“There is no Such Thing as the One True Way”

In Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, the land seems to have a law or motto: ‘There is no such thing as the one true way.’ This is popular enough— I would imagine the typical neopagan reader interprets it as a hit against those hateful and hated Christians— but does it make any sense?

As a general rule, the motto, as it asserts that either there is no such thing as truth, or that it is unbearably rude to stand up for the truth when someone might have a contrary opinion, kills off any hope of scientific advancement or rational discussion.

Imagine the situation when someone who believes in a flat Earth (or Velgarth) meets someone who believes— or has personally observed— the roundness of Earth or Velgarth. Because ‘there is no such thing as the one true way’ neither can enlighten the other without breaking the law.

In our world, there are people who believe that autism is often caused by modern vaccines, and others who believe modern vaccines never cause autism. As a sensible person I believe the ‘cure’ for that is more research, and better reporting of adverse effects of vaccines. But according to the Valdemar rule, both sides of the vaccine issue have to keep silent because ‘there is no such thing as the one true way.’ Or a true answer to a dispute that could be solved with scientific research.

It’s obvious, though, that the Valdemar rule is aimed specifically at religions, or perhaps only at theistic religions. No religious group is allowed to claim that their religion might be true. What effect would that have on religions in the real world? Could a religious group pass on its faith to the next generation if they were banned from talking about truth or reality? Wouldn’t all religions tend to die out under such a law?

And the kingdom of Valdemar makes a lot of use of religions in order to provide social services at low or no cost to the state. In Haven, the capital, the schools not only have the task of educating the children, even poor ones, but they distribute state-provided free food to hungry poor children. A religious order was also used to wall up a woman who wanted a Valdemar Herald punished for killing her son. That story did not mention whether the sisters were to be paid for turning their convent into a jail.

But there is one religion that would be very comfortable with religions without truth. Not any ancient kind of paganism— they also thought their religions had truth on their side— but modern neopaganism.

Having actually been a neopagan and having read a lot of books about it, I know that there were a lot of people who embraced neopaganism and even started neopagan religions or Wiccan traditions who stated openly they didn’t believe it was true. They talked about neopaganism’s aesthetic value instead— in other words, it was a pretty lie. Some early neopagan leaders made claims about having a family tradition of neopaganism or Wicca, and later admitted that wasn’t true. They just said it to get attention and followers, and because others were saying similar things at the time.

How well does this non-true neopaganism work out in real life? Well, they sell ‘magick’ books. But have you ever seen a Wiccan or other neopagan temple being built in your town? They can’t gather enough people together to collect money to create a physical presence anywhere. And if they do manage to create one, will their groups last as long as a local Presbyterian church will last? Do neopagans who don’t believe their religion is actually true have the willingness to work and sacrifice and donate and attend services to make their non-true religion a reality in the world? Why would they care?

“There is no such thing as the one true way” may sound cool and anti-Christian to modern ears, but in the fantasy kingdom of Valdemar, it’s an expression of tyranny. If religions can’t speak about their faith’s claim to truth, and can’t transmit any evidence for that truth to their future generations, religions will die out. And Valdemar seems to depend on being able to use-and-abuse religions for the state’s needs.

Which is probably why the tyrannical law came into being. I would imagine that Valdemar looks the other way when priests or lay person surreptitiously whisper to children and new converts the evidence for their faith. If someone starts preaching it on the street corners— as the early Christians did at Pentecost— they will be punished, if only to keep the religions scared and obedient to the state. But I believe that the government of Valdemar is glad that the majority of their people don’t really believe ‘there is no such thing as the one true way.’

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Was Mohammed a false prophet?

