Summary: Second in a series answering the objections our culture brings against Christianity.
Answering Our Culture
#2 – There is No Absolute Truth
July 28, 2002
[NOTE: this message is the result of reading a number of different sources, especially True for You, but Not for Me, by Paul Copan (1998, Bethany House Publishers), and Rick Warren’s message, THE FOUNDATION FOR HAPPINESS – Exploding the Myths That Make Us Miserable. I have noted those sections that are borrowed from Rev. Warren. I offer this message not as the creation of mine, but rather as the result of research and compilation of materials from people who helped me say it better than I could have on my own.]
I want to start this section by reading two small passages from the Bible:
JN 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
JN 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
I will refer to these passages again later, but wanted to introduce them here, and I think that as the message progresses you will get a better understanding for them in the context of our discussion today.
How many of you growing up were taught about the tooth fairy? Can I see your hands. How many of you heard about Santa Claus? How about the Easter Bunny? All right, is there anybody here who was taught about the Great Pumpkin? Okay, a few of you, all right. How many of you were taught that you should always wear clean underwear in case you were in an accident?
Some things we can recognize immediately as myths, but some things aren’t as easy to recognize.
And it makes some people wonder if anything is really true, and has led many people to reject the notion that absolute truth exists, and to embrace the notion that all truth is relative.
In other words, what might be true for you, but not necessarily for me. In the spiritual sense, it would mean that I might believe Christianity is true, but it may not be true for someone else.
Well, why do people reject the notion of absolute truth?
There might be others, but I thought of three reasons:
They feel that absolute truth is too hard, if not impossible to find.
That’s easy to understand, especially when just about everybody and their dog is claiming to have “the truth,” and some people’s truth is different from other people’s truth, and so on.
After all, who do you choose – the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Jesus, or Karl Marx?
Too many charlatans.
Related to the first reason, but while there are many who honestly believe they have the truth, or at least access to it, there are plenty of people who exploit people’s desire for truth, luring them to spend their money for phony cure-alls for their spiritual need.
This is not helped by the Elmer Gantry types who use the Bible to pad their pockets in the name of Jesus.
It’s easier to believe in relativism, because there is no accountability to a standard.
If my lifestyle fits my personal definition of truth, then it’s okay for me, even if you think it’s wrong.
Today, I want to look at the implications of relativism and also explore some of the implications of the possibility of absolute truth.
Before we get started, I want to challenge you to be as open-minded as you wish Christians were to your point of view. After all, it’s hardly fair to expect something from someone that you are not willing to do yourself, is it?
I had to open myself to the possibility that I would find things that contradicted what I saw as the truth. I’m asking you to do the same.
You may very well disagree with me on these issues, and that’s okay. I invite you to contact me and we can talk in a civil manner, and I hope that we can become friends in spite of our difference of opinions.
Let’s start with the implications of relativism.
I. If truth is relative, then…
A. All spiritual truth is valid.
This means that all religions and philosophies carry the same weight. Christianity is no better than Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, or atheism.
This sounds real nice on the surface, because after all, shouldn’t we all just get along? Why can’t we just let everybody have their own faith and philosophy?
Let me answer that with another question: what do you do with spiritual “truths” that are mutually exclusive?
Example: Jesus claimed He is the only truth and only way to God – that no can come to the Father except through Him.