There is no absolute truth – or so some like to say.
I’ve been reading up on Nancy Pearcey’s book Finding Truth and highly recommend it. She would undoubtedly respond to the assertion by asking, “Is that your truth that there is no absolute truth?”
I first came across this concept while in the New Age, though I didn’t realize then how badly it was ingrained there. Nor why it even existed. The irony was that I was looking for answers in places which denied absolute answers. It took me a long time to finally get why I was perpetually dissatisfied.
Although there were some exceptions to the rule, NA teachers didn’t bicker over differences in teachings. The Yoga people sometimes got into skirmishes over who taught the most pure form of some yogic practice. But when it came to areas of “religion” and social behavior they were happy to “coexist” with one another.
As Pilate once said to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)
No one dared claim to have all the truth. There were no absolutes in the New Age – well, except for one. And this was that Jesus Christ was not the only begotten Son of God who came to die on a cross for the world. This was because (as far as the NA is concerned) there is no sin for which to repent of – absolutely not! The whole New Age structure would collapse under the weight of the single truth of sin.
When I left the New Age behind, the no-truth-concept followed me out into the world. If you pay close attention to common narratives you’ll notice that similar ideas of rejecting “absolute truth” have permeated many areas of our secular society today.
I eventually came across the word “postmodernism” and had to look it up. Note that definitions can sometimes be inaccurate or insufficient, but in a nutshell:
“Postmodern theory rejects the idea of absolute knowledge; believing instead that all human knowledge is subjective and can have no absolute meaning… [It] questions the idea that technological and scientific advancements, and the search for absolute truth, will better the world.”
This concept has swept through Christian churches and prompted responses by apologists like Ravi Zacharias who zones in on its true origin and mood. Many books have been written to address the problem of postmodernism in the church and its rejection of scriptural authority – e.g., see Telling The Truth edited by Don Carson.
One example of postmodernist thinking affecting Christians is how some churches are embracing same-sex marriage and homosexuality. When Pastor Rob Bell affirmed homosexuality in an interview, “nakedpastor” David Hayward praised him for not relying on Scripture:
“The bible is a collection of documents spread over a thousand years that itself is over 2,000 years old from an ancient culture no longer extant, and therefore should not be solely relied upon for a rule book for modern ethics.”
Hayward went on to say that there were more urgent matters to attend to: “war, poverty, hunger, racism, and the environment.” This same focus and narrative has been adopted wholesale by organizations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Church of Christ (among others).
Nancy Pearcey notes that after WWII postmodernism gained traction among European thinkers who suffered under the totalitarian regimes which justified evils like death camps. She cites Jean-François Lyotard as saying that the conviction that there is only one truth inevitably leads to terror (Finding Truth page 203).
So, postmodernists often champion diversity issues. However Pearcey rightly observes that postmodernists are mistaken to believe that the source of the problem is a commitment to any comprehensive truth.
Pearcey points out that in fact postmodernism “also leads to the coercive suppression of diversity.” This is because in reality “only select groups are singled out to represent diversity.” These groups are generally based on things such as gender, class, ethnicity, women’s rights (abortion), sexual identity and environmental issues.
Not only are some key groups left out but the championing of diversity also leads to forms of terrorism and threats of violence. Consider the case of Ben Shapiro who was invited to participate in a CNN panel discussion for TV. Things became very heated when Shapiro challenged the other panelists’ transgender narratives, especially regarding Caitlyn Jenner.
One of the transgender panelists, Zoey Tur (a male who identifies as a woman), took umbrage to Shapiro’s use of the word sir and told him: “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.” After the show there were general calls for violence against Shapiro posted on various social media groups.
Shapiro had committed the cardinal error of pointing out that Tur was, for all intents and purposes, a male. But facts and logic don’t matter where emotions reign. The “truth” must be fluid and therefore determined at any given time by those who aspire to influence your thinking.
According to Pearcey, Bruno Latour became concerned about the oppression of the postmodernism which he helped establish (Finding Truth p 206). He said the attraction of postmodern criticism is that it allows one to “pose as a superior thinker who humiliates naïve believers by deconstructing their beliefs.”
Despite objective “facts” postmodernist diversity is “always right” even where elements of “right” change. Furthermore one is required to keep in step with these changes. If you don’t share its definition of diversity it will likely be imposed upon you by censorship, penalization or force.
We see this occurring today in the Western war against fundamentalist Christianity. By fundamentalist I mean the Christianity which takes Scripture as God’s word. Christianity attracts the attention of the postmodernist diversity police who see it as a threat to be suppressed and controlled.
One isn’t allowed to appeal to biblical authority because it is an absolute which contradicts fluid postmodernist values.
Ravi Zacharias was right when he pointed out that postmodernism began in the Garden of Eden with the question: “Did God really say…?” It wants to redefine good and evil. Pearcey adds that at the fundamental root of all atheism, and concepts such as postmodernism’s denial of absolute truth, is the worship of some idol in the place of God.
The secular world not only resists God – it fights against Him.
In turn, God warns:
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Rev 3:17
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Rev 3:3
These messages were delivered to the Seven Churches of Revelation. But they are meant to be taken to heart by anyone who has an ear – before it is too late (Rev 13:6-9).
Lord Come Quickly!