By Debra Whittington: QCS Religion Columnist
Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. Psalm 33:3-5
A friend and I were talking the other day about how easily people are deceived. We agreed there are countless people that believe everything they see on the Internet or television. Because it is there for all to see it must be the truth. Few of these people will actually take the time or the effort to check out something before they believe its validity.
When I was in school many years ago, I enjoyed writing research papers. I loved to check out the various sources in books and other periodicals. I relished the challenge of finding the necessary material for whatever project I was working on at the time and weeding out the false information.
Years later, I started working on a book on the history of Tucumcari and the surrounding area. I read every newspaper printed in the county gathering historical information. I went through deeds and other records located in the County clerk’s office at the courthouse. I was determined to find documented proof of what I wrote about.
I interviewed dozens of people for the project and heard stories that would make your hair stand on end. I was told that I couldn’t print these stories because the person telling the story wasn’t sure if it was true or not. They were only repeating stories heard from other people because they found the content fascinating. Some of the stories were so sensationalized I knew they couldn’t be true.
During the course of these interviews I tried to bring the person back to talking about the things they saw or personally experienced. I tried to make them realize how important these stories were to me and eventually to those who read the book. Some day I would like to write a book on the every day experiences of the pioneers of the county. I even thought about writing a fictionalized account based on the experiences I heard about. However, I will make sure the reader knows it is a work of fiction and not fact.
Not everyone is careful to inform their readers when they write fiction based on actual facts. Some of these types of books I read, I dismissed because I knew the author was trying to mislead the reader into thinking it was fact instead of fiction.
Movies are just as guilty of sensationalizing facts or stretching the truth to draw a larger audience. A few weeks ago, a new version of the movie, “The Ten Commandments” was released. In the first few minutes of the movie I saw how it deviated slightly from the account found in the Bible. If I hadn’t read the account in the Bible I would think the movie was totally factual. I wonder how many people simply watch one of these Biblical movies and take them at face value instead of searching out the whole truth found in the pages of the Bible.
In a matter of weeks, the movie “The DaVinci Code” based on the book will appear in theatres. The movie implies that although the characters are fictional, the content is based on fact. Unfortunately there will be many people who will believe everything they see on the screen. They will come away from the movie with many questions, which Christians need to be ready to answer.
There are many great resources available for Christians including the book “The DaVinci Code, a Quest For Answers”, by Josh McDowell and a DVD, “DaVinci Code Deception” presented by Dr. Ed Hindson, Professor of Religion at Liberty University. I have watched the DVD and am currently reading the book. I was very surprised to learn the plot of the book and now the movie of “The DaVinci Code.”
I expect many people will go to see the movie when it is released and I am certainly not telling anyone not to go to it. Instead I encourage Christians to do their homework and be prepared to answer questions that may arise in a spirit of love. The Apostle Paul stated in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”. Peter wrote these words: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)