Fact or Fiction? Who’s to know?

Often times we are presented with information that we believe is true when it is not, and vice versa.  The feature photograph, for instance.  Do you believe that is a real photograph or not?  It looks real to me.  But could a great white shark really attack a helicopter in the San Francisco Bay?  Thus the process of discernment begins.  What do you think?

Some of us may take it at face value and accept or believe it – as is.  Hey, its convincing – look at it!  Others might totally disregard it because they have more knowledge about sharks and the Bay and realize that while impressive, technology has allowed the photograph to be manipulated.  Others might find it hard to believe but don’t see how it could look this real if it were fake.  Hey, if you have lived long enough you know that stranger things have happened in this world.  Some times we just are not sure.

How about this next picture ?  Real or memorex (another coded way of asking if it is true or not)? This is supposed to be a picture of Abbey and Brittany Hansel. Maybe you don’t see anything unbelievable about this picture.   Just twins with one of them looking over the shoulder of the other.  But if you look closely at the picture you will not see two bodies, only two heads.

Similarly, we question information.  We have to determine if the general information we deal with each day is true or false.   Working with homeless men, I am always having to determine if their story is true or manipulation to get something from me that they want but don’t necessarily need.  Parents have to do the same thing with their children.  We must discern when they are telling the truth and when they might be telling a story.  Same applies in areas of science, politics, and religion.  We all have to discern truth in the midst of lies – every day.

Problems arise when we disregard the facts regarding an issue because our “feelings” suggest otherwise.  Or we just don’t know the facts because we don’t think they exist.  For instance in the first photograph of the shark and helicopter which is a fake.  Some people may not know that technology allows such perfect manipulation of an image thus they believe it based on their lack of knowledge of technology.   The second photograph, which is a picture of two sisters who are conjoined is real  (ABC News).  Some may not believe that is possible when, in fact, it is true and there are lots of cases.

In one way or another, the issue of discernment becomes very important to all of us and we do it every day.  We discern where to invest our money, who to listen to about diet and exercise, who to go to for legal counsel or marriage counseling, what surgeon to use and what religion to believe (among many other issues).  If we are intelligent about these matters, we do our homework, we study.  That is often the only way to figure out how to make the best choice or to find out what is fact or fiction.

Why this is interesting to me is because many people I know disregard the Bible before they have ever read or studied it.  I won’t try to convince anyone what to believe in this blog – but I will challenge those of you that have made a decision about the book our country was founded upon, the Holy Bible, without every studying it yourself.   How can you do that?   Because according to that same Bible – this is the most important book you will ever read.  It’s a guide to life, a safe path for you and your loved ones to follow.  Or will you believe a lie by believing something else, hoping that shark didn’t ever get the man on the latter, even though it never happened.

Your word (the Bible) is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).

Thomas Wheeler