Navigating Truth

Have you ever seen the film Twelve Angry Men?  Here’s the plot from Wikipedia: “In the overheated jury room of the New York County Courthouse, a jury prepares to deliberate the case of an 18-year-old impoverished youth accused of stabbing his father to death. The judge instructs them that if there is any reasonable doubt, the jurors are to return a verdict of not guilty; if found guilty, the defendant will receive a death sentence. The verdict must be unanimous.” At the beginning of their deliberation, 11 of the jurors believe the youth is guilty; Juror #8 does not. The movie is a drama of how one man introduced his reasonable doubt, and in time, all the jurors agreed with him.

I was reminded of this movie the other day when a friend stated that only a small slice of black writers, scholars, professors, and other walks of life, are conservative. My friend stated that most blacks disagree with this tiny conservative group about what has been going on in this country in terms of racism, police misconduct, poverty, etc. But this got me thinking – what does it matter how many people believe something – do sheer numbers make it true? What if the conservative blacks are introducing reasonable doubt – should we dismiss their facts, their research, their arguments, just because of the paucity of their numbers? Maybe the majority are finding the wrong persons guilty, so to speak?

And then my mind drifted to another set of 12 men – those Moses sent to investigate the promised land – when they returned, the majority (10) had a negative report, but two had a positive report. You could say it like this: the people chose to believe the unbelief of the majority – and as a result, God sentenced them to 40 years of wandering. The majority had it wrong, and sadly, a whole generation perished in the desert. Also, during that time, scripture says that even though those people had the facts in front of them, they chose to ignore God’s miracles, and God was displeased with most of them. (1 Corinthians 10:5).

Moving to the New Testament, we see Jesus said (Matthew 24) about the end times (which some think is our current situation) “. . . many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Many is repeated four times. Once again, the majority are in the wrong.

Unlike my friend, I cannot dismiss the few because they are few; what I must discover is what is true, even if only a minority believe it. This would apply to intelligent design as well. In fact, recently, some evolutionary scientists proposed censoring any group promoting the discoveries in our lifetime which clearly show a mind behind the way life works, and their statement was to the same effect – just a small group of crazy fundamentalists shouldn’t be taken seriously — and should even be silenced!

So, even though they are in the minority numerically, I can’t disregard the older generation of black statesmen like Shelby Steele, Bob Woodson, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, and Greg Loury, as well as younger leaders such as John McWhorter, Coleman Hughes – and even the satirical Hodge twins. Why? Because they could be right – and because the majority – as is often in the past – could be wrong. I wonder – wasn’t Martin Luther King part of the few when he began his journey for civil rights?

Like Dr. King, these men I mention have risked much in terms of career and respect – it has cost them something – not the least of which is the angry vitriolic attacks of their peers. This small group of men has often offered to discuss and debate the issues with the majority – but it is usually declined; sadly, I have yet to see the majority invite the minority to do the same. If the majority is right – what have they to fear? Discovering the facts, like the 11 jurors – which might lead to a changed mind?

Well, I must close by saying that a change is coming — someday, today’s minority will be the majority! From the book of Revelation: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands . . . Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” 

The irony in this: we must join the minority now, to be in the majority then. Jesus puts it to us like this: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:12 – 14.

So, the minority now are those who belong to Jesus by the new birth – who have their sins forgiven by His blood, and His Spirit inside them due to His righteousness being given us as our permanent status before God. I hope that describes you – no matter who you listen to for information on current events – I hope you have listened to Jesus’ call and come to know him personally.  

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