Thursday, February 05, 2009

Truth Project Feedback

Before I get started, I want to put in a plug for fellow blogger Adam, who has been doing some great summations and commentary of The Truth Project by Focus on the Family. You can check out his writings here.

Somehow in Google's calculations, one of my articles on the Truth Project has moved up to the third item on their search list. Not sure how long that will last, but it is causing my blog to get slammed (slammed for my little corner anyway).

About twice a month I will get emails thanking me or condemning me for my articles. The disadvantage to email, as opposed to commenting, is that no one else sees your response. Most thank-yous are short, but the complaints can get lengthy. I don't mind the complaints, but a lot of them repeat stuff that someone has already taken me to task about.

So, I thought I might post a couple of the more coherent complaints (many are just mindless rants), and my responses so future complaints can deal with topics that nobody has touched yet.
_____

(Letter)

I stumbled across your comments as I was searching The Truth Project, which I have seen. I tried to find out more about you and was disappointed to find that your self-description was very limited. I find that in order to make heads or tail of someone's opinions you need to understand his bias.


Everyone is biased by his upbringing, his life's experience and especially his personality. I find that in order to actually be open to truth, you need an understanding of your personal bias (your personal worldview) before you can really be open to truth. I am glad that you are passionate enough about your search for God that you would spend so much time expressing your opinions. You are obviously an intelligent person. Intelligence alone is not enough when searching for truth. I am disappointed in your methods of interpreting scripture.


Your bias is very obvious. Truth by definition is not relative. It is there to grasp and to provide confidence for your faith. I would be interested in knowing enough about you to see why you have arrived at answers that seem graceful and loving but are actually misunderstandings. As an Evangelical Christian myself I think you have totally misunderstood The Truth Project.


(My response)

I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog and to comment. Although you and I may disagree about the Truth Project, I am sure there are many points of Faith that we have in common. I want to use something you said to explain why I feel the way I do.


"Everyone is biased by his upbringing, his life's experience and especially his personality."


I couldn't agree more. These biases and vested interests are something all of us are subject to and can never fully get away from. That is why I cannot agree with your second statement:


"Truth by definition is not relative."


Every word we utter, every word we hear, is filtered through our biases and vested interests. Not even scripture can be purely distilled. Each of us reads a verse and asks, "What does that mean?" That is why we hear certain verses quoted often by some and little by others. We all weigh into it differently.


God is Truth... the rest of us muddle through as best, and hopefully as honestly, as we can.


I may be wrong about the Truth project, however I can state that I used to think in that format. It is not an unknown area for me.


Blessings to you and all those you do life with this Christmas season!

________


(Letter)

Hi. Just have to say are you kidding me about the men in suits having the right answers and the women having the wrong answers? Seriously, you are reaching. Obviously they are interviewing people off the street when they aren't in suits. The men in suits are prepared and ready to answer the questions and anyone can see that. They aren't trying to fool anyone with that. Plus there is a "respectable" engineer that they are interviewing that doesn't have the "right answers".


Sorry, I just get tired of people ALWAYS trying and reaching to find something wrong when these people are trying to do something so right. We are human and aren't going to get it exactly right and God can give individuals the discernment, but really, do you think you are helping anything by picking apart what YOU think is not right. Well, it isn't. This series is amazing and it's an eye-opener. You don't have to agree with every single detail of every single sentence, but you are going to miss a lot of truths if you are just looking constantly for things that could be right or wrong. I didn't even agree with your other points either just so you know.


In the end, we are both believers, and I'm happy that I'll meet you in heaven some day so we can laugh at the way we both fought thru all this stuff to find truth. Thank God for grace. Ha.


(My response)

If the white men in suits being right were the fulcrum of my argument, I would agree with you. However, I was merely pointing out the ironic ending of the whole thing... the cherry on top, as it were.


Do I think I am helping? Perhaps I am not, but I believe I am and here is my reasoning. It is not enough that the TP is "trying to do something right". When their rhetoric is designed to present "the Christian Worldview", they have taken on the right to speak for a myriad of people, both living and not. I believe in this that they have overstepped their bounds. They of course have every right, even a duty, to present their view as they understand it. However, it is inappropriate to state things with as broad a brush as they do.


