The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” ― Confucius (from here (goodreads.com))
Insanitybytes22 has an interesting post about the perception of Truth, “Chacun voit midi à sa porte?” (insanitybytes2.wordpress.com). She takes a post by Douglas Wilson, The Truth Outside the Feels (dougwils.com), and she attempts to rip apart the central theme. Am I going to get in the middle? Well, to some extent. Consider this excerpt from Insanitybytes22’s post.
“To stand tall and fast like an oak tree” is actually an old medieval joke, a bit of satire. What is the very first tree to break under the weight of the wind? The mighty oak. He is is brittle, hard, and rigid, and when the wind blows, he simply buckles. A willow will bend and give way under the pressure and if a branch falls off, it will actually begin to grow right where it lands. (from here (insanitybytes2.wordpress.com))
Consider that the Big Oak dates back to about 1680 (en.wikipedia.org). Take a good look at that picture of the Big Oak. Big and old. Then wonder about that quote attributed to Confucius. Wonder about Insanitybytes22’s words.
Reeds and oaks exhibit differing survival strategies. A reed grows quickly and gathers the sunlight for a season. An oak grows slowly and perseveres, struggling constantly upward, raising its leaves towards the light. Both strategies work, but they work in differing environments.
Even though fragile reeds break easily, most survive the wind. Even though oaks are mighty and strong, great winds sometimes topple a few, usually tearing their roots out of soft, wet, soggy earth soaked with rain. Because the wood of an oak is so strong, the trunks of the trees rarely break. More often, the roots of an oak lose their grasp in sandy or softened soil.
Do some trees snap in powerful, twisting winds? Yes. Tall, thin, fast growing trees like Loblolly Pines Trees will twist and snap, but Live Oaks rarely break.
So what is the truth? Do any of us know the Truth? Do any of us know God? The Bible says we don’t.
Isaiah 40:28 New King James Version
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
The Bible does say faith is involved.
Hebrews 11:3 New King James Version
3 By faith we understand that the [a]worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Without some faith that God exists, we cannot begin to understand our world. We cannot appreciate the order we find if we refuse to accept the existence of the One who created the order.
So, what about Wilson’s proposition?
In this highly subjective and emotionally muddy world of ours, the feelings don’t care about the facts. But as Ben Shapiro likes to put it, the facts don’t care about your feelings either. And when you consider the outcome of the inevitable collision between these two non-caring realities, the realization dawns. The facts are rigid, unyielding, hard, granite-like. Not only do they not care, they aren’t going anywhere. The feels are oily, fog-like, wispy, but they are going somewhere — the way of the whistling wind. (from here (dougwils.com))
Facts are not the Truth. Facts are data. Facts exist, but by themselves don’t explain anything. We can infer “truth” from the facts that are not true. To understand how facts relate to each other, we must propose hypotheses and test those hypotheses. Sometimes we don’t know how to do that, but faith in God gives us the courage to try.
Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second. — John Lennox (johnlennox.org) (from here (inspiringquotes.us))
Neither Insanitybytes22 nor Wilson prefer the second.
Like what John Lennox said, it’s a bit absurd to believe that you can separate your feelings from facts. We will always prefer the facts that fit our narrative and ignore those who don’t. That’s why we should get out of our echo chambers and see why people disagree with our “facts.” We may actually end up actually hearing something true that we never heard before.
I know this is how following Jesus works. He doesn’t free us with truth we already agree with, but with the truth that exposes lies we believe that still hold us captive.
Ha! Thanks for the mention, Tom. I though this was pretty cool, “Without some faith that God exists, we cannot begin to understand our world. We cannot appreciate the order we find if we refuse to accept the existence of the One who created the order.” I bet even Wilson and i would agree on that one..
I expect you and Wilson agree more than not. My guess is that Wilson projects a tough guy persona that you find obnoxious.
Excellent perspective and post.Brought to my mind another verse which we should consider when we consider about the truth behind any speakers message.
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Regards and goodwill blogging.
Reblogged this on Boudica BPI Weblog.
I embrace the mystery of The Word having taken up residence in my heart by faith, love and Grace which is in no way explainable by the limited faculties of my simple mind