Some people on the outside of Christianity think that ‘faith’ is about ‘blind faith.’ Some also believe that there is no such thing as a theistic religion that is true, and that only the non-theistic religions like atheism, agnosticism and secularism could be true, and that is why the non-theists have blind faith in their non-theistic religion.
Update/Note: I have been informed by WordPress that an ‘authority’ in the country of Pakistan has claimed that this blog post is ‘blasphemous’ and ‘hate speech’ and must be taken down. But this ‘authority’ has failed to even comment on this post to defend his point-of-view!
But in the real world, different religions make different truth claims, and contradictory claims cannot both be true. Aztecs believed that large numbers of human sacrifices pleased the gods. People in the Judeo-Christian faiths believe that God expressly rejects human sacrifice. Christianity rises or falls on whether Jesus Christ was, in fact, the Son of God (in a unique way) and whether He rose from the dead and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And Islam is based on the belief that Mohammed was a prophet in the Hebrew tradition, like Moses or Jesus.
A prophet in Judaism & Christianity is someone who has been given a message from God. The test of a prophet is whether he claims words as a prophecy which are not true. God does not give false information to prophets. So, then, what about Mohammed?
First I must say this: by asking questions about Mohammed I am not being mean to Muslims. Muslims are human beings that God loves. If their religion is false, shouldn’t someone tell them? I’ve had people claim my religion is false just because those people have blind faith that atheism is true and that ‘ha, ha, there is no God’ is a logical argument. And if Islam happens to be true, it will stand up to any questioning.
Mohammed claimed that all the words of the Koran were given to him by the angel Jibril (Gabriel.) Since God and His angels know the truth, the words of the Koran would not contain false information or mistakes— if Mohammed were, in fact, a prophet.
The worst sin of all, according to Islam, is shirk, or ascribing a partner to God. According to one modern-day Muslim writer, shirk is worse than murder, rape, child molesting and genocide. And although the Koran does say that Jews and Christians are not infidels like the pagans are, both religions, according to the Koran, are guilty of shirk.
Let’s take the Jews first. In Koran 9:30, it says ‘The Jews said ‘Ezra is the son of God.’ That is utterly false. That is not what Judaism teaches! If Mohammed were getting messages from the angel Gabriel, he would not say this false thing.
What about Christianity? Koran 5:116 says: “When God says ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people, “Take me and my mother as two gods alongside God?” this shows clearly that Mohammed misunderstood the Christian concept of the trinity. It never included Mary! There are New Testament passages that clearly speak of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, though the term ‘trinity’ was not used in the Bible.
Now, it does not disprove Mohammed as a true prophet that his message rejected the doctrine of the trinity. What disproves Mohammed as a prophet is that he was mistaken about what the Christians believed, and he incorporated this mistake into words he claimed came from God through the angel Gabriel. God would know what the Christians of Mohammed’s day were teaching!
There are many other places in the Koran which clearly show that the Koran was based on Mohammed’s personal and highly limited knowledge of what Jews and Christians believe. It claims that Abraham offered to sacrifice his illegitimate son Ishmael, and not his ‘child of promise’ son Isaac. It presumes that Mary the mother of Jesus and Miriam the sister of Moses were the same woman.
Of course, if a Muslim were to come across this evidence that Mohammed was a false prophet, he probably couldn’t do anything about it. In many Muslim countries, there are apostasy laws. These state that if anyone is a Muslim, he must not leave Islam, and can be executed or imprisoned if he tries. On the other hand, these laws welcome Christians and Jews and others to become Muslims— so long as they never try to leave Islam.
Even in Western nations, there is a perspective that Muslims who leave their faith must die. Americans Ergun and Emir Caner, two brothers who became Evangelical Christians, were estranged from their Muslim father by their conversion, and disowned. So Muslims who question the truth of their faith are in an impossible position, and we must pray that God will help them.
Are you a Muslim who questions? Ask God to guide you to the truth. Read the book below by the Caner brothers, both former Muslims, if you can obtain it. Do internet searches on former Muslims and web sites that tell the story of former Muslims— they will tell you the things that those other Muslims questioned. Don’t endanger yourself or your job by sharing your doubts with Muslims who may not sympathize. If you have questions about Christianity specifically, read a good information source like Dave Armstrong’s blog. Feel free to ask any questions you have here in a comment— if I don’t know the answer, I will try to find out. And at least I will pray for you.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
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I am not an expert in Islam or a scholar. Any information in this article came from books I read about Islam. In addition, I have looked up Koran verses in my own copy of the Koran. I find the books listed below useful for those searching out information about the possibility that Mohammed was not a true prophet.

