Cynthia: This is Cynthia with Heart of the Matter Radio, for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom.
Have you ever had those moments when a thought crosses your mind, is God really there? Can the Bible be true? I mean, how many years was it written over and how many authors? It’s okay to check your anger, because we need to be able to answer those questions others are asking.
Today we live in a world in which truth is a moving target. Don’t be afraid of asking the hard questions. Christianity is strong. It can handle your questions. I love 2 Peter where it says for we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Now, this is Peter, and what he is saying is I saw it. I saw the transfiguration on the mountain. I’m not telling you a fib, I saw it. We have incredible evidence for the truth that we believe. And so you can defend your faith. There are answers.
And I have with me today Pamela Christian and she has written Examine Your Faith: Finding Truth In A World of Lies. Welcome, Pamela.
Pamela: Thank you, Cynthia, for having me. I’m so glad to be with you today.
Cynthia: Pamela, you are called the faith doctor. What do you mean by that?
Pamela: Actually, it’s a term that was given to me, an affectionate term. I’ve been in ministry for over twenty years and I’ve been helping people in matters of faith. There’s been so much taught incorrectly about faith through the recent years that it was just very important to me that people have a better understanding of what faith truly is. And so I got dubbed the faith doctor. But you can call me Pam.
Cynthia: Okay, I’ll call you Pam. I noticed that you ask people, in the beginning of this book, if they want to believe a lie. Why do you do that?
Pamela: Well, that’s one of the questions I actually stumbled upon, Cynthia, as I’m speaking to audiences. I asked the question one time, who in this room wants to live your life on the basis of a lie. I knew that no one would raise their hand, but then as I really thought about it, that’s a very profound question.
And the fact that no one ever raises their hand is also very profound. Because it means that universally human beings prefer truth over lies or deception. That’s very revealing.
Cynthia: It is very revealing. Yet, in this society, if you ask someone to justify the reasons they believe something they could decide you don’t like them.
Pamela: Well, people try to claim that truth is relative. What’s true for you is your truth, what’s true for me is my truth, and we could all just get along with whatever truth we have chosen for ourselves. That’s part of what we are hearing called tolerance.
But if you really put it to a test it doesn’t hold up. Because a person who believes that the truth is relative would also say this, “there’s no such thing as absolute truth.” Well, Cynthia, that is an absolute statement. That statement itself relies on a law of absolutes. You can’t have it both ways.
It’s an age old question, what is truth. Truth is very easily defined with just three tests. If you’d like me to share them with you I can.
Cynthia: I would love you to.
Pamela: Okay. For us to be confident that something is true it has to have three elements that line up all at the same time.
First, the truth is universal. What’s true here in America is true anywhere else in the world. Truth must always line up with reality. And the third test is that only one thing can be true, all opposing matters are false.
When we’ve uncovered those three tests, on any given subject, we can be confident that the matter is true. And then we can place our faith in it with intelligence, not checking our brains out at the door like so many people think. But we can place our faith in something with confidence when we know it’s true.
Cynthia: Okay. Now, I wrote those down. You said that it is universal, it lines up with reality, and it’s true for everyone, everywhere. Was that the three?
Pamela: The universal would be true for everyone, everywhere. It lines up with reality, and only one thing can be true, all opposing matters are false.
Cynthia: Okay. Only one can be true, and that means all the others are false.
Cynthia: Okay. If you have a table in front of you and that table is made of wood, then everyone would have to agree that it’s wood. That it’s not made out of stone, or it’s not made out of grass, or that it’s actually even there. Is that kind of what you’re going for?
Pamela: Precisely. This is why I wrote my book. I’m very very concerned that so many people are deceived. And of course the very nature of deception means that the individual is unaware. The victim is unaware that he or she is deceived. It’s the deception about what is truth, about what is safe, about God, about heaven, about religion, about our eternal life, it’s these deceptions that have concerned me greatly and caused me to go ahead and write this book and to be very urgent about trying to have people understand that this book is available and it can really help so many people.
I’ve had people who are Christian believers already who read this book, who have said that they have been able to get a depth of understanding of their own Christian faith that gives them even greater conviction and ability to share their faith with other people.
Cynthia: And this is important, because as we were talking about the table in my house, if it’s nighttime and you can’t see and you don’t know the table is there, or don’t even believe it’s there, you could actually fall over it and injure yourself. So it’s important that you know that it is a table and that it is there, and that it is dangerous. So what you don’t know, what you don’t believe in, can hurt you.
Pamela: Exactly. Absolutely. Again, that’s the nature of deception. A person who is deceived does not know that he or she is deceived unless they intentionally examine what they believe and why they believe it.
Again, getting back to the question, who in this room wants to live your life on the basis of a lie, no one ever raises their hand to that question. But I assert that unless we intentionally examine what we believe and why we believe it, we could very easily be deceived and not know it.
