B: So in continuing to answer your question from last time, let’s try to determine what things are true. Consider the following mantras, some of them very similar to each other:
- Just do your own thing, or what you want to do.
- There’s no such thing as absolute right or wrong.
- What’s in it for me?
- If you think it’s right, or if it feels good, do it.
Whether any of these are said outright or conveyed through somebody’s attitude, they pervade through society and may even masquerade as common knowledge or unchallengeable truth. Some of these are taken so often for granted that people forget their source.
If we would consider the original source of the beliefs that we have – perhaps if we were to ask ourselves why we do the things we do – we may find that a bunch of them came from some idea that some person had at some time, and that there is very little actual truth in it, if any at all. With any one idea, we can ask the question: is its source of God, or of men? If of God, then we can trust it to be true, and always so, in all situations. But if ultimately of men, it’s dubious at best, because without God, men cannot establish eternal truth.
Some of those creeds I mentioned just now are undoubtedly of men, and we could thus label them “philosophies of men.” One can see this easily enough by simply considering their long-term effects: if everybody wholeheartedly adopted any of these, selfishness would prevail, because all of them are focused on the individual pleasing himself. This would inevitably lead to clashes of interest among people, and as everybody would be looking out for themselves only instead of considering their neighbor’s plight, wars would eventually ensue.
A: So are you saying that all war is wrong?
B: No, there may be exceptions – for example, if a people is simply defending itself, and the lives, liberty, happiness, etc., that God gave to them, how could that action not be “of God?” That certainly seems to me to be different from the case I tried to describe before, that of various belligerents bent on the destruction of others regardless of its effect on the preservation of themselves or others.
Don’t get me wrong – a lot of the ideas you hear from day to day may have some eternal truth to them. Just because they originally came to society from some person, doesn’t mean that person was completely wrong – very possibly, that person may have been at least partially inspired by God. But you’ll notice that I am insinuating that there are varying degrees of truth to them: some are true perhaps even in most cases, if not all; others, however, not so much.
Anyway, in conclusion – men, or the “world,” vs. God – examine any statement by ascertaining its source. Is the statement, which is a possible candidate for truth, something that came from men, or from God? As we saw last time, if from God, it’s eternal truth; if from men, it’s somebody’s “best guess.”
A: Let’s have some examples.
B: Next time.