Just finished up the second book in the ‘Odd Thomas’ series by Dean Koontz, entitled “Forever Odd.” Although I did not enjoy the characterization as much in the second book, the story itself was still great (I could not put it down Saturday night until I had finished). I like the main character and the potential for the series, so I will keep reading about Mr. Odd (several more to check out at the local library!)
One of my favorite things thus far about the books is the philosophical musings of the main character. I have already written about one Odd Thomas quote a couple of weeks ago, and there was another that really caught my attention in the second book:
“When social forces press for the rejection of age-old Truth, then those who reject it will seek meaning in their own truth. These truths will rarely be Truth at all; they will be only collections of personal preferences and prejudices.”
Thomas is commenting on a particularly evil character and how they came to believe what they believe. Yet, I think his statement is applicable in various settings. And as a preacher and believer of the Bible as the Truth, it is not hard to see some parallels with contemporary spirituality. Many describe the Bible as ‘the canon of Scripture.’ They use the word canon in the sense of “measuring rod.” In other words, the Bible is the standard (measuring rod) we used to judge all truth claims. It is, as Odd quipped, Truth with a capital ‘T’ (although I don’t get the sense that he was referring necessarily to Scripture). So then, for many believers for many years, the Bible has been the canon by which all truth is measured.
Yet, what happens when ‘social forces press for the rejection of age-old truth?’ People start looking for meaning in their ‘own truth,’ which is rarely ‘Truth at all.’ Truth (with a captial ‘T’) is rejected on the basis of personal preference. The measuring rod of Truth is replaced with ‘whatever feels right to me.’
We see this happening in the Church today, not that it hasn’t happened before. Our culture, our experiences, our Facebook feeds, begin to press us to reject the age-old Truth of the Bible. Maybe not all at once, but slowly our trust in the truth of its claims begins to fade. Sure it is still a good book, still something we should read and study, still a book that teaches about God, it is just no longer the Truth. So we turn to our own version of the truth, which is usually a mismash of ideas that we have gathered from random places (even some from the Bible). And what decides what is true and what is not? What is our new measuring rod for truth? Our own personal preferences. If something in the Bible ‘feels right’ then it must be true. If not…
I hope you see the danger in such an approach to Truth. Either the Bible is the Word of God, faithful and True for all times, or we are left to our own preferences, which change like the seasons. Paul described such an approach in a warning he gave to Timothy:
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Maybe Odd Thomas was familiar with the writings of the Apostle, maybe not. Either way, he is write about the alternatives that we all face: age-old Truth or personal preferences. Which will be your canon?