Are 2% And Whole Milk The Same Thing?
As my wife and I were out to breakfast last week, we learned something new. I was ordering my coffee and asked for it to be made with “whole milk.”
The young waitress replied, “Sure, we can make that with 2%.”
I said, “Oh, the menu said, “whole milk” do you not have whole milk?”
She confidently replied, “Oh yeah, whole milk and 2% are the same thing.”
I tried hard to control my surprised facial expression. That was news to us!
I just let it go for the moment. After all, it was not going to make a whole lot of difference to me whether there was whole milk or 2% milk in my coffee. However, there are, at times, issues people bring up regarding much more important matters where we commit similar fallacies.
Sometimes people will say “All religions are basically the same.” No, this is quite untrue. There is a huge difference between, for example, Christianity’s doctrine of forgiveness and Buddhist’s principles of karma. One shows mercy towards the fallen sinner, the other is a system of retribution to wrongdoers without forgiveness. There is also quite a difference in how Jesus approached the sinful woman of John 8 and how the Koran would advise dealing with an adulterous woman. Jesus gave the woman a new start and the Muslim’s Holy Book would call for her stoning. There is a vast difference between the hope Christianity offers through its founder who died and rose from the dead as documented by eyewitnesses and the hopelessness of religions whose founders (like Buddha and Mohammed) still lie in the grave. These religions are not the same no matter how hard some might contend for it to be true.
Even among Christianity, some commit the same fallacies. Some will say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” In other words, people within Christianity can believe contradicting doctrines which lead to confusion and chaos, and it does not matter at all. The biggest problem with this idea is it just is not what Christ, or His apostles taught. It denies the very essence of truth and encourages the multiplication of error. Our God is “not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Consider what the Bible says on this topic.
First of all, the Bible is a book of contrasts. It contrasts good and bad, light and dark, right and wrong, Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, the Church and the world, Truth and Error. There is a true and a false in academics, law, and even something as simple as knowing the difference between 2% and whole milk. Undoubtedly, there is a distinction between truth and error in the spiritual realm. Even Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, was constantly contrasting His teaching with what the people had “heard” said by others (see Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). By the time Jesus was finished, the audience noticed a clear distinction. Matthew notes, “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (7:28-29). They noticed a difference in the teaching style but clearly there was a difference in what was taught too! Jesus was not teaching the same ethics, values, and principles commonly held by philosophers, religious teachers, or even the culture. There was a difference and He wanted people to discern, receive, and obey it.
Secondly, the apostles taught the reality of truth and error. For example, Paul was concerned with those “carried about with every wind of doctrine” and urged the Ephesians to keep “speaking the truth in love” so the church could be united (Ephesians 4:14-16). Those who argue it “does not matter what you believe” are encouraging the opposite of what Paul sought to avoid. James wrote, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). This is a strange thing to write if it really does not matter what we believe or practice. How is it possible to “wander from the truth” without believing in truth itself? The apostle John wrote, “By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). John is unequivocal in this statement.
Finally, there are consequences if we refuse to accept the reality of truth. First of all, we may be content just to “believe a lie.” Paul warns that those who “did not believe the truth” will be lost (see 2 Thessalonians 2:11-14). Jesus taught we can “know the truth” and His apostle Paul urged us to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The failure to do so may very well harm our souls. So, how do we go about this important work? It takes knowing God’s Word. Jesus said, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul would urge reading the revelation of God so followers of Christ would not be “unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is.” You need to know the truth because truth matters. Are you reading? Are you discerning? If you fall for anything, you will stand for nothing.