Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Truth - Part One

We celebrated the greatest single event of Christianity just a few days ago…so now what?  Are we at all changed, or are we different for a few days after, but then go back to the mundane of life?   As believers in Christ, we can’t ever go back, we must be always moving forward.  I say it’s time to take a risk and be bold in a “whatever” world.  I’ve been reading a book by Sean McDowell, the son of Josh McDowell.  It’s inspired me to urge all of us on to engage the culture with the Truth of the Gospel.  

Speaking of truth, that is where all spiritual conversations should start.  We need a basis for building our case for Christianity.  Deep rooted in the hearts of men and women is the awareness that truth is the bedrock for life. 
Without truth we live in a world of tragedy.  We are on a journey where we have the choice of following truth or experiencing tragedy.  More feelings have been hurt, lives have been lost, and damage has been done because people sidestep the truth.  The apostle Paul tells us that people perish because they avoid the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10).

Truth is a compass for our lives.  We need a standard in our decision making.  This standard is truth.  Truth, like a compass, helps us make wise and informed decisions.

Truth has consequences.  The Christian faith, as well as its rivals, essentially contains claims about the world, which are either true or false.  In addition, competing worldview truth claims have very different consequences for life.  In C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity he writes, “We are now getting to the point at which different beliefs about the universe lead to different behavior.  Religion involves a series of statements about facts, which must be either true or false.  If they are true, one set of conclusions will follow about the right sailing of the human fleet; if they are false, quite a different set.”  Your view of relationships, sex, money, and the future all depends on your view of truth.  

The commonsense view of truth is “telling it like it is”.  But what most Christians don’t realize is that many people change this definition of truth when they start to talk about morality.  There are three types of truth: subjective, objective and absolute.  

Subjective truth is based on preference or feeling and can easily change.  It’s like choosing a flavor of ice cream.  One person might like strawberry, and another person might like vanilla.  There are no right or wrong answers in subjective truth, just personal preferences.  

Objective truth is based on the external world.  One plus two equals three is an objective truth.  Similarly, moral choices are choices between what is objectively right and what is objectively wrong.  That’s why we feel guilty when we make wrong moral choices as opposed to wrong non-moral choices.

If we stop and reflect for a moment we realize that our entire existence relies on standards.  A society without standards is in disarray.  In order for a society to thrive there must be common standards of conduct.  The standards set by our government are merely conditional standards.  They can be changed by the people who set them.  However, we need to realize that our conditional standards point to a higher standard beyond our control – an absolute standard.  We can measure distances by inches, feet and miles.  But can we change the distance from the earth to the moon?  The standards of distance, as well as many other standards, point us to a higher standard – an absolute standard, beyond our control.  Absolute truth is true – whether or not anyone believes it.  Absolute truth is true – whether or not anyone follows it.  Absolute truth is true – whether or not it is discovered.  Absolute truth is true – whether or not it “works” in the way we want it to.  Absolute truth is true – whether or not we agree with it.

In the coming days, I’ll blog the second part. 

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