The World Tomorrow -- Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong -- June 03, 1979 -- How to Search for Truth
THE WORLD TOMORROW
Herbert W. Armstrong brings you the Plain Truth about today's world news and the prophecies of The World Tomorrow
How to Search for Truth
...most. It will rock this world in wonder and amazement. It's going to result, finally, in world peace, and a new and a happy world tomorrow.
But this very next world shaking event will not be peace, for men will bring this upon themselves and men know not the way of peace. The very Creator God Almighty must step in and supernaturally intervene before we can have peace. It's all prophesied and the very Word of God -- the Holy Bible.
But we might as well begin to realize, my friends, that we cannot come to understand this exciting precious and valuable new knowledge from the sure prophecies of God unless we can first rid our minds of prejudice and be willing to unlearn some erroneous ideas that are held in every mind.
Why do we have dozens and scores of human ideas and interpretations of this mystic Book of Revelation or of the whole Bible for that matter? Why do so many people believe so many different things? And each believes that he is right and everybody else is wrong if they disagree. Of course there's only right belief and most people certainly have never found it.
And so listen. Did you ever stop to ask yourself why you believe the things that you believe or how you came to believe them? Just stop and think. You have, of course, your own opinions, positive convictions, definite beliefs just like everybody else. But does everybody that you meet agree with you on every point of belief? Of course not. Millions of people firmly believe things that are not true at all.
An American radio program became very popular under the name "Don't You Believe It." The speaker mentioned numerous things or ideas that are almost universally believed and a vast radio audience had a good laugh when he showed the fallacy of what people believed.
Many people have such positive convictions about certain things that they are ready to fight when somebody disagrees. We even have wars that way. And in time of war most of the people in any nation believe that their nation is in the right.
There are millions who believe that if they break a mirror it will bring them seven years of bad luck or that it's bad luck if a black cat crosses their path or the finding a four leaf clover will bring good fortune or that carrying a rabbit's foot is a charm that will protect them. There are hundreds of such superstitions but do the people who harbor them ever stop to examine these superstitions? Do they ask who is the power or what is the force or the law that actually will observe and take note of the broken mirror, the black cat, the four leaf clover or the rabbit's foot and then deliberately plague the one with bad luck and bestow good fortune on the other? How could that happen, my friends? Is there some god who has such powers and nothing more important to do? Is there any law which operates to perform these superstitions? If there is, no scientist has ever discovered it and yet millions of otherwise intelligent people believe these absurd superstitions. Oh, of course, I know you don't, but millions do.
You may not believe in superstitions, but you do believe many things about which other people disagree. Every one of us has a certain combination of ideas, convictions and beliefs. And just as no two humans that have fingerprints that are exactly alike, no two noses, ears or faces are exactly alike in every detail; so, no two minds contain exactly the same combination of beliefs in all respects.
But did you ever stop to inquire in retrospect just how you came to believe what you believe? Well, now, probably you never did. Possibly you never stopped to realize how many different and contradictory things so many people believe. Certainly we cannot all be right when we all disagree.
The most important question that the human mind can contemplate is the subject of life. Why are we here? Were we put here for a purpose? And if so, what is that purpose and how may it be achieved? Just what are we? Where are we going? What happens when we die? What lies on beyond death? And above all, how do we know?
Each of us probably has some belief about these things; but, my friends, how did we come to believe it? Now, that is the question of religion. But look at all this modern confusion of tongues. The people of this earth are divided into nearly every possible shade of religious belief, with almost every possible combination of ideas.
Look at the many different religions, sects, denominations and cults in the world and quite naturally every single person who holds to definite convictions thinks that he believes the truth. And yet very few ever pause to ask, "How do I know? How did I come to believe what I believe?" My friends, few of us have realized it. But most of us believe so much that is false and in error. We act and live according to what we believe. And the result is a very sick world in which we live. But when we inquire seriously into how people have come to accept the convictions that they hold I think that we shall see the reason and the way out of this fog of error and into the clear light of truth.
Now, there are four principal ways by which most people have come to their opinions, their convictions and beliefs.
Now, the first, and the most common process was expressed by a schoolteacher who told me of the church denomination to which she belonged. "I don't know why exactly," she said, "but I suppose that I'm of this denomination and I believe its doctrines because my parents belong to this church and I was reared in it. I just never stopped to think about it."
Well, my friends, there it is.
The first and the most common process by which ideas, beliefs and convictions lodge in our minds is the process of careless assumption. We simply take for granted without any question what we have been brought up to believe or what we have been taught. It never occurred to us to examine, to doubt, to prove whether the doctrine or the idea or the belief is true. We've always heard it. We simply accept and believe it and we never realize why. It is a fact of psychology that humans usually accept as true without question that which they have heard repeatedly or that which they read in print.
