The world baffles me.

Maybe it’s just Hollywood’s portrayal of the world, but I hear it in conversations with real people, too. Could be a chicken and egg thing.

I watched a PBS Masterpiece Mystery last week about a Roman cop known for his absolute integrity in an otherwise corrupt police force. This same cop then deliberately lined up all the necessary ingredients during the course of the show to have an affair with a married woman. Not as part of a sting operation. Because he was OK with having an affair with a married woman.

Does that set off alarm bells for anyone else? Am I to accept integrity applies to only one area in a person’s life?

I watched Joss Whedon’s Firefly this weekend. I love the show as much as your average nerd and quote it with the geekiest of them, despite the seriously flawed worldview presented. I mean, at one point the preacher actually says, “The Bible isn’t supposed to make sense.”

What? Of course it is. If the Bible doesn’t make sense, why on earth would a rational person read it, let alone believe it? The preacher in the show is otherwise presented as a pretty smart guy. Are we to accept that in this one area he’s a complete moron?

The worldview being presented in these shows is called “postmodernism.” One of its tenets is that it’s possible to hold multiple contradictory beliefs at the same time because ultimately nothing matters or makes sense anyway.

It’s the same view that says it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you believe in something. Where I come from, they call that “idolatry.”

If I hear one more person tell me “It’s true for you but not for me,” I might start throwing things. Some things are just true. It doesn’t matter whether you believe or not.

We accept this in the physical world. Most people would agree that by and large gravity will hurt you if you test it by stepping off a 20 story ledge without a parachute. Why, then, do we accept this notion that rules and consequences stop at the physical realm? That logic doesn’t have to apply to belief?

Consequences exist for non-physical behavior, too. You may not see them as quickly, but you will reap what you sow. Lie, cheat and steal and you will reap disaster. Live outside your means and you will reap destitution. Plan to do evil and evil will come back on you. It’s not karma. It’s consistency. God made the world to be consistent.

It’s people who don’t make sense, not the Bible. And the Bible tells us why. I believe in the God of the Bible because it makes sense to do so. Not just for me. For everybody.

All religions are not the same. Allah is not Jehovah by a different name. Buddha and Jesus are not brothers. Either something exists after we die or nothing does. This is logic. This is truth.

Some might say there is no such thing as truth. “Is that true?” I ask them.

I suppose this a cautionary tale, brothers and sisters. There is no such thing as mindless entertainment. Everybody has a message to share, and if it isn’t God’s, it’s Satan’s.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

20 comments on “Baffled

  1. My Dearest Turtle,

    What you say is truth. The thing that I think people are trying to relate is not so much that all religions are the same but that if you are seeking the truth, it will eventually show itself.God tells us to seek and ye shall find him. It’s those who sit and deny that there is a God who have the bigger infraction. The ultimate sin is to deny Him. If a person is seeking, then my job is to present Him in the true light. Anything after that is God’s job. I hear people pray for their loved ones to be converted,and this is all good,but I believe that setting an example is our tool, after that, God is in charge.

    • I do agree that people NEED truth and they desperately seek it anywhere they can find it. The problem arises when we have a hard time accepting some truths, such as Jesus is the only way to heaven. Real truth exists whether we accept it or not. Only the real truth can set us free. Anything less is still a lie, even if it’s a pretty one.

  2. I often hear people say, “God loves me just as I am,” and that is true. But that doesn’t mean He is happy with us doing wrong. Him loving us is not an excuse.
    Great post, Princess Turtle.

  3. There is value is watching these things for what we learn about what motivates and drives other people – asuming you do know the difference between right and wrong. For instance, the Roman cop – I lived in Europe (Portugal) for eleven years. There is a generally unspoken acceptance of men having affairs there. I don’t condone it, but it was something I had to know about the culture.

    I watch a couple of television programs that present the post-modern culture. All of the super hero movies I’ve seen over say, the past five years, are post-modern. I mean, seriously, angsty Spider Man and Batman = serious cognitive dissonance from the culture in which I grew up (think “Leave it to Beaver” and “My Three Sons”).

