Such is the immutability of truth, the patrons of it make it not greater, the opposers make it not less; as the splendour of the sun is not enlarged by them that bless it, nor eclipsed by them that hate it.
A Puritan Golden Treasury, compiled by I.D.E. Thomas, by permission of Banner of Truth, Carlisle, PA. 2000, p. 299.
You and I can discover truth, but we cannot create it. What’s true is true and what’s not is not – for all of us, all the time. Our culture views truth as something inside us, subject to revision according to our growth and enlightenment. Scripture views truth as something outside us, which we can believe or not but can never sway.
The Grace and Truth Paradox, 2003, Used by Permission from Eternal Perspective Ministries, www.epm.org, p. 39.
Public-opinion research points to a deepening paradox in society: the combination of commitment to religion with a deepening moral relativism. For example, while 91 percent of the American people consider religion very important in their lives, 63 percent reject the concept of absolutes.
When we move from the physical to the spiritual realm, fixed laws still exist. We cannot exist without laws in the moral and the spiritual dimension of life any more than we can do so in the physical dimension. Our Creator built morality into life. Just as there are physical laws, so there are spiritual laws….The same God who controls the physical world by fixed laws controls the moral and spiritual world.
It’s amazing how people can affirm that God is a God of order and absolute precision in everything He does in the natural world, yet believe He unconcerned about the moral world. The scientist in the laboratory operates on the basis that his chemical mixtures are not going to violate a known truth and blow the building to bits. The astronauts who blast off into space count on the absolute immutability and accuracy of scientific laws. If God is a God of law and order in the natural realm, He’s not going to say, ‘Oh, just do your own thing. Believe anything you want.’ Such inconsistency is absurd!
Many people…do not want absolutes in doctrine and ethics, simply because absolute truths and standards demand absolute acceptance and obedience.
Unlike modernism, postmodernism does not adhere to one fixed rule to determine the universal truth. Instead, it rejects the notion of universal truth altogether. In the postmodern worldview, truth can’t be fully known – and it might not exist in the first place. Instead, all truth claims are evaluated subjectively. What’s true for one person might not be true for anyone else.
Scripture testifies to its own inspiration; it is the Word of God, originating outside of man. This is particularly important to understand in a culture dominated by the subjectivity of postmodernism. Truth cannot be subjective; there is no such thing as your truth or my truth. Truth is forever fixed. Authentic Christianity has always held that Scripture is absolute, objective truth. The Bible is God’s truth regardless of whether a person believes, understands, or likes it. It is a permanent and universal truth, and therefore, is the same for everyone.
One principle that today’s intellectuals most passionately disseminate is vulgar relativism. For them it is certain that there is no truth, only opinion: my opinion, your opinion. They abandon the defense of the intellect; those who surrender the domain of the intellect make straight the road to fascism. Totalitarianism is the will-to-power unchecked by any regard for truth. To surrender the claims of truth upon humans is to surrender Earth to thugs. Vulgar relativism is an invisible gas, odorless, deadly that is now polluting every free society on earth. It is a gas that attacks the central nervous system of moral striving. “There is no such thing as truth,” they teach even the little ones. “Truth is bondage. Believe what seems right to you. There are many truths as there are (many) individuals. Follow your feelings. Do as you please. Get in touch with yourself.” Those who speak in this way prepare the jail of the twenty-first century. They do the work of tyrants.
Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital ‘T.’ Truth about total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality – and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth (Nancy Pearcey).
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity form Its Cultural Captivity, Crossway, 2005, p. 15.
Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about matters, justice and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers.
[Philosophical pluralism] is the ideology that refuses to allow any single religion or worldview to claim an exclusive hold on the truth. It denies that there are any absolutes. It insists that all religions and worldviews must be seen as equally valid…To suggest otherwise is to be arrogant and intolerant. No religion can claim to be superior to any other. You may practice your faith as long as you realize it is only one of many true faiths. If what you believe is true at all, it is only relatively true… [But] at the same time that philosophical pluralism denies other religions the right to lay claim to the truth, it presents its own worldview as the absolute truth… In the end philosophical pluralism’s dismissal of dogma turns out to be just another dogma.
The moral absolutes rest upon God’s character. The moral commands He has given to men are an expression of His character. Men as created in His image are to live by choice on the basis of what God is. The standards of morality are determined by what conforms to His character, while those things which do not conform are immoral.
We live in a world where truth is relative. According to most, there is no absolute standard to determine right from wrong because truth is ever-changing and subjectively suited to personal opinions and popular culture. Most want to believe this because at our core we want to be autonomous without any accountability and restraints. We want to be God. We want to be the sole arbitrator to determine right from wrong. So to bolster support for this driving tendency, many have used the Word of God for their justification. They have erroneously taken Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 not to judge as their shield for critique-free sinful behavior. It’s funny how they use our Lord’s words as a reason not to submit to the rest of our Lord’s words found elsewhere in the Bible! However, such a position is contradictory to the inherent understanding of societal function and clearly a false interpretation of what Jesus intended.
Truth is now simply a matter of etiquette: it has no authority, no sense of rightness, because it is no longer anchored in anything absolute. If it persuades, it does so only because our experience has given it its persuasive power, but tomorrow our experience might be different.