Truth on the 4th of July?

Beyond barbeques and fireworks, we will be faced again this 4th of July weekend with stories of America’s past and origins. Is it true? What is truth? Here are 5 keys to effectively discern truth, on anything. 

Truthonthe4thofJulySo what is truth? Good question.

Depending on who you hang out with this 4th of July, the great American holiday, questions and opinions will come up about our historical past, origins, truths and non-truths.

In fact, we are all the time confronted with truths and non-truths. Some of it is misinformation (incorrect or misleading), and some  is disinformation (intentionally deceptive). 

Either way, wisdom and discernment can cut through the noise.

The fundamental question that should be asked is actually a variation of the one that Pilate asked Jesus under trial: “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

In truth, we should always be wondering and asking “What is the truth?” “Who do I believe?” “Who is correct?” “Who is being honest?” “Who is actually lying to me?” Failure to exercise even a base-level of skepticism and discernment can lead to the pollution of any portion or all that is right, good, honest and true.

5 Keys to Informational Discernment
Here are key questions to ask yourself when confronted with information on any matter of import. I call them the 5 Keys to Informational Discernment.

1. Who’s Telling Me? – In other words, who or what is the source of this information you’re receiving? I’ve learned to accept the fact that any person, regardless of title or stature, may be very, very wrong on many, many things. They may be well-intentioned and sincere, but very incorrect. I’ve learned to be very picky about the source of information. 

2. What is Their Motive? – Behind every source of information is a motive. Even Jesus had a motive. It’s worth thinking through the particular motivation or driver behind the story, report, or information you are hearing, watching, or reading. This is not to say that most inputs derive from dubious motives; but rather to suggest one not accept all things at face value. There’s always an angle or point of view or perspective, or incentive. Understand the “why” behind the message. 

3. What is Their Bias? – Assume there is always a bias or a leaning toward a particular point of view. Regardless which side, the bias informs the point of view which must be filtered by our own biases. Information that is good, right, bad, inaccurate, or wrong can come from either or even both sides of the spectrum. Knowing the informational slant upfront is a key to any wise assessment of information flow or data.

4. What is Their Worldview? – Jesus’ provocative statement to Pilate was misunderstood by the authoritarian leader. His perspective at that time did not understand the full context with whom and what he was dealing. A person’s perspective or worldview reflects their answers to big questions about life: 1) Who or what is God?  2) Who am I in context?  3) What is right and wrong?  4) What happens when I die? and  5) What is truth? To illustrate how one must be careful with assumptions, George Barna’s recent research revealed that only 37% of US pastors have a Biblical worldview.1

5. Am I Informed? – After assessing the source, motive, bias, and worldview of any entity presenting or delivering information, one should conduct their own homework on the matter. To merely believe one’s favorite news source, publication, website, commentary, pastor, or teacher without further research is to potentially fall victim to misinformation or deceit. Deep research on both sides of the spectrum leads to a wiser and more knowledgeable perspective.

4th of July Truth
By the way, in 1776 America was founded on a Declaration of Independence from English rule stating in part that:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

The separation from England led to a bloody war of which John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States, later stated: 

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

Over 150 years later, Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States, sounded this warning to an increasingly secularized nation:

“Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience…. without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure….If we ever forget that we are one Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” 2

Be a wise steward of Truth. Happy 4th of July Weekend! 
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. – 1 Peter 2:16

1 Cultural Research Center, Amerian Worldview Inventory 2022, by Dr. George Barna, Arizona Christian University, May 10, 2022.

2 Ronald Reagan, Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, August 1984.



Categories: Abundant Living, Church, Devotion, Discipleship, Faith, Family, Holidays, Jesus, Marketplace, Purpose

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