    Neither the post-modern “truth” nor the sit-com “truth” of the middle decades of the twentieth century are The Truth. In fact, the “truth” about the Roman gods in the first century A.D. wasn’t truth either. But, St. Paul the apostle was conversant with that culture. Because he was aware of what they believed, he was able to use it in a Spirit-driven sermon about the Unknown God.

    So for me, understanding the times and cultures in which we live is important. There are churches and believers who are still preaching and teaching the way it was done in the mid-twentieth century. They are trying to drag sinners by main force to conform to “church” as they understood it back in the day.

    The Gospel never changes, but cultural norms do. We don’t need to become post-modern (indeed, it would be counter-productive if we did), but we do need know the people to whom we are called to witness, and we need to understand their language.

  4. Actually, I’ve got to disagree–respectfully–with mbillie2 over what people are really trying to say. Throw out the word “truth” in the context of spiritual matters over coffee with any group of people not attending your church, and someone is going to ask, “What is truth?” and someone else is going to answer, “You define your own truth.” We had one of those conversations with someone at a company lunch event years ago. A short while later they left that company, and were later caught on camera using credit cards from the company (or trying to use them) to book rooms at a hotel for their personal use. Their “truth” about right and wrong apparently allowed them to steal from the company.

    Long before that, I heard over and over again in the country I grew up: “All roads lead to God/All roads lead to heaven.” As missionaries we respectfully disagreed with this idea. It was the sort of blather that politicians said to encourage peaceful inter-faith relationships and only the most credulous and naive truly believed, but–there do appear to be a lot of naive people in the world!

    I even got a postcard (in high school yet) from a Muslim man expressing his ardent admiration that included this exact sentiment. I believe he might have been the same one who worked in a local post office, who was opening and reading all of our correspondence! (rolling eyes) His “truth” allowed him to do that, and given the circumstances, we had to live with it. (I didn’t have to keep that postcard or write him back, so I didn’t)

    But that’s a very commonly expressed view, particularly when people of one religion are attracted to people of another; and if all roads lead to God, why not have what they want and intermarry with those who disagree with them fundamentally on a spiritual level? Because it doesn’t matter. “We define our own truth.”

    NOT that I believe it for a second, understand!

    • You’re reminding me of the Apostle Paul spouting “foolishness” to make his point. Love it!

      I agree that all roads can’t lead to God because not only do all roads require different actions and beliefs, they lead to completely different gods at the end!

      Sorry, folks, you have to pick one. I’d encourage you to pick the true one.

  5. I am baffled as well. I agree with what you have written 100%. My fear also is that so few are speaking up…we are accepting what is happening, quietly. I applaud you for speaking up. I saw a quote today that sort of fits in here:

    The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes-a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching a message too low.—Dallas Willard

    I do think we need more spiritual heroes..and today, for me, you did that. Thank you.

  6. Wow! So many different trains of thought! That could mean I didn’t focus myself very well, but I’m going to pretend it means that, as artists, we’ve noticed this postmodern trend and work at dealing with it in our personal ministries.
    Is that the truth? No idea. 🙂

  7. Ah, postmodernism. For this traditionalist stuck in a postmodern world, it is indeed a puzzlement.

    My brain works a bit like C.S Lewis’s (though not nearly as well.) I feel that a logical progression of thought has lead me to see there is no working alternative to the God of the Bible and what he says is true. Do I still have questions, conflict, and uncertainties about what I read in the Bible? Of course. But not because the Bible is gibberish–because I am too small-minded to get my head around what God is saying in the larger context of his plan for the universe. And I’m OK with that.

    I cannot fathom how people find any solace in the idea of formulating their own truth. A world with no baseline at all is a terrifying place indeed. Call me a prophet of doom, but I really believe the deteriorating, totally experiential, believe-what-you’re-comfortable-with mindset of western culture today is setting us up for a cataclysmic collapse.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post today! 🙂

  8. If I doubt God will he grow angry and smite me with the full power of His might? No.
    He will whisper to me, “I understand.”

    When my mother accepted Christ almost 20 years ago, she said this: “If God is not real, then I will know I lived like He did.”

    I believe all things do lead to God because one way or the other, we are all going to see Him.


  9. “…then I will know I lived like He was.”

  10. Well said, Young Wolf. Well said.

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