Monday, May 7, 2012

Absolute Truth

I know that I have shared about an experience I had with a philosophy professor at West Point before, but it was brought back to my mind this weekend when Mary Ann and I were asked to share our testimony at another church. As we talked about it, and shared, I was struck that possibly my first real wake up to the fact that there might be absolute truth that was not dependent on my attitude toward it came in the halls of West Point . . .

I was concentrating in Philosophy, had no good thoughts or affection or belief toward God, and enjoyed tremendously studying the different philosophers, ideas about life, etc. I had dabbled in New Age in the past, and found intellectual discussions of different theories, ideas, etc., to be challenging and fun, but there was no urgency to them or any really conviction that any one might be right. It was fun, a game, a challenge to debate and see who was "smarter" or quicker. I loved it.

I remember, distinctly, studying moral relativism in one of my classes (which basically says that different morals and ethics are right for different people and cultures) and thinking, "That sounds fair/good/right." It made sense, each group or people should develop what was right for them, and that made it right for them . . . hence "right."

I shared my "conversion" to moral relativism with one of my professor and I will never forget the pit in my stomach when he, in all sincerity, talked to me in the hallway and said, basically, "Erick, if I truly believed you were a moral relativist I would do everything I could to get you removed from the academy." I was stunned. This wasn't a game, and it wasn't just about having fun debating ideas and philosophies. This guy was talking about something so real as being kicked out of the academy! Of having to go home to all my family and friends having been kicked out of West Point!

It was a true revelatory moment (though my surrender to Jesus was still years away) in which, maybe for the first time, I was confronted with the fact that there might not be "many truths" that were each right for those living them, but that there might be some truth that was absolute, and did not depend on my opinion or acceptance of it. Absolute truth . . . what a concept! This man was so convinced of the danger of a morally relativistic approach in the hands of someone who would be wielding power that he was prepared to put himself on the line and try and have me removed from West Point.

I have since found out that this man is a Christian, and I have since realized how right and "true" he was (and is). There are absolute truths and rights and wrongs—and truth defined by those in power, or the masses, is a "truly" scary concept . . . one that can justify about any horror or atrocity or abuse of power. Yet, in this day and age, how rare to find someone who is willing to put all they are on the line to stand up for truth, for a truth that is not relative, but that is true regardless of whether the whole world . . . or no one . . . believes it.

There is absolute truth, and we will all answer to it . . . and at that moment when we do our "opinions," or lack of opinions, will mean nothing. All that will matter is whether or not we embraced the truth. This applies to eternity—and to issues in life. It is not relative. There is no one good but God alone. All that matters is whether we embrace Him and His ways or not. All our best defenses, or procrastinations, or accomplishments will mean nothing if we aren't on the "right" side of truth. Call it intolerant. Call it unloving. Call it what you will. It doesn't change the fact that God is true, and His ways are right, and anything else is not. The most loving thing we can do is to stand for that fact, as servants of others, in love and humility and self sacrificing, no matter what it costs us, and in every area (Heaven, Hell, salvation, Scripture interpretation, lifestyle choices, habits, right, wrong, etc). We are dealing with far more than a few years here on earth. We are dealing with forever.

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