Truth? Whose Truth?
Truth is, ironically, a very debated topic in this culture. You would think the truth would have only one true viewpoint (just basic logic, right?) but now people accept many truths, all of which usually contradict the other. They ask, “who defines truth?” and “who are you to impose your truth on me?”. It affects their view of the world, their relationships, and ultimately their sphere of influence. Right now, you’re probably assuming this is a limited problem, only affecting a limited slice of the population. Wrong. According to The Good Life by Chuck Colson, polls show that 64% of people in America believe there is no such thing as moral truth – and 83% of teens see moral truth as a pretense (p. 206, at least in the small group version). Take those numbers in again – the majority of Americans believe there is no moral truth, and a whopping majority of teens (the next generation of leaders, business people, doctors, lawyers, etc.) just believe the display of moral truth is fake. Wow.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise- at least with examples like Roe vs. Wade, and the nation’s universities suppressing any moral absolutes (see http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/University for examples).
It’s obvious (to us, at least) that the lack of truth in society has horrible consequences. Take 1930’s Germany, for example. It was the lack of absolute truth that allowed the Nazi party, and ultimately the German people, to advocate the use of eugenics (the science of improving the genetic composition of a population) which directly led to the extermination of Jews, Polish, disabled people, and other ‘less favorable’ groups. Anything sound like that today in America? Oh no, not at all…how could there be? Well, there is a start in that direction. Peter Singer, described by the New Yorker as “the most influential philosopher alive” was quoted saying, “All I say about severely disabled babies [most likely regarding autistic and downs syndrome children, which are usually actually seen by their parents as an immense joy] is that when life is so miserable that it’s not worth living, then it is permissible to give it a lethal injection … Why limit the killing to the womb? … Infanticide … should not be ruled out any more than abortion” (The Good Life, Colson, p.219). This is just one example of one person’s point of view – yet sadly depicts the view of the majority, if not now, later. Take the story of Amy Richards – featured in the New York times here http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/18/magazine/lives-when-one-is-enough.html, for another example. When she learned she was carrying triplets, she feared the change in her lifestyle (key word: her). The impact in her words? “I’m going to have to move [from the East Village in Manhattan] to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise” [emphasis mine, as I find it absolutely absurd]. What did she end up doing? “Selective reduction” (oh, that’s such a nice sounding term for KILLING TWO OF THEM). I can go on with more examples, but then this would turn into a 10-page rant. But I have a question for you – does this, or does this not, sound like the start of Nazi Germany, or perhaps The Giver by Lois Lowry? All this results from not having any moral absolutes – represented by 64% of America. Is the lack of moral absolutes limited to abortion? No, euthanasia is next in line. A 2002 Gallup survey showed 72% of Americans support euthanasia. These two cases certainly stick out the most, but the lack of a moral standard affects much more. Consider the standards of marriage – the nation’s founding fathers understood moral absolutes. They did not specify marriage between one man and one wife because they didn’t think it needed to be implied! To them it would be redundancy. It would be like saying “…right to life, from conception all the way until you naturally die, except in cases of unavoidable incidents – i.e. a tree falling on you, with no infringement upon this right in partiality or in whole, including but not limited to…”. They understood that there is a moral compass we are all subject to, a standard above our own. Why doesn’t our generation believe this? Why do even some of us struggle with it?
The concept of absolute truth puts control out of people’s reach. If there is a universal law or concept, it can’t be mashed up and distorted when convenient. Human nature is consistent in manipulation and denial, blame-shifting and justification. In the Garden of Eden, Eve believed satan and came into denial – “nothing bad will really happen if I eat it…” and Adam specialized in justification and blame-shifting – “the woman [blaming her] you gave me [blaming God] made me eat it [I had no control]”. Their perceived truths flew in the face of God’s absolute truth. Our society’s perceived truths, called relativism (“whatever you decide is right is right for you, but what’s right for me is what I want it to be”) still flies in the face of God’s eternal truths. The truth is knowable, but it’s not our own. We align to the truth, we don’t align it. The truth is straight from God: Psalm 25:5 – “lead me in YOUR truth”, Psalm 43:3 – “send out your light and YOUR truth”, Psalm 86:11 – “teach me your ways O Lord, that I may walk in YOUR truth”, Psalm 119:160 – “the sum of YOUR word is truth”, Isaiah 45:19 – “I the LORD speak the truth”, John 1:14 – “the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”. There’s many more examples, but we get the picture. Whatever God says is truth. Therefore to align ourselves with truth, and to “be true to yourself” (ahh, love that relative crap phrase…) we have to align ourselves with God. That is why truth is missing in modern society, as for years people like Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Dawkins have declared “God is dead”. Romans 1:20 tells us, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”. Everyone, if they are honest with themselves, knows that God exists. They may not know much about Him, but we are all born knowing there is a Higher Authority, someone who made this whole universe and determines how it runs. So now, denial sets in. Rather than change themselves, they try to cover up God’s existence, in their minds and others. They modify what they know to be true so they can administer what they want to be true. And in their wake, destruction and despair follow. That’s what’s headed for this world, because it as a whole has rejected God’s truth. It’s happening right now all over, and yes, even in the United States.
So, what is truth to you? Is it relative to the situation and the environment? Or is it mostly what God says, with the occasional deviation when the truth is too hard to swallow? I think all of us have been in one of these categories, and sometimes we slip back into them. Unfortunately for us, any deviation from the truth – God’s full truth – is a lie, and a lifestyle leading to death. But here is another truth I do know, a truth God has revealed, a magnificent truth: Jesus Christ, the Son of God and one with God, came down to this earth and lived a sinless life [operating in the truth] so that in His death and resurrection from the dead [yes, that’s true] we can accept His sacrifice for our sins [straying from the truth] and make Him Lord of our life [align ourselves to His truth] so that the original plan of God can be restored in which we have a relationship with and dwell with God [the author of truth].
The BOTTOM LINE: Find out what’s true, then live by it.