Recalling and totally trusting

Posted: August 3, 2012 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Uncategorized

One of the main points of discussion of Total Recall is the issue of reliability.

Now I will not get into too spoilery territory, although if you have seen the original movie there is likely not much different in this remake regarding the philosophical issues. So get your brain in the funky looking machine and let’s go!
Can I trust my memories? Can I trust what other people say about me or to me? This matter of authority and trust can be quite complicated; depending on whom you ask, you can go to seriously skeptic roads doubting everything, and maybe even the very fact that we are automously doubting. Our goal is not to get into deep epistemological discussions, as fun as that might be. We want to look at something related; the idea of trusting sources of knowledge.

We all take for granted that we can trust what most people are saying; we know people lie, but in our normal day-to-day interactions we do not assume that people are lying. Besides that, we generally trust our memory; we are aware that sometimes memories get fuzzy and we at times notice that we are mistaken in what we remembered, but we are not generally distrustful of what we remember. What if all this was taken from us though? What if you had a neurological disease that confused your memory to the point of being unsure of what you remember? What if you knew people have a high probability of speaking lies to you? How would you go about in this world?

Curiously, although because of God’s common grace the situation is not as bad as I described, we must know that it is in fact a little like that! First of all, people are deceitful; they may not lie to you all the time but they may withhold truth, twist facts, hide agendas and so on. Second, our own hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). This means that you are often engaged in self-deception! After the Fall every human mind was affected, in the heart rebellion against God we turn to falsehood and idols to avoid dealing with the crystal clear truth about God’s existence and holiness (Romans 1:18-25). This means that by nature you are in the business of convincing yourself that what you know about God from general revelation to be false.

How do we know what is true then? We need to trust in an independent external source that is completely reliable and who is able to communicate with us in a way that we can understand in spite of the above mentioned limitations. We need God and his Word. God has revelaed himself in the Bible, and in this way we can be assured that those truths contained in the good book are reliable information. From the Bible we can, by God’s grace, build a worldview that allows us to comprehend the world we live in, communicate and build knowledge. The Bible teaches us that we are deceitful so we also watch for that; carefully checking our findings about the world and ourselves against what the Bible says. We can rest in the knowledge that God is able to communicate to us what we need to understand. To do this he uses language of condescension, baby-talk if you will. He speaks to us in a way that allows our sinful-fallen minds and rebellious hearts to comprehend. Let me suggest this book in case you want to blow your mind and worship, it deals precisely, and beautifully, with such issues.

The believing heart rests on God’s revelation and seeks to think God’s thoughts after him, knowing that in the cluster of deceitful hearts that surrounds we can trust him to make sense of it all.


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