I want you to stop and think a minute. How much did you know the day you were born? Do you realize that at the moment of your birth you had no beliefs, no convictions, no opinions? You have acquired every idea, conviction and belief that you now hold since the day you were born. And if you are an average individual, most of your present convictions entered your mind without so much as thinking to question what you heard, what you were taught what you found others believing, what you were brought up to believe. You just took it for granted. You assumed it without question, without proof, you just accepted it and now you firmly believe it.
Yes, this process of blindly accepting what is heard or taught begins in infancy and it carries through the school years of childhood and on into the field of adult higher education. Babies are lovable trusting little things. They hear their parents express opinions and positive convictions. They ask many questions and parents teach them many things. But listen, do babies and little children look with suspicion on everything their parents tell them? Do they question the truth of it? Do they investigate? Do they examine all the contributing facts and factors? Do they seek for proof before accepting what they are told by parents and teachers? Why, of course not. As children, you and I just naturally drank in and assumed and believed without question whatever we were told or taught and that process became fixed habit. Then when we entered elementary school we continued in that fixed habit of accepting and believing whatever we were taught. The educational process became a matter of memorizing. As we advanced in school we were required to study textbooks. We learned, that is to say, we memorized what was in the book or what the teacher, the instructor or the professor taught. Of course, in the levels of higher education, study and research is supposed to be a matter of investigation of questioning and of searching for proof and yet, my friends, in actual practice this process of automatically accepting and merely memorizing has become so fixed as established habit, that most people continue through life in this manner automatically accepting what is heard or read or taught.
Now, does the student even in higher education really question what is accepted as the pronouncement of modern science? There is abroad today, the common assumption that science is infallible. "Science" is a mystic word that inspires awe in many people.
I once read a thought provoking book by a philosopher named Ayers which was titled "Science -- the False Messiah." Millions unconsciously accept what is called modern science as if it were God. When science speaks much of the world pays an awed respect and accepts its pronouncements as truth, and yet as the scientist Dr. Moore has said in his book, "The pathway of modern science is literally strewn with the wreckage of many a cherished hypothesis."
And do you know that modern science has made some colossal and laughable blunders. Let me tell of a couple and where the science of yesterday became the laughingstock of today. I think it will prove enlightening to consider just a couple of instances showing the amusing mistakes of which our modern science sometimes is guilty.
Several years ago, modern science informed the world of a great scientific discovery.
In the Nile River in Africa, the flow of the river brings down mud which it deposits in the delta at its mouth. Scientist had carefully calculated the rate at which this mud was deposited. While boring in the delta, they discovered at considerable depth what was evidently a piece of human-made pottery. They measured carefully the depth at which it was found and from their very careful calculations these men of science concluded that it had taken thirty thousand years for this quantity of mud to be deposited above it. And so it became the science of that day that the Egyptians or the pre-historic men were making pottery in Egypt thirty thousand years ago.
Now, this contradicted the Bible because the Bible chronology shows that man was first created and placed on this earth only about six thousand years ago and the ancient Egyptian civilization flourished not more than four thousand three hundred years ago. At that time this was hailed as a great triumph for modern science over the Bible, casting great doubt on the authenticity of the Bible and consequently this marvelous piece of pottery became famous, it excited very great public interest and was exhibited all over Europe as the latest scientific discovery.
But when at last it was taken to be exhibited in Rome it was found to be a somewhat modern piece of Roman pottery. It had in some unusual manner gotten buried deep in the Nile Delta. And this bit of so called science used in an effort to discredit the Holy Bible turned out to be only another of the blunders of modern science.
And science, my friends, is the product of human observation and reason. And humans even though they assume the designation of scientist are, alas, prone to error.
Again, for many years scientists maintained that writing was not known until long after the days of Moses and therefore they concluded that Moses could not possibly have written the first five books of the Bible. Jesus Christ Himself had declared in Mark ten five and John five verse forty-six that Moses wrote these books, but these modern scientific gentlemen said that Jesus merely shared the ignorance and the prejudices of His day.
Well, the spade has since dug up the proof out of the ground that it was these modern fallible men and not Jesus and the Bible who were in ignorance. What was the accepted science yesterday frequently becomes antiquated and laughed at today.
These mistakes do not discredit science but I offer these instances to show that mankind is not infallible and that it is human to err and that it is unwise to accept blindly whatever we hear or read or what we are told because even that which is proclaimed by science has often been later proved to be in error.
