When I began writing River of God: Where Religion Began and Why Grace and Love Will Triumph in 2012, I had no idea the world would soon be awash in lies.
Today, the popular name is “Fake News”–but that’s just a cute way of saying that much of what you hear in the mainstream media is fabricated and can’t be trusted.
Those falsehoods are getting more blaring as we near the 2020 presidential cycle.
Here are some lies we face and how we can overcome them.
Overcoming the Lies
Lying is a part of the Fall and all people do it in varying degrees.
It began with the serpent (the Devil) lying to our first parents about God and the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3:1-5). Adam and Eve believed the falsehood, disobeyed, and plunged the entire human race into moral depravity.
We have never recovered. Only God’s Providence and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ have reduced the ocean of lies sweeping the globe.
Jesus reaffirmed the origin of falsehood:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Lying is satanic–and when we tell one, we participate in the darkness.
When I wrote River of God, I sensed some divine help in the structuring of the book. Without prior thought, I began Section One with a chapter on “Lies,” discussed “Religion” as our deep longing for reality, then “Truth” and how we know it, and finished with the “Sources” of knowledge available to us.
In the opening chapter (“Lies”), I shared how my own life was altered by a lie and gave numerous examples of deceit in our world.
On this anniversary of 9-11–when some folks are trying to lie about it again–I want to share five destructive lies (there are many more) being foisted upon us in 2019 and what we need to do about them.
Lie #1 – Fossil fuels harm the planet.
The climate change alarm being spouted by progressive politicians and all 21 Democratic presidential nominees creates fear among children and anxiety among the poorly informed.
Truth be told, the efficient and innovative use of fracking, natural gas, and oil discovery has elevated hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the past twenty years while much of the scientific community has lied to us about the world getting warmer.
It hasn’t for fifteen years.
Some honest scientists are sharing the truth. Gary Randall reports:
“Rex Fleming, a mathematician with a Ph.D. from Michigan, has over 50 years of experience as a scientist in climate research and has published peer-reviewed papers from 1971 to 2018. He now says that censoring evidence, fiddling with data and silencing skeptics were a part of his life at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Fleming is now admitting that while he worked at NOAA, he attributed global warming to carbon dioxide despite having doubts.”
“He says: ‘Eventually I just read enough to realize it’s a totally wrong direction,’ and now disavows the argument that ‘carbon dioxide from emissions is causing so-called catastrophic climate change on a global scale.'”
In fact, he says climate scientists have literally turned the facts upside down—making their troubled theory little more than science fiction. He says, and other silenced scientists agree, that ‘carbon dioxide levels historically have risen due to warm temperatures rather than the other way around. Past climates have been warm and cold and warm and cold with no changes in carbon dioxide. How can that be a cause when there is no correlation?”
Let’s reject the Green New Deal.
Lie #2 -Socialism is a good form of government.
Two of the major presidential candidates (Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) espouse socialism as does Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. They want America to go socialist—quickly.
But socialism always destroys nations (e.g. Cuba and Venezuela) and amounts to a totalitarian power grab that produces death. One hundred million people died at the hands of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao in the 20th century. They were ALL socialists (communism is socialism with a gun).
The devil wants more carnage in the 21st century so he’s peddling the snake-oil of socialism.
Reject it at the ballot box.
Lie #3 – America is a racist nation.
The New York Times’ “1619 Project” is designed re-write American history that America was built on the back of slaves.
Slavery was the world norm for thousands of years–and made its way into the New World as it had in every other place. Most of our founders saw its evil and gave the world a document which stated for the first time (outside the Bible) that “all men are created equal.” Some didn’t practice what they preached due to historical biases.
But 600,000 men died to vanquish it in the Civil War. It took another century to right slavery’s wrongs, but today, the USA is the most racially diverse and free nation on earth. We exist as “One Nation Under God”–not a racist haven.
Beware trusting the New York Times (and similar propaganda organs).
Lie # 4 – Marriage can be anything you want.
No. Both nature and history tell us that marriage is between a man and a woman for expressing love and the procreation of children. All other forms including “Throuples” (three people) –the latest fad–are perversions and hurt both adults and especially children.
The truth couldn’t be clearer: “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24).
We must reject the marriage lie and help rebuild the family unit.
Lie #5 – There are more than two genders.
Only in a depraved mind. Biology, common sense and human history tells us that “God made them male and female” (Genesis 5:2).
Yes, men can share some feminine traits and women masculine ones. That’s just a beautiful part of human variety–meant for the glory of God.
The only “fluidity” in the gender debate is of brain cells (deception). If the gender hoax is being forced upon you at school, you may need to leave it (or stand up for the truth).
Lie #6 – Open borders are compassionate and good.
They aren’t. The goal of this lie is to destroy the United States as a free and sovereign nation which our borders secure. Here’s the applicable analogy. Open borders are no better for our nation than having no windows or doors in our homes (with no police) would be in our neighborhoods.
Lies have always existed in the world due to the devil and fallen human beings. The difference today is size, i.e. more people (7.7 billion) and global technology which magnifies the lying voices.
What must we do about the growing crescendo of falsehood?
First, let’s pray for global revival–that God’s truth would touch billions of lives. Second, be careful not to vote for any politician who espouses the lies. Third, choose your news sources carefully while avoiding the mainstream media. Fourth, commit to a small group or mentoring relationship where God’s truth can be applied in your life. Finally, and most importantly, spend time in personal prayer each day and saturate your life with God’s Word–our perfect compass for living.
The biggest lie of all is that God doesn’t exist (more on that next week).
And no matter how dark the world may seem to be, His truth is marching on.
I mentioned last week that the first leg of the three-legged “Who Can I Trust” stool is the great cloud of witnesses that confirm there is salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
This mirrors our daily experience.
