Several years ago I was studying with a young lady who was a student at the University of South Florida. She was not a Christian, but attending our services and expressing interest.
I always begin Bible Studies with non-Christians by establishing Bible authority, so I asked: “Have you ever taken a philosophy class at USF?”
“Yes,” she nodded.
“Did the professor ever say, ‘There are no absolutes’? inquired.
“Yes!” she exclaimed, “How did you know?”
I knew because our secular institutions in America today are not emphasizing and cultivating the Judeo-Christian morality as in years past. In fact, just the opposite. Colleges and universities are filled with professors who smugly proclaim, “There are no absolutes.” And young people believe it.
Our generation looks at Truth as being relative. They believe it’s judgemental to affirm something is absolutely right or wrong.
Richard J. Mouw, in Uncommon Decency, writes that at a gathering of seminary professors “one teacher reported that at his school the most damaging charge one student can lodge against another is that the person is being “judgmental.” He found this pattern very upsetting. “You can’t get a good argument going in class anymore,” he said. “As soon as somebody takes a stand on any important issue, someone else says that the person is being judgmental. And that’s it. End of discussion. Everyone is intimidated!”
In his book, What Americans Believe, George Barna reported only 28% of Americans expressed a strong belief in absolute standards. Barna concluded that nearly 3/4 of the American people believe that everything is relative and that man can set his own standards for right and wrong.
This cultural attitude has found its way into religion in general and people’s personal beliefs specifically. Josh McDowell reports about a survey of teens’ actively involved in their Christian youth groups. 30% agreed that there wasn’t any absolute truth. Sadly some even in the Lord’s church, are rethinking fundamental Bible beliefs.
In a blog post, Joe Heschmeyer says the “no absolute” assertion is self-refuting, “The claim “absolute truth does not exist” is either absolutely true or it’s not. But, of course, it can’t be absolutely true, since that would create a contradiction: we would have proven the existence of an absolute truth, the claim itself. Since it cannot be absolutely true, we must concede that there are some cases in which the proposition “absolute truth does not exist” must be false… in which case, we’re back to affirming the existence of absolute truth.”
Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). And what is Truth, as Pontus Pilate asked? Our Lord affirmed that God’s Word is Truth (Jn 17:17). Truth is divinely revealed. And is unchanging, unalterable, and unfailing.
However, if Truth is relative, then morality, as David Brooks expressed it, is viewed as “something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart.” This observation reminds me two Biblical admonitions. Jeremiah wrote,
O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (10:23). And the wise man warned, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov 14:12).
Relativism is wrong. The “no absolutes” claim is absurd. And the individualistic assertion that “what is truth for you may not be truth for me” is ridiculous. Not only that, but this type of thinking leaves us with a culture that is unsure, undependable, and unstable.
God’s Word is Truth. And Jesus came to earth as the epitome of Truth and made the bold claim “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6).
Truth as articulated by Jesus and the Holy Spirit whom He sent is unalterable. Unbending. Unbowed. Eternal. And immutable.
More than ever, parents, pastors, and preachers must instruct our young people based on Biblical values. Teach them God’s absolute moral standard. Be willing to grapple with their difficult questions. And more importantly, “walk in the way of righteousness” ourselves.
There are absolutes in life. That’s absolutely true.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman