On the first DVD of “The Truth Project” small group study, Del Tackett considers the subject of truth, and in plain terms, he defines “truth” as conformity to fact or reality. In that study, Del tells us that we all suffer from common insanity, and since “sanity” is being in touch with reality, “insanity” is losing touch with reality. For example, it’s insanity to believe that lies are real or to believe that reality is a lie.
Furthermore, the purpose of our excursion is to guide us toward sane thinking. So, being focused on that goal, there’s no attempt to ridicule insane thinking, but we’ll use the words “sane” and “insane” to make it plain that this is serious. Though these words are often used as personal attacks or ad hominem fallacies, these words aren’t attacks as we’ll be using them. Rather, we use these particular words for clarity to describe several common human conditions. As we use them, the word “insane” refers to the failure to deal with reality, which is a real and universal human problem.
In our journey, we could have used euphemisms that make poor thinking seem more acceptable. For instance, we could have chosen words like “logical” versus “illogical” or “sound reasoning” versus “unsound reasoning.” And while those words mean the same thing and sound better than “sane” or “insane,” we don’t want to lull ourselves to sleep by pretending that unsound reasoning is OK. We surely don’t want to make insanity sound better than it is since living in insanity is living in illusion, and we don’t benefit from living in illusion. Yet, we do live in illusion in some areas of our lives. For that reason, we’ll be thinking as clearly as possible and calling insanity “insanity.”
People don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
That is to say, we resist certain parts of truth because the truth destroys the strongholds in our minds. God further defines this as loving a lie, loving darkness, and hating light. Yet, we do desire truth, which is why we seek the face of God and seek to be led, taught, and corrected by the Holy Spirit. However, even in this, we have strongholds in our minds that we protect from the light of the Holy Spirit. But rather than seeking truth to demolish those strongholds, we avoid exposing ourselves to truth and instead seek constant assurance that our current beliefs are true.
It’s interesting that Friedrich Nietzsche so resisted the truth that he refused to acknowledge God and is famous for declaring that “God is dead.” Yet, Nietzsche never included himself among the people who don’t want to hear the truth, even though he had no method by which he could ever say for certain that anything was true. In other works, he didn’t have a basis for declaring, “God is dead” or anything else for that matter. Of course, that’s human nature in that each of us tends to apply correction to others, never applying the correction to ourselves. Yet, we each need to diligently seek the mind of the Holy Spirit for constant, incremental leading, teaching, and correction in every area of life, especially in the areas of our own strongholds, theologies, and worldviews. This is the only way we’ll ever have discernment between reality and made-up stuff.
Here’s a one-question sanity test:
Is it sane to make up stuff and insist the made-up stuff is true?
As followers of Christ, we know it isn’t sane to make up stuff and call the made-up stuff true. Although it may be hard to believe, this is the simplicity of the problem: all error is rooted in made-up stuff. And even though this is a simple problem, there are many tricky ways to hide this problem. So that’s why we’ll have a detailed look at these tricks before we’re done, and we’ll expose many of the ways the human mind tries to complicate this simplicity and cause confusion between reality and make-believe.
This simple problem is related to the fact that an axiom is an assumption, is a supposition, is an unproved claim, is made-up stuff. All of these are guises of the axiomatic thinking fallacy, so making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff “truth” is the axiomatic thinking fallacy. Yet the word “axiom” almost sounds real, and that’s deceptive because axioms aren’t real. Rather, axioms are concepts that people make up and call true when they aren’t true and ideas that persuaders call real when they aren’t real.
And since ungodly thinking is based on axioms, ungodly thinkers make up stuff and call the made-up stuff true as a normal part of life. It’s important to realize that those ungodly thinkers usually wouldn’t state it that way but would instead find a way to make insane thinking seem sane. And that’s why different synonyms are often used for “made-up stuff,” and these synonyms sound reasonable, certainly better than “made-up stuff,” but they aren’t any better. Here are some words that mean “made-up stuff.”
Now, don’t those sound much better than saying “made-up stuff?” They sound better, but all of them mean the same thing as made-up stuff. Compounding the problem is the fact that words like “presupposition,” “axiom,” and “theory” are often taught as necessary and rational for all thinking. We may have been taught some of the following falsehoods:
All logic begins with presuppositions.
The axioms of science are obvious.
A theory isn’t a concept but a proven fact.
All these statements are bare claims; in other words, they aren’t based on proof. Yet, statements similar to these are made so often that many educated people take them as absolutely true. At the same time, the meanings of these words indicate that they can’t be used as a basis for thinking, since they can’t provide a true premise. To make matters worse, thoughts may be confused as they are in the following claim:
All logic begins with presuppositions. For instance, we may presuppose that God is able to reveal reality to us.
A statement like that is really confusing, since it mixes revelation with supposition. So to sort through this confusion, we must realize that God is able to reveal reality to us. In fact, He reveals the fact that His revelation isn’t the same as our made-up stuff, so presupposition isn’t needed. To clarify, we don’t need to presuppose the fact that God is revealing. Rather, presupposition, or other made-up stuff, is only necessary if we choose to add to what God is saying or to diminish what God is saying. Consider the following statement, and notice the contrast with the previous statement:
Sound logic never begins with presuppositions, since presuppositions are made-up stuff, but sound logic requires a true premise that can’t be derived from made-up stuff. For instance, we constantly experience that God is able to reveal reality to us, so no presuppositions are needed.
In addition, words that actually do mean reality as opposed to concept are used to refer to concept. Yikes! Of course, it gets even more deceptive when persuaders put real-sounding labels on made-up stuff. And while the made-up stuff is no less made-up when it has a new name, it sounds more real. Here are some examples of false labels applied to made-up stuff to make it seem like it’s part of reality:
The words listed above are perfectly capable of being about truth. Yet they’re often applied to made-up stuff, so using any of these words to refer to made-up stuff blurs the distinction between reality and make-believe. And blurring the distinction between reality and make-believe is insanity. For instance, all fallacies blur the distinction between reality and made-up stuff.
The point is that when someone tells us that a certain theory is a scientific fact, the term “scientific fact” doesn’t make us think of made-up stuff, does it? As another illustration, if they say, “I have evidence,” we don’t think they mean, “I have made-up stuff.” And the same is true of “scientific knowledge” and “proof.” When people put labels like these on their made-up stuff, it’s harder to tell that the made-up stuff is made-up stuff.
Beyond misusing words, there are other ways to give the illusion that made-up stuff is real. For instance, people talk about being logical without knowing what logic is. You may have had this experience where your friend says something that’s pure speculation and then your friend says this:
That’s logical, isn’t it?
But it’s not logical. Sound deductive logic has absolute proof. And the proof is called the premise while the thing that’s proved is called the conclusion.
The drawing below illustrates this basic and necessary concept of logic, so we’ll take a short recess to study it. Here we can linger on this drawing for a while and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us since it illustrates a basic truth that will go with us throughout our journey into reason and rational thinking.
That means that the proof must first be proved before it can be used to prove the conclusion. And besides the problem of proving the proof, many mind games can also be played between the proof and the conclusion so the proof seems to prove the conclusion when the proof doesn’t really prove the conclusion. If that sounds confusing, this is a system that’s used almost everywhere to confuse and to deceive, so it’s not easy for us to grasp the meaning of the first two sentences of this paragraph. Yet, it’s important that we fully understand those first sentences.
We can see that people talk about being reasonable without understanding how to be reasonable, and they talk about sanity without being able to tell the difference between reality and make-believe. Sadly, some of these people even teach classes in logic.