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In the book Life After Life, a doctor interviews hundreds of people who were clinically dead and then revived. He notes a number of patterns in their experiences. One of these patterns was a widespread conviction by many of these people as they were dying that what really matters in life is not how much money you earn, but how much you love others and how much you learn.

The love part seemed obvious to us; but the learning revelation caught us by surprise.

Advances in science have been traditionally regarded with suspicion by the church. If you consider how things like TVs, cars, nuclear energy, and silicon chips have altered human history, the suspicion is understandable. Even medical advances such as tranquillisers, test tube babies, and heart transplants have posed serious ethical dilemmas.

So is all learning necessarily good? And if not, how do we decide what to learn and what not to learn?

Jesus said, "I am... the Truth." (John 14:6) He promised to possess his followers with his "Spirit of Truth" after he ascended into heaven, and he said, "When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)

On the basis of this, we have concluded that all learning must be good. It seems reasonable to assume that evil only comes from misapplication of truth, or from an unwillingness to learn the whole truth.

You cannot tell the "whole truth" without bringing Jesus into it sooner or later. But neither can you tell the whole truth by restricting yourself to theology.

True love and true learning must be two sides of the same coin.

If learning is not motivated by love, you will invariably mis-learn, limiting yourself to learning only what suits your selfish goals. On the other hand, true love is more than romance and emotionalism. It will seek answers that work... for the good of all.

True scientific method is consistent with this understanding of Christianity. It is built on such things as respect for past knowledge, and a willingness to question unproven dogmas in an effort to find the whole truth. There is no room for pride, greed, or fear to hide truth, nor is there room to promote something that is not true.

Obviously modern education has fallen far away from these ideals... as has modern religion. But the answer is not to become simpletons... any more than it is to become atheists. True science is the product of true Christianity; and we must seek to rediscover them both.

(See also In Search of Truth.)

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