In today’s spiritual climate, it is more important than ever to settle in your mind the principles that you are going believe and to live on.
An important question for Christians answer is about what statements or values are going to hold your life up and define meaning in a world with few absolutes?
In the words of A.W. Tozer a life without essential truths disables the ability to know anything for sure. He says, “If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning”
The reason that this is important to Christians and non-Christians is that the lines of meaning blur so selectively. In the 21st century, the milieu of popular ideals about tolerance advocates open-mindedness about everything except definable truth about God. Fanky Schaeffer, points out the unbalanced way that tolerance applies to Christians in contrast to other groups, sects, and ways of life and makes this point about inequity very clearly. He says, “The secular humanist, although he would never dream of committing the social faux pas of calling a black man a negro, feels perfectly free to castigate Christians and their leaders in any way he likes”. The disparity in this point of view is indicative of a one-sided tolerance that is demanded like the men of Sodom beating on the doors of Lot’s house who demanded the right to corrupt God’s messengers who came to rescue Lot and his family. Consequently, the point that Schaeffer makes draws attention to cultural blindness that has become so darkened that the moral darkness has lost its meaning without something to define a tangible reality.
One of the important questions to ask is what is the difference between the modern age that we live in now and the postmodern age?
In the modern age, the first half of the 19th century; truth was discussed, debated, and even fought over, because it brought meaning to existence. In contrast, in the postmodern age, many people do not even believe there is such a thing as timeless truth. A significant difference is the great presence of darkness and the absence of a paradigm to give a spiritual voice to the great issues of the times that is balanced against truth apart from humanism, sociology, and cultural anthropology. As a result, the way we are already seeing that in 21st century culture today is how the personal nature of truth is applied without balance. For instance, What is right for you may be wrong for me. What is right for me may be wrong for you. What is true for you may not be true for these people. There is no such thing as truth. It is just a figment of your imagination. It is all an illusion.
You may hear people say things like “there are no absolutes. Therefore, there is no absolute right and there is no absolute wrong in anything. It’s just what you want it to be.” The message that resonates is that there is never anything that is sure and there is never anything absolutely wrong –perception and cultural relativity and the great diviners or truth. As a result, whenever I hear someone say that there are no timeless principles of truth, I want to say, “Are you absolutely sure? That statement in itself is an absolute –it is a circular argument.
We are living in a generation where many people feel like tolerance is more important that truth
The rationale goes something like this; you do not have to tell the truth you just have to be tolerant of every behavior as an acceptable choice no matter what absolutes may be in question. As a result, the supreme value today is not truth, but tolerance based upon group-think or collaboration without a standard, authority, or voice that stands apart from cultural relativity. Tolerance has become the new absolute truth for a culture that has no absolutes.
In today’s culture when you decide to say, “Here are some principles to live by, ” this is always right and this is always wrong”, you are going to wear the labeled of a bigot, hater, or as intolerant. The moment that anyone has the courage to stand up and express the personal conviction that says something is right or wrong as a Christian value, then you’re labeled a fundamentalist, a bigot, a nutcase of some kind.
There is something more important than tolerance –Truth
In fact, it is not tolerance that sets you free –It is truth that sets you free. The only way to refute ignorance is with information that is balanced and just at the same time. A truth to consider is that you can be very easy, tolerant and at the same time build your life on a total lie at the same time. Something to think about is that if there is no such thing as truth, then …
One, there is no basis for any law because there is nothing universally moral to base it upon
Truth that is relative to the person and is a matter of personal opinion and based on mores’, current societal values, or personal feelings of entitlement. To illustrate the absurdity of this position imagine think about this: If you are driving down the freeway and somebody wants to blow you away in a drive-by shooting, is that ok, because it was “right for them, felt good, or was acceptable in a special class of people?” Obviously, a sound conclusion that is well supported by rational thinking is if there is no universal basis for laws that govern or prohibit identifiable behaviors deemed as wrong there is no moral truth in the culture that is timeless or universal. Therefore, without a moral standard of timeless, universal principles if somebody wants to take your life they have a right to based on this premise.
Why? … When there is no such thing as timeless universal truth, the only thing to balance life is what feels normative in human experience.
Two, if there is no such thing as truth, then else nothing matters
There is no meaning in existence, there is no significance, and you do not matter. The absence of universal value actually reduces the personal importance of individual life. A conclusion could be that humans are are no more than primordial ooze that evolved through millions of years by accident into a social setting that is called life existence.
Three, if there is no such thing as truth then there is no solid ground in life.
If it is just a matter of “that’s your opinion; let’s just get along”, then you have absolutely no principled way of forming a solid foundation from which to base your life values to reflect a Christian worldview. Using tolerance as the diviner of truth reduces Christianity to being a vassal of pseudo-intellectualism imposed by the popular views of secular social beliefs within groups as norms. A fundamental question for Christians relates to the foundation that is chosen to build life existence upon.
Jesus told a story about two builders that illustrates the choices. He said, two people went out and built homes. One person built his home on shifting sand. Moreover, when the storms came along, that are a inevitable part of life, and the rains hit it and the winds battered it; the house fell apart because it had no solid foundation to stand upon.
However, there was a person that Jesus labeled as wise, who built his house on solid rock, a solid foundation. As the story goes, the winds came and the storms blew, the rains came down; it remained solid because it had a stable foundation.
The moral of the story is that people need principles to live by to make life secure. One of the challenges in the 21st Century climate of culture is that stability is quickly washing because a firm footing has blurred the lines of truth so dramatically and has been replaced with popular opinions of a pagan world that is spinning reality to match social phenomenon. In the world where we live, Almost every institution in our culture is crumbling. Our government is grid locked and paralyzed with ineffectiveness. The net effect is that church has been put in a reactionary position while the men of Sodom are pounding on the door demanding the right to corrupt the messenger of God.
A symptom of the absence of absolute beliefs about morality is the symptomatic pattern of evil that abounds in the world. In the land of the free –America, there are more metal detectors in schools than there are in airports and jails combined. What does that indicate about the absence of values and principles in a society that has reduced the importance of absolute values to the doctrine of tolerance without balance.
In a society where things are crumbling all around us, how do you have hope? How do you be optimistic without truth to balance life?
The answer is in what Jesus said, “Everyone who hears My words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” To be on the rock and have a solid foundation The point to take from the teaching of Jesus is that the Christian church needs principles of truth to live by to provide a solid foundation to live effectively.
- Francis Schaeffer (1912 – 1984) on the purpose of apologetics (deovivendiperchristum.wordpress.com)
- A.W. Tozer : When Fish Catch the Fisherman (thechristiangazette.wordpress.com)
- Rachel Held Evans and the New Liberals (defendingcontending.com)
- 08.13.13 “Theoretical Centrists” (gnofleas.wordpress.com)
- Postmodernism (youthapologetix.com)
- “Think About It” Questions (res511.wordpress.com)
- A.W. Tozer : Selective Scripture Screening (aneededword.wordpress.com)