By Alan Bailey

OOPS! Mistakes can be serious

Piltdown man
Restoration of the head of Piltdown Man. Credit: Wellcome Collection

Of all the things we value, truth and certainty must take a prominent part. Trusting in something dodgy or untrue can have serious consequences.

It's a bit disconcerting to realise that the thing we trust most to deliver truth, that is science, can be wrong. Indeed, history is full of examples of things once believed but now thrown out. Sure, it's all part of the development of knowledge, but alas, lies and half-truths are in the mix and are embraced even by the masses, who are then unwilling to let them go.

Here are some examples. In 1999, experts were warning of disastrous digital consequences of the turn of the millennium. Panic began as the time drew near. Y2K was to cause widespread disaster as computers crashed. We all know now that it was a false alarm.

The flat earth notion lasted a good while and, I believe, still has its adherents despite pictures from space. Then there was the problem, until the late 19th century, that doctors, ignorant of germ-theory were spreading disease by going from patient to patient without hand-washing. They, tragically, would not believe the warnings of men like Louis Pasteur, who possessed the truth of the matter.

Several decades ago, thalidomide was prescribed for expectant mothers to help with morning sickness. Too late, doctors realised it caused very sad deformities in the babies.

A few years ago, scientists were excited to receive a fossil from China which indicated a dinosaur with feathers and bird characteristics. It soon became known as the Piltdown Chicken. However, it was a hoax - as was the Piltdown Man many years before.

Even more serious

Some modern mistakes that are widely believed need attention. Here are a few:

  • That God doesn't exist or it doesn't matter if He does.
  • If God is there, He won't have much against me as I live a decent life.
  • The Bible is a very old book and isn't relevant for today.
  • Science has shown that religion is unscientific.
  • The church has nothing to offer.

It is urgent and important to find solid ground in these matters. If the Christian Gospel is true, a huge amount hangs on it for you. If it is untrue, the sooner that is exposed the better. But 2000 years have been unable to overthrow this message because it is not a human thing, subject to error. It is God's Word to mankind. A word of love, of sacrifice, and of future glory.

Go to the Bible and read for yourself. Have an open mind and ask God to show you the truth. There is certainty and security in this statement: I am the way the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father except by me (Jesus).

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