This article is going to be for the more mature readers; not as in "mature audience" to warn of pending pornography, but mature in the sense that of having grown into wisdom by living a life of "knowing" right from wrong.
When Jesus stood before Pilate in a "trial" to determine his crimes, the Governor tried to have Jesus admit He was committing some crime against the Roman authority. Jesus was talking about a kingdom, but not a kingdom of this world. In the Gospel of John, chapter 18 we have the following account: 18:36 Jesus replied [to Pilate], “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 18:37 Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 18:38 Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:36-38)
That has been the age-old question. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is studied in universities around the world. He was a German philosopher who looked at the paradigm of absolute Truth in the model of relativity. He described an idea (thesis) as being affected by the "antithesis" of that idea or belief, that eventually evolved into a "synthesis." From that it became a new idea or belief. Of course this is oversimplified and understated, but the paradigm shift proposed by Hegel was significant. It represented a shift from the Absolute Truth to a relative truth that was situational at best.
Ethical behavior was changed from "sin" to relativism. Relativism defined simply is the belief that concepts such as right and wrong, goodness and badness, or truth and falsehood are not absolute but change from culture to culture and situation to situation. The standard that was based on the Absolute presence of God was "synthesized" to a new concept that "God" was anything that could be developed by any culture or society. No longer was it an Absolute Law from God that one human may not murder another, but killing could be tolerated under certain circumstances and redefined depending upon the situation in which the "murder" was carried out.
In fact the Laws that had previously been believed as "God's Laws" were simply suggestions that had to be viewed within the context of society, culture and situations. Society could "borrow" those "suggestions" but had the authority to change them to meet the newer standards relegated by the relative power derived from either the force imposed by totalitarianism or from the rule of any group of individuals who agreed to some stated standard. From within that paradigm shift even the Church began to change.
In Europe and the United States even the secular societies continued to believe in the God of the universe and essentially knew right from wrong. For nineteen centuries after the Ministry of Jesus on earth sin was still relegated as being wrong because it was perpetrated against God. But with the philosophical values ushered in by Hegel even the common man began to believe that "right" was measured by a shifting standard and could mean anything each individual wanted it to mean. Sin continued, but it no longer had the authority or sting of having been committed against God, but against the standards of another man whose values were less noble.
Entire societies began to emerge with a synthesized set of values that long-sense had discarded Absolutes that the God of the universe was in control. Truth became unstable and relative truth became king. That which had been fundamentally wrong became right in the eyes of many. Nazism, fascism, socialism and communism became the new, relative truths that provided the rule. But within that rule came a justifiable truth that allowed atrocities to live within the framework of legalism within the boundaries of Nationalism.
Nazism relative truth allowed for the extermination of over six million human beings of Jewish faith. Fascism relative truth allowed for the destruction of basic human rights, property rights, religious rights and the rampant destruction throughout a society that destroyed tranquility and joined with the Nazi relative truth to plunge the entire world into a war. Socialism and communism relative truth joined to destroy a host of societies to a totalitarian rule that resulted in millions of lives being lost, fatherlands being destroyed and human bondage being forged that lasted for a hundred years.
Atheism found a home nestled in the secure establishment of relativism as well. It became fashionable to decry the presence of God in anything. No longer did God live on the earth among and in mankind, but He was not living anywhere in the universe. "Science" became the new god that Atheism could embrace. With each new "discovery" or each new "theory" that railed against a Creationist God, relative truth won the day. Evolutionary Theory replaced Bible reading in the public schools. Biblical authority gave way to a theory that had been relegated as "fact" even when proponents agreed there was a "missing link."
Today in the Western cultures and societies the fact of an Absolute God with Absolute Truth is laughed off as a myth borne by uneducated, backward simpletons who must use a crutch of "religion" to make their way in a sophisticated world. The consistent, incremental movement toward the attack of Christianity in America is following the same patterns it did in Europe.
Christianity in America is being maligned and marginalized each and every day. The new relative truth god is more than materialism, or even atheism, it is sophistication and snobbery. It is people who have become smart in worldly content who have "grown" above the Absoluteness of God. In America, in the educational systems, political systems, scientific circles, economic systems, social systems and even the religious systems, mankind has finally planted the flag of superiority deeply and squarely on the summit of the Tower of Babel.
There is only one thing they are forgetting: Absolute Truth continues to reign supreme in the universe. God is not dead; God is still alive and well. In the Gospel of John we catch a glimpse of what Truth is with the words of Jesus. He said He would be leaving for awhile, but we would know Him and He would not leave us alone: 14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7)
Jesus continued to tell about the One whom He would send: 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 14:16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you." (John 14:15-17)
Finally, Jesus prayed for His followers to be set apart in the Truth of His Word: 17:16 "They [disciples] do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. 17:17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. 17:18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world." (John 17:16-18)
Make no mistake about it, it appears that Absolute Truth is dead and gone, however, we need to remember that Truth is in this world and is living within the heart of each Christian who has committed his or her life in the Lord Jesus Christ. The work that He has done by giving Himself on the Roman cross to be a sacrifice to forgive sins of each person who accepts Him is the Truth, the Absolute Truth and nothing but the Truth. Even if most of the seven billion human souls living on the earth choose not to believe that, it does not alter it as being a fact: Jesus is the Absolute Truth!Jim Killebrew