected life, particularly if there is a God who will judge us based on what we did with the life He gave us. If we are to be held accountable, what are the criteria on which we are to be judged? And what are the consequences of God’s judgement? One of His commandments is “You shall not bear false witness.”
Despite the high level of unbelief in the world, the consequences are so dire that they merit some consideration. The Bible, singular in its stature and age, is the place to start. Perhaps someday a hitherto undiscovered source of information will be found. The Old Testament is the oldest source of information. It prefigures events and people while serving as a notice of the coming savior and His Church, which He will develop.
The New Testament was compiled of writings by followers of Christ soon after His death and resurrection. Jesus Christ’s Church debated, argued, considered and agonized over existing writings that were circulated among the churches of His Church at that time (about 300 A.D.) that were believed to be either written or taught by the Apostles.
This rather complicated process of compiling culminated in a Catholic monk translating the product given him into Latin, which at that time was the language of educated people. You might ponder a joke that is sometimes made about this language choice by the old saying, “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me!” Of course, all of this occurred a very long time before the printing press was invented and ordinary citizens could read and write. A bible would be the product of monks who illustrated and printed a book worth several thousands of dollars because of the labor invested. Few could afford and benefit from such an expensive piece of work.
Despite the many issues involved, most scholars start with the Bible as a source of truth for issues concerning salvation. Much of the Bible’s narrative is quoted to Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.