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An essay donated by Kathy Johnsen LaPan

Postmodern Relativism vs. Ultimate Truth

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The Barna Research Group recently polled American public high school students. They discovered 70 percent of those students believed there is no such thing as "absolute truth"; that truth is relative to each individual.

Truth is defined as "being defined by facts". How, then, do we have a majority of high school students stating that truth is defined by each individual? How can people be subjected to the same set of facts and create their own truth there from?

The postmodern era began a time of subjective reality. Is it wrong for a man to steal bread, ran a common debate, if it is to feed his starving children? Is that less wrong than if he steals it from spite of the baker? What if he steals it because he suffers from a mental illness, like kleptomania? Is that more or less wrong? Who decides right and wrong? Are morals standardized, or relative to individuals and to the circumstances?

One of the main objections non-Christians have to the Christian faith is the idea of ultimate truth. It is offensive, in today‚€™s politically correct society, to state your beliefs as being the only truth. People state they believe in "their God", they‚€™ll find "their truth"‚€¶ as though God is malleable and can be changed depending upon what each person wants Him (or her, in some cases) to be. To paraphrase a popular book, man makes God, not the other way around.

As a Christian, to accept other faiths as being truth is to negate my own. It also diminishes the other faith. Christianity is not the only faith to claim to be the ultimate truth; most do, and for a Hindu to state Christianity is also a way to salvation is to diminish the Hindu‚€™s faith, as much as it contradicts the teachings of both faiths.

Our Western culture has taken the idea of self-determination to a breaking point of murder being permissible with the "right"¬ reasoning; rampant sex, drug use, alcoholism, and divorce in the search for one‚€™s own "happiness"¬ (at the expense of other‚€™s); a sickening bombardment of products designed to make you "happy". We‚€™ve taken the "pursuit of happiness"¬ beyond anything Thomas Jefferson could have ever imagined.

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Jesus is quoted in John 14:6 as saying:

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

He was very clear this was an absolute truth. He did not say, "unless going through me makes you uncomfortable, in which case you can take the roundabout route and find what makes you happy". In fact, happiness was not mentioned in the question of salvation. It is not considered.

I propose that our Western post-modernistic relativism is based on this idea of happiness being the point or goal of life. It is acceptable to desert your husband and children for another man, if it makes you happy. It is perfectly okay to have sex with a stranger who you just met in a bar, as long as you enjoy it. Your happiness makes it okay. Everything is okay, if it makes you happy.

The Bible does not allow for such relativism. There is an absolute truth, and it does not change depending upon your happiness or your opinion. This is because the Word of God comes from a God who sees right and wrong, not "personally fulfilling"¬ or "reaching my happy place". The 10 Commandments (which only a small percentage of the American population can even list, let alone follow) were just the starting place. These were not mutable. "Do not covet" means don‚€™t covet‚€¶don‚€™t look at Pamela Anderson with lust; don‚€™t watch Ford commercials and compare the shiny truck Mike Rowe is shilling with your own serviceable vehicle; don‚€™t watch pornography; ‚€¶you get the idea.

There is a right, and there is a wrong, and they are not capricious. There is a truth, and there are lies‚€¶and our culture has been drowned in so many lies it cannot accept truth when it is presented. Truth means giving up something that might make me "happy". Truth means that someone else has to be wrong, and that is not politically correct. Feelings may be hurt. People may not feel "inclusive".

There is a path to inclusion, happiness, and correctness: Faith in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the light. This path has been available for almost 2,000 years and it remains open to all who are willing to put aside relativism and their own personal "take" on the facts, and to be obedient to a loving God who has given us a moral compass that protects us from ourselves. It protects us from the tricks and games of Satan (who uses lies disguised as "reasoning" to convince us our happiness is ever so much more important than giving our children a complete home, and that it is not worth our time to work on ourselves to fix our marriage‚€¶the problem can‚€™t be me, anyway!) It protects us from lies disguised as philosophy that tells us truth is relative, and you can find your own God, in your own way.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."- John 8:31-32

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Read more at:

"Bible Verses about Truth: 20 great scripture quotes," What Christians Want to Know, at:

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Originally posted: 2013-JAN-17
Latest update: 2016-AUG-14
Kathy Johnsen LaPan
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