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A Word from Woody. . .
"The Irony on Truth Today"
This is not our parents’ world anymore. Change has come.
What has taken the place of the
view that truth can be found is the
view that Truth (with a capital “T”) does not exist. Instead, your
truth is just as correct as my truth. “Truths” exist, but not “The
Truth”; morals exist, but none that are absolute. Such a shift in
thinking on truth is on a collision course with Christianity where
Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
United Methodist pastor Rob Renfroe has recently written an
The Trouble with Truth,
on this very issue. He states, “As a result of postmodernism, our
cultural conversation concerning values has become even more
difficult. Some of us believe there are overarching spiritual truths
and moral obligations that are as valid today as they ever have
been. And we want to know what those truths are and how we can live
accordingly. But those with a postmodern mind. . . think
differently. Believing there are no universal truths, they do not
simply find those of us who do to be wrong. Many postmoderns find us
to be offensive. And their question is, ‘Who do you think you are to
claim that you have the truth?’” (p. 9).
There is an irony here, however, that can cause some confusion.
While the moral relativism of postmodernism seems to be ruling the
day, on a practical level everyone seems to
as if right and wrong, truth and error
New York City pastor Timothy Keller, in his book
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
(pp. 149-150), tells a fascinating story which reveals this irony.
“A young couple once came to me for spiritual direction. They
‘didn’t believe in much of anything’ they said. How could they begin
to figure out if there was even a God? I asked them to tell me about
something they felt was really, really wrong. The woman immediately
spoke out against practices that marginalized women. I said I agreed
with her fully since I was a Christian who believed God made all
human beings, but I was curious why she thought it was wrong. She
responded, ‘Women are human beings and human beings have rights. It
is wrong to trample on someone’s rights.’ I asked her how she knew
that. Puzzled, she said, ‘Everyone knows it is wrong to violate the
rights of someone.’ I said, ‘Most people in the world don’t ‘know’
that. They don’t have a Western view of human rights. Imagine if
someone said to you ‘everyone knows that women are inferior.’ You’d
say, ‘That’s not an argument, it’s just an assertion.’ And you’d be
right. So let’s start again. If there is no God as you believe and
everyone has just evolved from animals, why would it be wrong to
trample on someone’s rights?’ Her husband responded, ‘Yes, it is
true we are just bigger-brained animals, but I’d say animals have
rights too. You shouldn’t trample on their rights, either.’ I asked
whether he held animals guilty for violating the rights of other
animals if the stronger ones ate the weaker ones. ‘No, I couldn’t do
that.’ So he only held human beings guilty if they trampled on the
weak?’ ‘Yes.’ Why this double standard, I asked. Why did the couple
insist that human beings had to be different from animals, so that
allowed to act as was natural to the rest of the animal world. Why
did the couple keep insisting that humans had this great, unique
individual dignity and worth? Why did they believe in human rights?
‘I don’t know,’ the woman said, ‘I guess they are just there, that’s
all.’” Keller concludes, “People still have strong moral
convictions, but unlike people in other times and places, they don’t
have any visible basis for
they find some things to be evil and other things good. . . I think
people in our culture know unavoidably that there is a God, but they
are repressing what they know” (pp. 150-151).
So the irony on truth today is that many do not believe in truth
anymore, but everyone
as though truth exists. What does that mean for you and me?
Believers have a bridge, in a sense, into the world of unbelievers.
So how do we use this bridge in sharing the gospel?
I invite you to join a small group study this fall which will be
studying Renfroe’s book, and possibly Keller’s
book. In the meanwhile, you can find Refroe’s book on our book table
in the Parlor and begin reading it!
Yours in Christ,
Yours in Christ,