 

How to use Free Speech social media like Gab

Freedom of speech. A lot of people don’t really believe in it any more. They want their social media cleared of ‘hate speech’— which often includes conservative speech, and quoting Bible verses about homosexuality. But social media can’t afford to have a human evaluator (censor) read through every potential post before it gets actually posted. And so many criminals like the synagogue shooter have Twitter accounts, and for some reason in spite of Twitter’s anti-hate policy he got to stay there— where some of my conservative friends got suspended or banned.
If you have heard media reports about the social media Gab, you have probably been lied to. Gab is not a racist/antisemite haven— I’ve SEEN sites that are racist/antisemite havens when I was researching extremists for a writing project. Gab is a FREE SPEECH oriented social media. I got on it when some conservative-libertarian writer friends of mine recommended it. On Gab I have seen antisemites, but I have also seen Jewish people and pro-Israel people. I have seen ‘racialists’ [actual racists who admit they are racist] and liberals and members of the US Republican party— the party that freed the Black slaves. I’ve seen smutty naked posts and devout Christian clean posts. That’s what FREE SPEECH is about— people are free to speak their OWN minds, not just reflect what other people think is right.
NOW: I am sure there are some of you who presume that I am racist, antisemitic or ‘ALT-RIGHT’ myself. I don’t like to hear racialist speech because I have Ottawa Indian ancestry and I wouldn’t be pure enough for that type. As a Christian, I don’t care for antisemitic remarks because my personal Lord and Savior is a Jewish dude! As for ALT-RIGHT, the few people I know who use that as a self-description don’t mean it the way the media does. I’d need way more information before I personally would demonize the ALT-RIGHT. And as for the real bad guys like Neo-Nazis— will taking away their FREE SPEECH make them into nicer people? Are they better off only speaking their mind in secret, hidden Nazi forums? Or will they become better people if they are free to interact with the rest of us? I despise most of what such people say, but as the saying goes, I will defend to my death their FREE SPEECH rights to say it.

Muting and Blocking

How do you use a FREE SPEECH social media like Gab? The first thing is to learn how to mute or block other users. Gab makes it easy. I routinely block people who mostly post photos of private parts. I don’t necessarily bother to block all Neo-Nazis. If they are in the Gab topics or groups I use, I may well correct the things they say! On a Christian Gab topic, an antisemite blamed ‘the Jews’ for the martyrdom of the Apostles. I pointed out that Jesus and his Apostles WERE Jewish people, and that early martyrs got persecuted by the Romans as well as local Jewish authorities. Gab went down temporarily not long after I posted that so I don’t know if he responded. If he persistently annoyed me, I would have blocked.
I know that a lot of us are scared of the consequences of free speech. We get told in the media daily that wrongspeech causes ‘hate crimes.’ But they aren’t too worried when left-wing media personalities literally call for the assassination of the current US president! It’s only wrongspeech that won’t vote for them that worries them. The fact is that unless there is FREE SPEECH, none of us is safe. Facebook and Twitter, social media which are known for taking down alleged hate, takes down a lot of innocent conservative and Christian posts, but if you are conservative and someone on Facebook tells you essentially to eat sh-t and die, and steals your profile picture to do it, Facebook won’t do dick about it. I have a conservative FB page about man-woman marriage, and I’ve been told I’m crazy, a liar, a fraud, and that my (now dead) disabled kitten was ugly— with a lot of dirty words mixed in to the insults. I really think the only reason that page hasn’t been taken down yet is that I admit I have same-sex attraction (‘gay’ or ‘ex-gay’ identity) and though I also admit I’m chaste, I might still be a protected ‘minority’ and that protects me from FB persecution.
The lesson of the Gab takedown is that we need to defend FREE SPEECH, and we need to protect those social media that don’t ban alleged ‘haters’ and that really allow free speech. If you want a social media presence, as writers and bloggers need to survive these days, you need multiple social media. Any social media could arbitrarily ban you, any social media that advocates for FREE SPEECH can be taken down overnight. You need a backup, and, yeah, that means more social media work. But we can’t afford to put all our social media eggs in one basket.
Currently, Gab is still transitioning to a new hosting provider after widespread attacks on that social media. Twitter, however, is not under immediate threat in spite of the fact that the synagogue shooter had a Twitter account. The Gab service does still have a Twitter account, so you can follow that account to be updated as to when Gab gets up again. It’s also an opportunity to get Gab’s point of view unfiltered by the biases of the news media.
I recommend that once Gab gets back up, you prayerfully consider starting an account there, just to show your belief in FREE SPEECH. If you do believe in it. You don’t have to actively use Gab a lot. Just try it. Get to know the reality of it. It does not have the wide user base of the censorship media like Facebook and Twitter, but it does have a band of very loyal users. Once Gab is back up, I plan to research an article on how to use Gab more effectively.
Check it to see if Gab has gone back up yet. And when it is, feel free to ‘friend’ me there. I ‘friend’ back most accounts without naked stuff or swastikas.
 
There is a group on MeWe for stranded Gab users: https://mewe.com/group/5bd5abc24b3f5711bb37a60b