Last year I went to Lowe’s to buy a lawnmower. I asked the sales person which one was their number one seller–and bought it because most people preferred it. Same with the cloud of witnesses. Truth is often found in numbers (confirming something to be true).
But there’s an even greater confirmation than people’s choices.
It’s found in the most incredible book ever written.
Here’s why I trust the Bible.
Two events this week caused me to think about life’s important questions.
First, I had the privilege of leading the memorial service for a good friend. His sudden death at age 62, and a special ten minutes I shared alone with his body at the funeral home prompted some deep soul-searching.
The second situation was learning of another prominent “falling away” of a major Christian songwriter. His reasons for rejecting Christ stunned and saddened me–again.
These two incidents remind us of the most important questions in life that each of us must answer.
One of them might be life’s most crucial question.
Life’s Crucial Question
If you’ve read my latest book, River of God: Where Religion Began and Why Grace and Love Will Triumph, you know it begins with the following hook:
“I’ve tried to write the clearest book on religion that’s ever been attempted. Why? Because the most important question a person will ever ask in life is, ‘Is there a God to whom I must answer?’ If the answer to that question is yes, then the second most important question is: ‘How do I come into right relationship with him?'”
When I wrote those words, I believed they were the two most important questions a person could ever ponder because the answers would determine their eternity.
I still believe it.
Eternity is a long time–to state the obvious. How could anyone treat that subject casually or foolishly?
Not me. Too much is at stake.
Today, I add a third question to the above. It might be even more important than the others. But first, let me unwrap the incidents that prompted my thinking.
I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my friend, Tim Allen, before he died. He was riding home from work on his bike when he detoured toward an Urgent Care facility because something was wrong. He collapsed at the door–died almost instantly–and entered the portal of heaven. (He bled out due to an aortic tear.)
His heart rate at the end was 141 beats a minute. We know this because Tim was a math guy who wore a watch that showed his route, heart rate, and other things. When he fell, the last heart-rate reading showed “142.”
What a way to blast off into eternity.
A week later, a woman escorted me into a room where Tim’s body lay in repose. I stood by it for ten minutes, talking to him, thanking God for his life, praying and singing two stanzas of “Amazing Grace” over his body.
I later learned that his widow, Julie, at exactly that same moment, was singing the same two verses out-load in another place. Only God can create that type of “harmony” during troubled times.
As I gazed at Tim’s body, I half expected him to open his eyes and smile–including his very familiar chuckle. I knew it was possible. Raising the dead is nothing to the Living God. If He had chosen that miracle, He would have had to re-create Tim’s eyes–because Tim donated them upon his death.
That wouldn’t have been a problem for God either.
(Tim also donated 85 pints of blood in his lifetime–helping 261 other people to live. That’s ten gallons of blood–700% of his body total. What a gift.)
As I looked at my friend’s body, many comforting verses came to my mind: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), “To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21) and, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
And, maybe the grandest of all, John 11:25:
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will never die.”
That Scripture is emblazoned on the wall of George Washington’s crypt at Mount Vernon. Our first president believed its truth. It should be stamped on the heart of every follower of Jesus.
The second incident, reported by Gary Randall of Faith & Freedom, shared the tragic story of prominent Hillsong songwriter, Marty Sampson, who recently abandoned his faith.
“Time for some real talk,” the Australian writer wrote in a since-deleted post on Instagram. “I’m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. It’s crazy.”
“This is a soapbox moment so here I go … How many preachers fall? Many,” he continued. “No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it. Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet—they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people. But it’s not for me.”
The “All I Need Is You” writer said he’s “not in” anymore and desires “genuine truth.”
“Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth,” he wrote. “Science keeps piercing the truth of every religion. Lots of things help people change their lives, not just one version of God. Got so much more to say, but for me, I’m keeping it real. Unfollow if you want, I’ve never been about living my life for others.”
Christianity “just seems to me like another religion at this point,” Sampson said.
I almost cried when I read these words. Pondering them, as well as the life and “graduation” of my friend Tim, reminded me what might be life’s most crucial question:
Who do you trust?
That question points the way to answering the first two critical questions (Is there a God? and how do I get right with Him?).
Chapter Three of River of God details the three “Sources” of truth-available to all human beings:
- Voices of People – which are finite and change like the wind.
- Voices of Deception – the devil and his angels and the “lies” they whisper into human hearts.
- The Voice of God – through creation, conscience, and the special revelation of the Bible–a 66 book library, written over 60 generations, by forty plus authors who were inspired by Him.
Years ago, I learned to trust the Bible above all things. As I share in River of God, you can depend on the Bible’s veracity because of its unique continuity, circulation, translation, survival, prophecies, accuracy about history and its influence on the world.
The Bible offers more evidence for “reality” than anything else on earth. It is a time-tested compass that points us to the only Savior–Jesus Christ. He, too, stands head and shoulders about all other religious founders and leaders.
Gautama Buddha once said, “I’m still looking for truth.” Jesus Christ said, “I AM the truth.”
Note in Marty Sampson’s sad comments that he turned away because he had questions (we all do), and now trusts science and his feelings more than Jesus and God’s Word. Notice all the “I’s” of narcissism in his tragic falling-away announcement.
He has chosen to trust himself, his feelings, and other human voices–and it doesn’t “bother him” (facing God in eternity?) That’s sad and extremely dangerous.
I also have many questions. So did Job–whose book I’m reading presently.
But I learned from the Bible that my ultimate source of trust must always be in the character of God–His love, grace, justice, holiness, and perfection. He will give every person what they truly deserve–don’t worry about fairness. He also provided a way of salvation for sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A wise human being, like my friend Tim, hangs onto God’s character and His Book. The rest is shifting sand.
That’s not blind faith–it’s wise trust–to aid you in answering life’s most crucial questions.