Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

My Photo
Location: Redway, California, United States

Friday, February 12, 2016

Personal Values Replace Truth as the Necessary Standard of Faith & Life

It is now necessary to reach lower in order to share the Christian faith effectively. Cultures and societies around the world continue to devolve, spiraling through a pluralistic – post-modern reality, and consequently philosophical tolerance has become an acceptable substitute for truth as a standard for determining one’s values. Simultaneously tolerance for a wide array of individual values, regardless of their origin or basis in truth, has become the plum line for civility and for the most part this lack of standards has become its own standard. This state of disintegration of standards goes well beyond the post-modernism of the early to mid-20th century, and has now become what I am calling post/post-modern.  Post/post could be described as a world where the only civil discourse must be based on the most extreme definitions of tolerance, where any allusions to absolute truth are either questionable or plainly dismissed as fiction. The relativism that infiltrated every subject taught in our primary schools in the 1050’s and 1960’s has come to full bloom. I am suggesting here that this is not just the case in the secular philosophical academia any longer. Those primary school students are now our senior citizens and among that generation these attitudes prevail. It has become the acceptable condition of the workplace, our churches and on the streets from Calcutta to California. 

As a pastor, Christian apologist and street evangelist who has served in many cross-cultural situations around the world, it is plain to me that most of us are not just being propelled toward this worldview, but that we are living in it currently. While Christians holding themselves out as evangelicals would never embrace this confession openly nor perhaps express it publically as a way of life, the choices many of us make reveal this “post/post” world is where we live, where we work and unfortunately, where we are most comfortable.

Lest we think these issues have no real world implications, consider that recently there was a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The neighbors to those that carried out the attack said that they knew something sinister was going on in the house and garage where the attackers lived, but would not tell anyone, for fear of “someone thinking they were profiling”. I would simply suggest that when, as a people, we fear telling what we know could save our own lives because we do not want to be seen as “intolerant”, it might be concluded that the consequences of speaking the truth is feared more than the possibility of death by tolerance.

That said, the tools we have used as Christian apologists for a number of years that presume people believe in truth, that anything is knowable, or that there is one true reality, may now need to be re-adjusted in order to once again begin where people now actually live. In 19___ Dr. Norman Geisler adjusted his now famous10 points that show Christianity to be true to 12 points. He said at the time that this had to be done because the culture had digressed so far that we could no longer presume that people believed that truth about reality was knowable. Today (2016) it seems that even the phrases: “absolute truth”, “one reality” and “knowable truths about realities” are questioned if not totally dismissed as naïve concepts. 

In the 1960’s there was a small sub-culture that said they believed in “sex, love, and rock & roll.” Everything else in their lives became subservient to these values. These self-proclaimed “hippies” were held together from Woodstock and beyond by this common value system (ie: sex, love and rock & roll). This movement, based on these values, grew and has had a major impact on our society and on every modern culture. This is just one example of how one small group’s values has replaced the necessity for truth’s existence. Sex, love and rock & roll were the core value and everything else in life adjusted to fit that paradigm. When this kind of replacement morality takes hold tolerance is king and any self- proclaimed value could become the core upon which any individual person can justify any lifestyle without fear of being chastened or ridiculed in a healthy tolerant society. One can become a “Jewish/Buddhist”, a “Christian/Anarchist”, or the “only member of the ‘Mother-God’ Society” without much concern of being questioned. In fact those that have such singular beliefs are often considered intellectuals, brilliant or just free thinkers. In a “post/post” world even the idea of polar positions or antithetical thoughts are primitive, constraining and un-necessary walls that separate otherwise loving people. 

It is with this understanding that we now suggest the following preamble to the long held 12 points:

1. If truth exists, it has value

2. Not all values are equally valuable

3. Truth exists

4. Values predicated on truth about reality are by definition more valuable than those rooted in personal preference, tradition or any presupposition alone

Truth about reality is knowable… (the beginning of the 12 points).