Friday, November 27, 2009

Does Snopes know all?

Snopes.com is this generation’s way to determine truth. Internet users rely on the website because so many misleading and untrue e-mails circulate in cyberspace.
According to Wikipedia, David Mikkelson and Barbara Hamel created the Snopes.com myth-busters website in 1995 to reveal e-mail hoaxes and confirm or debunk widely spread urban legends. The site has more than six million visitors a month
The Mikkelsons say their intention is not merely to dismiss or confirm misconceptions and rumors, but to provide evidence for such debunkings and confirmations as well. Although they claim to research their topics heavily and provide references when possible, not all of their sources are fully verifiable, says Wikipedia. Where appropriate, pages are generally marked "undetermined" or "unverifiable" if the Mikkelsons feel there is not enough evidence to either support or disprove a given claim.
They have learned, as have seekers throughout the ages,that truth often is difficult to
come by.
Societies historically tried many methods to determine when a person was lying. The Chinese sometimes filled a suspect’s mouth with uncooked rice and the person would be judged guilty if the rice could not be spit out quickly and easily. The test was based on the idea that people who lie don’t create saliva.
Some ancient civilizations required a suspect to grab a white-hot metal rod and carry it to a marked destination. If the burns on the person’s hands did not heal by a certain date, the person was ruled guilty and punished.
More humane was a serum introduced in the 1920s by a Texas obstetrician, Dr. Robert House. He believed a person under the influence of the drug scopolamine was unable to tell a lie. In an era of corruption and crime, it was hoped the drug could turn people to honesty, but it’s use as a lie detector was not widely accepted..
“Truth Serum,” an anesthetic or hypnotic such as thiopental sodium or sodium pentathal, later was believed to cause a person to speak only the truth, but these drugs weren’t totally reliable, either.
Today we have the polygraph, which supporters say is 90 percent accurate, yet in many court rooms the results can’t be entered as evidence.
The best court cases depend on physical evidence and eyewitnesses’ testimony, but sometimes truth is still elusive.
In the days Jesus walked the earth, some people questioned whether He was truthful, despite His miracles, compassion, and claim to be God. “I tell you the truth,” might be the phrase most often spoken by Jesus. The four Gospels record Jesus saying those words at least 80 times.
But Jesus not only assured people He told the truth, He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He assured them that when He went away, He would sent the Holy Spirit, which would lead them into all truth (John 16:13).
How do we know what to believe? Truth is difficult to prove. The folks at Snopes.com have been accused of allowing political beliefs to influence their conclusions. Whether that is true, we know faith becomes involved what we decide is true, even in secular situations. We need faith in the carrier of information. We need faith in witnesses to believe what they say. We need faith the evidence actually shows what the experts say it does, and put trust in the way in which evidence is gathered.
I’ve known superstitious people who firmly believe things I consider absurd. People believe in the horoscope and fortune tellers. A large number of folks believe we appeared on this earth with seeing eyes and hearing ears without a creator.
God equipped each of us with a free will so we could decide what we believe. The scripture states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Salvation is based on belief. That’s why you can’t prove God exists! Faith is the requirement for Salvation.
Yet, our loving Heavenly Father didn’t leave us without solid reasons for faith. He provided witnesses, testimony and evidence everywhere about who He is.
Whether we believe it is up to us.