I recently read this statement and it got me thinking. The statement sounds clever and could even be called “cute and witty” from the mindset that time and things do change. But the truth of the matter is the statement is not simply a clever statement about changing times. Its roots go much deeper. Its foundation is Fallibilism . . .
Fallibilism comes from the medieval Latin fallibilis – which means “liable to err.” It is a philosophical principle that humans could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of their world. It argues that one must remain open to new “evidence” that would disprove some previously held position or belief; recognizing that any claim justified today may need to be revised or withdrawn in light of new evidence, new arguments, and new experiences.
It might surprise you that I agree with this . . . but not completely. Let me explain.
In medical science’s advancement, the key to success is to celebrate failure . . . because each failure puts society closer to discovering a cure for cancer, heart disease, and other dreaded illnesses. Hanging on to former practices and beliefs would block advancements and result in death. The great success that has taken place in medical science over the past 50 years is the result of learning to fail without embarrassment.
I agree with it in other areas too, such as exploration of space. Can you imagine that people once believed the world was flat and there was a danger that one could find the edge and ultimately fall off? As space exploration has developed, minds, beliefs, and processes have been changed and the word has enjoyed some amazing advancements.
I could identify a number of other areas where I also agree. I do know that it can be a good thing to keep an open mind and be willing to accept new information. But I also know that receiving new information must be done in a mature and responsible manner . . . because it is also true that there will always be those who seek to fill an open mind with garbage.
I believe it is important that one seek to understand, “What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of my own personal knowledge?” That ought to include an examination of its source(s), its structure, and its limits. Why is that important? Simply stated – – so that one has justified beliefs.
In fact, I believe this process is a critical part of human development and must occur in order for one to advance in life. Parents send their children off to college to prepare for life. In that process, the kid finds himself exposed to a great deal of stuff that is new and foreign. Some of it is good; some of it is not. That student must go through a process to discover what he really believes. Up to that point in his life, he has likely just accepted what his parents believed. Now, he must decide for himself. Will he just hang on to what he learned from his parents and reject other things to which he is being exposed? At some point, he must decide for himself. If he does not . . . he will never have justified beliefs; they will never really be his beliefs. This is a process of filtering and I believe it is critical. It is necessary for a person to move forward with being who he was created to be, and not simply live in the shadows of another person’s life.
The area where I strongly disagree with Fallibilism is in the area of morality. Moral Fallibilism holds that objectively true moral standards may exist, but that they cannot be reliable or conclusively determined by humans.
While it is true that humans cannot conclusively determine true moral standards, it is also true that those standards have been revealed to humans and can be accepted and adhered to because they are given by the Author of life Himself. Those moral standards have been revealed in the Holy Bible . . . revealed by the One who created Heaven and earth and all that dwells therein.
I can hear the cry . . . “the accuracy and truth of the Bible is simply an opinion.” That argument has been put forth through history and continues to be by foolish people. The truth is that the Bible is perfect in every way. It is a light for our feet in a world of darkness; its purpose is to enable us to find and connect with God, and to walk with Him. Let me show you some really cool stuff about the Bible:
- It was ignorance of the Bible that ever caused man to first believe the earth was flat. The Bible said in Isaiah 40:22, “It is He that sits above the circle of the earth and the inhabitants thereof . . . );
- It explains the way the world came into being (Genesis 1:1);
- It explains the origin of man (Genesis 1:26);
- It explains the consequences of man’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3). In fact, the Old Testament records much concerning the consequences felt by humans for failing to understand and adhere to the truth that moral standards had been revealed;
- It provides God’s moral standards for humans and declares Him as the author (Exodus 31:18);
- It declares that there is peace for those who will turn their attention to Him (Isaiah 26:3);
- It assures access to God (Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 7:19);
- It offers assurance (Colossians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:2);
- It explains atonement (Romans 3:24; Romans 3:24);
- It explains that God loves humans and through His grace and mercy has made a way available to us (John 3: 16); and
- It declares that one day there will be an accounting required for each person and will include Judgment (I Thessalonians 4: 16).
Moral Fallibilism holds that objectively true moral standards may exist, but that they cannot be reliable or conclusively determined by humans. God declares that those moral standards have been revealed and can be known, applied, and relied upon.
We must each decide. The truth is that those interested in social engineering are the ones who claim Moral Fallibilism as gospel . . . The One who loves you, declares His standards and reveals them, the One who wants to redeem you is the author of the true Gospel – the Good News! It is the Bible . . .
The Apostle Paul said it well in 2 Timothy 1: 12, “. . . for I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Those are the words from a really smart man . . . a man who knew that there is, indeed, something “Certain.” They were not simply words for him . . . they were a conviction for which he was willing to give his life . . . and he did in every sense of the word.
I love the cool photo of the moon . . . The One who hung that moon up and keeps it there is the very One who reveals His standards for us . . .