The Truth of Truth by Patty LaRoche

I love a healthy debate.  One in which facts prevail with no ad hominem attacks.

As a former high school debate coach, there are few competitions that I remember like one in which Ryan and Ben, juniors, were in the quarter-finals in hopes of winning state.  I sat in on that debate and don’t remember much of what the opponents said except they were “not legalizing marijuana.” So, when it was our team’s turn to speak and Ben spent his entire eight minutes arguing against the legalization of marijuana, I was stunned.  Had our team not heard the affirmative team say that this was not part of their plan?

When it was time for the affirmative to question (cross-ex) Ben, the first thing she said was this: “Did you not hear us say we are not legalizing marijuana?”  Ben said that he did.  “But you spent your entire speech addressing the evils of doing so, correct?”  “Correct,” Ben answered.

I was dumbfounded.  What had just happened?  The debate progressed with much confusion…until it was Ryan’s turn to speak.

“In today’s debate, our opponents have laid out a plan to solve a problem.  They have used one site, one book,  repeatedly to defend their position.  The fact is, I have read that book and its author’s recommendations, but what the affirmative failed to tell you is that their author himself wrote his final chapter on how the only way his plan could work is if marijuana is legalized.”

At that point, Ryan pulled from his stash of evidence that exact quote. He concluded: “The affirmative can’t have it both ways.  If they are to advocate for what this author said, they cannot pick and choose what they tell you is truth.”

I wanted to stand and cheer.

I’m sure Ryan and Ben were glad I didn’t.

There was nothing left for the affirmative to say.  Our team won that debate and went on to win state.  Their strategy was brilliant.  They had truth on their side.  They had done their homework.                                                                                                              I

I’ve often mentally revisited that debate, especially when I run into people who opt to argue a position for which they have studied only one side.  Take the Bible, for example.  I know people who pick and choose what part of scripture they believe.  They argue that the Bible is full of errors.  Others say that there is no hell.  Some believe that being a good person is enough to go to Heaven; after all, a loving God surely can’t banish someone to eternity without Him.  Some claim that Jesus was a good person, but there is no truth of his resurrection.  And then there’s the predictable argument: Why would a good God allow evil?

Make no mistake.  I don’t claim to be smarter than those who deny the truth of scripture.  What I do know is there was a day when I had denied God’s love for me, when my religion wasn’t enough to carry me through a very sad time in my life, but God never gave up on me.  In 1977, He got my attention.  What happened that day is nothing short of miraculous.  I went from wanting nothing to do with Him to knowing He loved me, saved me, as He opened my eyes to seek Him in ways I never imagined.

Read the Book.  The Bible. Read the entire thing.  Read a commentary on what the Greek and Hebrew words actually mean. Countless testimonies address how simply reading Scripture changed peoples’ lives.

This is no game.  I gain nothing if I am right and those who deny scripture are wrong.    The only winner here is one who cares not that he/she has the smartest answer but that that individual stops arguing about truth and gives God a chance to reveal it.  He did it for me.  I pray you let Him do it for you.


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