Do you know that the real secret of the commercial greatness of the United States is due to advertising? Why the United States dollar has become so plentiful and so powerful? I wonder if you realize it. I think the real secret of America's industrial and commercial might has never been quite understood by the world. Now, this will surprise most of our British and European listeners, but the real reason is advertising. Americans use advertising as no other nation ever did. They indulge in tremendous splurges of it. They make a science of it. Vast mass production processes have resulted which in turn have lowered the price to the consumer and placed these luxuries within the reach of almost every family in America.
But what is the secret of this power of advertising? American advertising men know that people just naturally accept and believe whatever they hear or read continually and repeatedly. Tell the people something often enough, keep it up long enough the people believe it and they act upon it.
My friends, that tendency of human nature may result beneficially in creating mass production for all to enjoy but when we come to the most important field of all the question of life itself, the question of what we are and why we were placed here on this earth, how we should live and what about eternity, it becomes sheer thoughtlessness and folly to stake our eternity upon beliefs that we have merely been brought up to believe or have merely heard or taken carelessly for granted.
The Bible admonishes us to "prove all things." Also, it warns us that the time was to come when humanity would not "endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap themselves teachers, having itching ears; [the people have the itching ears] and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." That's second Timothy four in the third and fourth verses.
The second, now, and the most common manner by which people come to believe the things that they believe, is very similar to the first. It is that trait of human nature that we sometimes call the sheep instinct.
It seems to be human nature to want to belong and to go along, to conform. People like to join in some organized group such as a club, a party, a church. The human tendency is to just go along, to accept blindly and without question whatever ideas or doctrines or beliefs may be held by that particular group or organization. One will often express his beliefs somewhat in this fashion, "Well, we of our party or our church, our club believe (so and so)..." It seems human to fear to disagree with the policies or the beliefs of one's organized group and usually this union in belief is the tie that binds the members together.
Now, my friends, let's face it, to blindly accept whatever such a society or organized group may adopt is to place one's trust wholly in that human movement instead of utilizing one's faculties to prove what is true or instead of relying upon the Supreme Divine God.
Now, the third reason why most people believe whatever they do believe is simply that many people are willing to believe only that which they want to believe. Such people might study into a question but when they encounter some truth which they do not want to accept or to act upon they reject it or they reason their way around it or they ignore it or they dispose of it by ridiculing it. Such people are simply not honest with themselves and since it is only the truth that can make them free they sentence themselves to continual slavery.
Another form of this process not deliberately dishonest is permitting the barrier of prejudice to obstruct the entrance of truth to the mind. Prejudice is a positive barrier to truth and especially religious or spiritual truth. God says that if we reject knowledge, He will reject us in Hosea the fourth chapter, the sixth verse.
And then there is the fourth and the only right way by which process we may find the truth that shall make us free. The only way to find happiness and real joyful abundant living for each of us and peace for the world is to learn how to seek and to find and to act upon the Truth. Yes, as the great teacher Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Well, here then is the fourth and the only right way to formulate beliefs that are true.
That way, first of all, is to come to realize our past carelessness in blindly accepting what we have heard or read repeatedly or what we have been taught and to begin to examine statements, ideas, assertions before we believe them to get the proof. But we must do this, my friends, with an open mind freed from prejudice or we shall only embed ourselves deeper into error.
We must first of all come to be willing to admit it when we are proved wrong. We must bring ourselves to be willing to confess error, to repent of wrong whether it be wrong thoughts, wrong beliefs or wrong doing. And I tell you very frankly and candidly you will have a real battle with your own inner self before you can come to that attitude of willingness. The hardest thing for any person to do is to admit that he has been wrong, to confess error, to repent. But I say in all candor that you must win that battle against your own nature before you can even begin to find the way out of the darkness and confusion into the clear and the plain truth.
Well, and then, my friends, we need to get all of the facts bearing on any question before coming to a final conclusion.
And now, finally, as Jesus Christ Himself said, "What is truth?" And He answered, "Thy word [the Bible] is truth" and the Bible is profitable to correct us and to reprove us where and when we have been wrong. But we'll have to come to the place where we will be willing to be corrected and reproved, where we will be willing to unlearn as well as to learn, where we will hunger and thirst for the truth and will seek it honestly and quit taking things for granted.
As the Bereans were commended for doing when they listened to the Apostle Paul, we'll have to come to the place where we will listen with an open mind and without prejudice; then search the scriptures for ourselves and prove whether these things be so.
And so finally, let us say, my friends, with David as we read in the one hundred nineteenth Psalm, the one hundred and fifth verse again, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
But, my friends, how can the Bible be a lamp unto our path, how can it illuminate your pathway unless you understand it. Why do so few today understand the Bible? Why do we find such confusion, such disagreement as to what the Bible says? Why don't the hundreds of differing church denominations and sects agree as to what the acknowledged textbook, the Bible, says? Why do so many individuals capable of understanding almost any other book say, "I just can't understand the Bible"?
