Tips for life

by Alan Bailey

Whose opinion is right?

punch cartoon
Punch cartoon, 1915

It’s amazing how many opinions and words of advice are being aimed toward us today. Television brings a constant stream of sure-fire diets, get-rich-quick schemes, cures for everything under the sun and expertise on almost any topic. The Internet has more.

You and I are the audience and we don’t know what to think most of the time. I mean, who can you trust? Who is right about a thousand and one topics? We don’t care much until it affects us. If you have arthritis or cancer, you will want to know there is a way over it. If you want to invest, you will want sound advice. The trouble is that so many lauded schemes simply fail. You don’t have to go far to hear of diets that don’t work, cures that are no cures, grand schemes that are nothing more than a rip-off.

It gets serious

How sad that a cancer patient can raise tens of thousands of dollars to go to an overseas destination where he or she is promised healing and no good whatever comes of it. How sad that millions of people right now live with superstitious ideas that are valueless and dangerous. But it has become a sad thing in our day that we can’t even talk about such beliefs because it is politically incorrect to do so. We champion pluralism and make tolerance the highest virtue. The test is not ‘is it true or false’ but whether you can live happily with all the contradictions that abound and say nothing about them.

We forget history

Most people used to think the earth was flat. In China, the feet of baby girls were bound up and not allowed to grow normally. It was the ‘done thing’. As late as the 19th century, doctors saw no reason to wash their hands as they went from patient to patient, thus spreading disease. Outworn, outmoded forms of pagan superstition which date back many centuries have resurfaced in the western world claiming many devotees.

Yet we maintain that because everyone has a right to their particular belief, no one should dare suggest that they may be wrong.

Sincerity is not enough

It is futile to say that as long as person is sincere, nothing else matters. How easy it is to be sincerely wrong. An old proverb says, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way of death’ (Proverbs 16:25). All religions are not the same. Contradictions abound. The test of truth or falsity must be applied.

Listening to authority

We read ‘The crowd was amazed at the way he taught’. He wasn’t like the teachers of the law, instead, he taught with authority. They saw that he was different — radically different. Jesus Christ showed himself to be more than a mere man. He was God in flesh. So, when He said ‘I am the way….no one comes to the Father but through me’ we had better take notice.

The Christian faith can take any examination and investigation. By its nature, it wants truth and shuns falsity. The tides of human opinion ebb and flow, but there is something lasting, changeless and trustworthy about the Bible and its central message — Jesus is Saviour and Lord.

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