Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is Truth Important?

Does it really matter if we believe truth is relative? What difference does it make if I say something is true in the absolute sense or is just true for me? Does not the end product look very similar?

Now we need to understand that no one really believes in relative truth. If I get up in the morning and flip the light switch, I expect the light to come on. If it does not, I conclude something is wrong. I do not expect it only to come on at random intervals. Now no one knows in any given case whether deep down the person who claims to hold to relative truth really does. They may surprise you, or even themselves, in finding out under test that they really believe what they profess. But the whole tendency of relative truth is to undermine depth of conviction. To produce people who are more likely to give up or modify their beliefs under pressure. It allows us to avoid having our beliefs become quite real. But a conviction that will not stand firm under pressure is no conviction at all. It is when the chips are down that we find out what we really believe.

Also, Christianity is the one belief in the world that can least afford to embrace an idea of relative truth. If you are advocating keeping a moral code, you can try to claim that it does not really matter who originated it or where it came from. If you are embarking on a program of social reform, you can try to make the same claims. If you are only interested in a mystical experience, the content of that experience may not matter. You can try to claim that all that matters is these things are true for you. But Christianity says that God has invaded history to break the power of sin and death. If this is not in the absolute sense true, it is great folly and our faith is a game. And the general tendency of relative truth is to move us away from this basic truth. But to do so is to give up the very essence of what Christianity is.

Also, to believe in relative truth is to walk along the edge of an abyss. You may come to really believe it. For you see, if truth is really relative, nothing makes sense. And while no one can fully believe this, you can go a long way in that direction, ending up with a world that is absurd. I know, for I was headed in that direction before God turned me around. But if this view leads to a world that cannot be understood, where we cannot know anything, should we not reject it out of hand? Whatever is real, it cannot be this.     

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