My friends, you need help. The Bible can be understood. Now a great deal of the Bible has been closed and locked until now, about one-third of all of the Bible is prophecy. Did you know that? About one third of the Bible is devoted to prophecy but about ninety percent of all the prophecies pertain to our time in which we live now today and the immediate next ten or fifteen, twenty years into the future.
Listen, my friends, the Bible did foretell the future of the leading nations twenty-five hundred years ago of Egypt, of Assyria, of Babylon, Persia, of Greece, of the Roman Empire, even before the Roman Empire had risen. And the Bible foretold the six falls that the Roman Empire was going to have had up to this time and six resurrections and now we're waiting for that seventh resurrection now that the Bible prophesizes. It foretold about other nations even before their rise. It has come to pass every time. Every minute detail has happened exactly as the Bible said.
The longest prophecy in all the Bible, the eleventh chapter of Daniel, foretelling just one after another of minute details in history to happen fifty years, a hundred years, two hundred years, five hundred years in advance after the prophecy was written and you can look into the histories written long after the events, long after the prophecy and it happened exactly every time right on schedule.
I tell you, my friends, it's about time we begin to pay attention and look into the prophecies of the Bible to see what they reveal about our nations and our peoples today. Your nation is in the Bible prophecies. You need to know where we're mentioned in the prophecy. We need to know what it says about our peoples.
All right, now, first, ninety percent of the prophecies pertain to the present and the doors have been slammed shut. Even the prophet Daniel, one of the great prophets, didn't understand what he was inspired to write. It was being revealed to him by an angel. But he was told by the angel of God, "Go thy way Daniel, these words are closed and sealed until the time of the end." That time is here now. It said that the wise would understand but none of the wicked would understand.
Well, my friends, the wise are those who are obeying God and willing to do what the Bible says. "The fear of the ETERNAL is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all they that do his commandments." No wonder then, so many people can't understand today.
Let me tell you just a little real quickly about the "Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course."
Now, in lesson one, it starts out -- Why Study the Bible? Why should you want to study the Bible? Why is the study of the Bible such a dull, uninteresting, irksome task to most people done if at all only as a duty out of a fear of a harsh God? Well, in this study, my friends, you'll come to really see that God is love, not a harsh stern God and that God wants every one of us to be happy, to enjoy life to the very full, to make life interesting, every second of it. And you will begin to understand your Bible and you'll find it the most fascinating, the most interesting as well as the most profitable interest that you ever entered into in all of your life. And once you really get into it you'll enjoy the study so much that you'll hardly be able to wait for the next lesson.
Now, in the very first lesson it begins with prophecy. Then we come to the very message of Christ and then begin with the proof of God and going back into Genesis and creation and all of those things. It'll take you completely through the Bible. All of the scriptures about the end of the world and what is the end of the world.
Now, then, if you are willing to set yourself to the study of your Bible, why don't you enroll then for this correspondence course. And there's no charge, no tuition, whatsoever. I'll just be happy to send it to you.
There is no correspondence course like this. There never has been. It's utterly different from any Bible correspondence course that has ever come out and it just becomes literally thrilling, but it is a study course. The textbook is your Bible. All this can do is just open up the way and point it out to you and show you how to study your Bible so you can understand it.
Now, if you want to enroll, send me your name and address and tell me you want to enroll for the Bible correspondence course and there is no charge whatsoever. It's absolutely free and you're not going to be asked for money one way or the other.
Now, my friends, the world news magazine, "The Plain Truth," our own representatives go around the world wherever the big news is; they're there photographing important conferences, important documents being signed by world diplomats and this gives you the missing dimension in knowledge. You need to understand the frightening reason why troubles are increasing along with increasing knowledge and yet the scientists tell us that knowledge is the end and the solution.
I've stated many times how newspapers, other magazines, radio and television newscasts and documentaries report the news, describe happenings and conditions but they fail to give you understanding. They fail to tell you why, to give the reasons and the solutions. That is the knowledge gap, my friends, that "The Plain Truth" has come forward to fill. You need "The Plain Truth." There is no other magazine that is like it. It brings you eye-opening facts that may mean life or death to you because the big problem before us today is the question of survival. Never was the world like it is today. No one can understand the real meaning of these frightening rapidly accelerating trends without understanding the purpose that is being worked out here below, the purpose for which this earth was put here, the purpose for which mankind was placed here upon it.
So, all you have to do is just send your name and address requesting "The Plain Truth," there's no subscription price whatsoever. We'll send it to you immediately.
So, until next time, goodbye friends.