Cynthia: Right. And because you’re deceived you actually can hurt yourself because you don’t believe what’s actually there and you violate some law of the universe that you didn’t even know ex
Cynthia: You have down here that people are actually now creating their own faith, that they’re taking a bit of this and a bit of that and sort of combining it any way they want to. What does that mean?
Pamela: Well, again, I think that’s extremely dangerous. It was actually a report that was published by ABC News regarding research that was done by Pew Research Center. The title was “Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths.” It grabbed my attention, the title grabbed my attention, and what I learned from that is not that people are tolerant of people’s right to believe however they are inspired. Rather, it’s people taking tenets from Judaism, for example, and some tenets from Christianity and some tenets from Hinduism, and they’re mixing and matching different tenets of different faiths. And this is exceedingly dangerous.
Cynthia: It is, it’s very dangerous. Because they need to know what truth is. How do you go about helping people to discern what’s true and what’s not true?
Pamela: Well, the first thing I’ve done, even in preparing to write my book, was just to go online to the most popular dictionaries that are available online and looked up the definition of the word truth and the definition of the word faith. And both of those words, according to these very popular dictionaries that came up at the top of the search engines, both of these words are incorrectly defined.
If our pop culture doesn’t even understand what truth is, or what faith is, we need to start there. So I do with my book. I start with the understanding what truth is and what faith is. A lot of people think that faith is blind. What that really is is a hopeful or a wishful kind of thinking.
No. True faith is based on enough objective, verifiable evidence to allow a person to believe for what is yet to be proven. So true faith is based on truth. It is not blind faith, it is not wishful thinking. There is enough objective, verifiable evidence to allow a person to intelligently believe, though has yet to be proven.
Cynthia: So it is not, then, a leap in the dark.
Pamela: No. It is absolutely not.
Cynthia: What would you say the difference, then, in what real faith is and this idea of faith that’s out there in society?
Pamela: Well, wishful thinking is what society believes is faith, I hope XYZ. Honestly, Cynthia, if wishful thinking actually allowed a matter to be true, to become a reality, I would have no cellulite and I would not be overweight.
It’s not just claiming a matter to be so that makes it so. It has to line up with truth. This is, again, why I want people to understand that truth can be identified with those three tests that we just explored.
Cynthia: My husband explains it that we are seventy-five to eighty percent sure based on what we have learned that we know Christianity is true based on these things. And we don’t get all the way to maybe a hundred percent sure, but we get to eighty-five, ninety even. And then faith takes us the rest of the way. Because we can’t prove it completely, but we’re really sure and that extra little piece is what he calls faith.
Pamela: That’s exactly it. That’s a very good way to explain it.
Cynthia: Yes. So it doesn’t mean you don’t know at all. That’d be like going to the medicine cabinet and saying I’m going to go try something for my headache, and you might get something that would poison you. You need to make sure that what you’re grabbing is going to work.
Cynthia: For these people who are creating their own faith by melding different faiths together, do you have a special approach for them to help them get past that so that they will listen to you? I’ve heard people say that’s your reality, this is mine. So how can you get them past that so that they don’t just close up and not listen?
Pamela: Well, again, I think that question that I’ve stumbled upon, do you want to live your life on the basis of a lie, and of course they’ll answer no. And when they realize that you are trying to help them live their life on the basis of truth, well you’ve established relationship. You’ve established respect. Because I don’t want to mislead anybody, and they don’t want to be misled, so let’s explore this together. Let’s examine what you believe and why you believe it.
If it sounds great, there’s no changes that you needed to make. But if you find that there’s some falsehoods within what you believe wouldn’t you want to correct them? Wouldn’t you want to make sure that what you believe lines up with truth?
You know, Cynthia, most people in the world believe that we are eternal beings. That we have a spirit and soul that lives on forever. Even the eastern religions believe in reincarnation, so there’s an afterlife with the eastern mentality, the eastern way of believing, as well. Most people believe that what we understand and how we live today, what we believe, how we have faith in and how we live today, has a very direct determination on our life hereafter.
That makes understanding what we believe and why we believe it eternally important.
Cynthia: It does. There were some eastern monks that came to my daughter’s school and they made a huge sand sculpture, and part of the routine of that was that they made the sand sculpture, let people look at it for a few days, and then at a certain point they swept it all away. Because in their mindset of their eastern religion, everything we do disappears and it’s gone and it’s nothing.
We don’t want to live that way. We want to live in a way, because we want our works to matter, our choices to matter, and in Christianity it does. And the things that we do impact other people as well as eternity. And that’s important to us.
Pamela: Every human being is born, as we’ve already proven, with the preference for truth. To find truth. And in this world, today, finding truth may be more difficult than it was in the past. But it’s not impossible. And I will also share that it takes courage for a person to truly set out on a journey to discover truth. Because most of what we believe are things that we’ve been taught by our parents, or other significant people in our lives.
And so just the idea of examining what we believe and why we believe it can make us feel like there’s a sense of betrayal. So it takes a great deal of courage. But again, as I write in my book, to not explore what you believe and why you believe it is far more dangerous than to live in a state of ignorance and not have your questions answered.