Secondly, it is necessary that other views be heard. Scripture is very clear that we are not to judge ourselves by ourselves or compare ourselves with ourselves. In many counselors there is wisdom. The fact is there are many Christians entrenched in the TP style of rhetoric and because they surround themselves with like minded people, they are not even aware that there are other ways to consider these points. If they hear ANYTHING to the contrary, the only thought they will let enter in is that the contrary position is wrong - no wrestling, no consideration. I by no means think people ought to avoid the TP, there are a number of people at my church who teach it; but I do hope they will look at it critically. If you google search the TP, there is plenty of praise for it. I think a critique or two should be allowable.


Blessings and peace to you,

___________


Here are my articles on the Truth Project.

9 comments:

Redlefty said...

You know, I'm pretty much in the dark about TP and I think I'd rather keep it that way! :)

Thanks for sharing the emails.

Redlefty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
didymus said...

You do realize Andrew that this will place you even higher in Google's rankings on this subject. Pretty soon you will have something like five of the top ten, and be recognized as a world authority on the theological errors in The Truth Project.

Steve H. said...

I'm kinda with Michael on this one...if you asked me what the Truth Project was, I'd think it was an episode of the X-Files :)

But it's good bro you're becoming famous for being an authority on it...

The Metzes said...

Andrew,

First of all, thanks for mentioning me on your blog. Interesting how the Truth Project has connected the two of us :-) I appreciate your spirit and the way you have approached those who disagree with those you quote in this post - and for their spirit as well. Who ever said we had to all agree about all points?

Admittedly, I had some preconceived notions going into the Truth Project and I am in no way above letting that taint my view of the whole project. As you stated in the correspondence, we're all jaded by our experience, personality, education, etc. My take - your take, on the Truth Project both cannot avoid this.

I have two more episodes of the TP to watch before I plan to post a synopsis, but I intend to reiterate your comments that I don't discourage anyone from watching this series. It brought good discussion to many in my congregation. However, it has been difficult for some to engage the series critically. Many are apt to watch it and amen everything he says. Those whose arguments are rooted in propositional truth statements will always find critical assessment of their positions especially challenging - they've found (propositional) "truth" (statements) their duty shifts from searching for truth to fighting for what they already believe. This is a HUGE problem.

However, before the emails too quickly come my way :-) the position that I (and I think Andrew) are coming from which upholds a more relativistic understanding of truth tends to emphasize the ambiguity and unknowability of truth to the point that we become overly cynical and skeptical. This too is a HUGE problem. We must work hard to overcome these difficulties - and we can only do that when we talk - open and honest dialogue. That is why blogging is so powerful and important.

Thanks for continuing this dialogue, Andrew, and I hope we can maintain these discussions in the future.

Andrew said...

"a more relativistic understanding of truth tends to emphasize the ambiguity and unknowability of truth to the point that we become overly cynical and skeptical. This too is a HUGE problem. We must work hard to overcome these difficulties - and we can only do that when we talk - open and honest dialogue. That is why blogging is so powerful and important."

Amen Bro!

Dean said...

I am simply amazed at how on earth you got to be on the top of Googles searches regarding the truth project but it simply goes to show me how powerful the enemy is and how important things like the truth project really are. Your views are not only wrong they are a terrifying example of why the project exists in the first place. You don't believe the bible is inerrant??? Then why do you believe at all? I can't even comprehend how you call yourself a christian because you want to make truth relative and you can not. your searching for answers inside the box. I am far from super conservative but the fact of the matter is information presented in the truth project is not only accurate but effective. I am very practical in my approach of these subjects and the simple fact of the matter is the wisdom that is shared is not only Godly it works in real life. I pray that some day you will find this incredible truth that God has laid out for you and apply it to your life. In the mean time I would encourage you to choose your counsel much more wisely before you give it to anyone else. Some of what you have to say is wise as much of the church has lost it's love and things of that nature but When it comes to the truth of God and His word I suggest you refrain from comment. You may never realize the eternal consequences you may have.

didymus said...

Andrew,

Looks like you got a real winner there with Dean. Your point of view is "not only wrong", you're a "terrifying example". Comedy! Looks like another guy who has found the one true interpretation has found you lacking again.

"... but When it comes to the truth of God and His word I suggest you refrain from comment." Yup, they always get around to telling those they disagree with to "shut up (it's for your own good)". Love it! Comedy. :^)

Andrew said...

Dean - Are you basically saying that God is going to smite me because I question the perspective that you favor?

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