Front Page: autumn 1992
TRUTH IS ITS OWN EXCUSE FOR BEING
In the summer edition, we published Bill Lockwood's response to the
problem of Sarah's seminal emission that was raised by a Greek expression
used in Hebrews 11:11. Another exchange on this subject begins on page 9
of this issue. In his original rebuttal, Lockwood urged the editor "to open
the scope of his paper to defend his ONLY recourse after he rejects the
Bible--agnosticism." "Let his readers see," Lockwood continued, "what he
offers in return."
To say the least, we found this to be a perplexing statement. Why, for
example, would agnosticism be the only recourse to someone who rejects the
Bible? Couldn't one reject the Bible to embrace the Koran or the Avesta or
Buddhism or New Age philosophy? We won't deny that agnosticism is an
appropriate and logical alternative to the Bible, but it is certainly not the
ONLY recourse that one has after rejecting the Bible. Apparently, Mr.
Lockwood didn't think this statement through before he passed it along to us.
The intent of the statement, however, was to challenge us to defend
agnosticism by offering our readers something to replace what we urge them
to abandon, and he is not the first to present this challenge. Many others
have written to say that we have a duty to offer our readers a better alter-
native than belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible. The challenge im-
plies that the iconoclast has some kind of moral responsibility to formulate an
alternative philosophical system that is superior to the one that he has proven
What these critics and challengers don't seem to understand is that the
exposure of error inherently leaves a superior alternative in its wake. That
superior alternative is truth, because it is always better to be right than
wrong, to believe a truth than to believe a falsehood. On this and related
issues, H. L. Mencken. the American critic and satirist, once said this:
I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse
to mankind--that its modest and greatly overestimated services on
the ethical side have been more than overborne by the damage it
has done to clear and honest thinking.
I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be
wholly useless to the human race, and that no trumpeting of
falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vi-
I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than
the evidence for witches, and deserves no more respect.... I
believe in complete freedom of thought and speech, alike for the
humblest to the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct
that is consistent with living in an organized society.
But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I
believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe
that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe
that it is better to know than to be ignorant.
The transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his poem "The
Rhodora" that "if eyes were made for seeing then beauty is its own excuse
for being." We believe that the same principle applies to truth. The truth
needs nothing to justify it existence. Although falsehood may be infinitely
more appealing and comforting than the truth, falsehood is never better than
We believe, then, that we have met Mr. Lockwood's challenge. We have
told him and our other readers the truth about the Bible, and no matter how
destructive to cherished beliefs that truth may be, it is far better than the
falsehood that deludes people into believing that the Bible is a divine book
that was given to guide man into an eternal paradise. After all, what could
be more cruel than to live a life of expectation only to have that expectation
prove false? The fact that the expecter may never know that the expectation
was false changes nothing. He still lived a life that was based on lies. How
could that possibly be better than the truth?