Cynthia: Your book lists some very basic questions that people should ask about their faith. Can you please share some of those with
Pamela: Yeah. And you know, most people have these questions, but a lot of people are willing to live with them unanswered. And so I’m hoping to, in a loving way, agitate people enough to go ahead and take the courage, do the tough stuff, do what it takes to make sure that you’re living your life on the basis of truth.
But most people would have these questions. Which religious faith seems to best answer man’s common and most probing question? That’s one basic question, and in order to answer that I feel it’s important that we look at at least the five major world religions and New Age. So what I’ve done in my book is to devote a topic, a chapter, to each of those five major world religions and New Age. So that people can understand what the basic tenets are of each respective faith or belief systems.
Then a person can conclude for him- or herself is it possible, is it even possible, to blend all these faiths? Do all roads lead to God and the same heaven? Is it possible? And I would say that any person who’s really thinking, using rational common sense, would see that there is no way you can blend all of the major world religions and have them lead to the same God and the same heaven without some serious compromise.
Which faith is the one that seems to best answer man’s most common and probing questions? Which religious faith makes the most sense to believe? And I don’t mean just intellectual sense, but spiritual sense. Which religious faith best promotes love and compassion for humanity? Which religious faith genuinely appeals to my personal spirit? Which religious faith has the most objective, verifiable evidence allowing me to believe for what is yet to be proven?
These are very good questions that everybody should take the time to answer.
Cynthia: I really like both John Locke and C.S. Lewis, because I like the way that they describe that if you look at Christianity it explains man as we know him.
In Scripture, people have all of their warts and sins in there, and it explains why they’re what they are. It was so helpful to me to understand that. And I like what C.S. Lewis said when he talked about the difference in myth and reality, and how a myth is you have walking trees and you have animals talking, for the most part. It’s not in Scripture because people are the way they are. When there’s a miracle happen people have an appropriate response.
Those things really helped me to really get a grasp of the difference between the two.
Pamela: A lot of people are unwittingly, highly intelligent, highly educated people, are unwittingly believing myths. They are believing lies. And unless they take the courage and the time and the effort to intentionally examine what they believe and why they believe it, their eternal life is at stake.
Cynthia: It is, it really is. I think sometimes you said it’s very hard, because those beliefs are very precious to them. They’re theirs and they want to hang onto it because it’s comfortable. So it’s stepping outside of what’s comfortable to actually look at it objectively and question. It’s very hard.
Pamela: Yes. And again, since most of what we’ve been taught comes from our parents or other significant people in our life, it does take courage. Because it otherwise feels like we are betraying them to even question what they taught us.
Cynthia: Exactly. And because it could even interfere with relationships if you were in a different religion and your parents taught you something. You may discover that they don’t like it if you’re questioning, they don’t like it if you’re going a different direction. What would you say to someone who was doing that? Who was experiencing that trauma?
Pamela: That’s a very tough place to be. In fact, I have five individuals in my book that have provided their testimony, individuals who were raised in either Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, New Age, and they have shared their testimony of how they began to realize that what they believed was faulty and how they went on their own personal quest for truth.
In some cases, yes, they have experienced estrangement from their family. However, again, since no one wants to live their life on the basis of a lie, once a person has discovered truth the best thing we can do is lovingly continue as best we can to reach out to others and help them discover the same truth we have been fortunate to find.
Cynthia: Exactly. And you remember C.S. Lewis. No one convinced him of Christianity. He was an atheist and he came to it just be reasoning, and he came to the point that he said I knew that there was a God out there but I didn’t even want a God. It was like the mouse looking for the cat. I didn’t want it, but I reasoned myself to that even though I didn’t want it.
So you can find truth. Christianity is very strong and it can stand up to our questions.
Pamela: Yeah. A lot like C.S. Lewis, Francis Collins, who is one of the world’s leading geneticists, he discovered truth the same way, reluctantly. And I quote him in my book as well, his journey of reluctantly discovering truth and having to accept it because, again, it is reality. Truth lines up with reality, it’s universal, and only one thing can be true. All opposing matters are false.
Cynthia: Exactly. And it’s very important. Pamela, where can we find you so that we can look for your book?
Pamela: My book is available at almost all of your major retailers. Amazon, Barnes and Noble. It’s also available at my website which I really would prefer people to go to because I’ve got lots of other things I offer there. It’s www.pamelachristianministries.com
Cynthia: Well, Pamela, I appreciate your time and hopefully people will go out there and search and find you and get some answers, so that we can help other people. And even help ourselves when we have those questions too.
Pamela: Yes. In fact, one of my readers, who is a Christian and wanted to give this book to seekers, actually tore out the pages, the endorsement pages, from the front of the book to make this book as inductive as possible. I love that idea, because truly this book is written with seekers and skeptics in mind, but the Christians who have read it have gotten so much out of it as well. So I’m just really delighted and thank you very very much for helping me let people know about it.
Cynthia: Thank you for your time.