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Real Answers™
sh57
Copyright: © 2010 Shaunna Howat
620 words

ABSOLUTES DO NOT EXIST -- ABSOLUTELY

By: Shaunna Howat

We are an amazing generation. Within the last fifty years, we have landed on the moon, developed technology that enables us to connect instantly to friends and family around the world, pour out endless streams of entertainment of all varieties and tastes. However, no matter how savvy we’ve become, we still, in our darkest moments, wonder about truth, about our purpose in life, about reality. My high school students wrestle with these subjects regularly.

 

For one essay assignment, a student pondered a problem with perception of truth: relativism. She asked the question, “How do people define truth?” However, she did not look at the relativism of the secular mindset. She looked at how relativism has begun to capture the Christian mind. The statistics are stunning.

 

A 2002 Barna survey shows that while 64% of all adults say that truth depends on the particular situation they are in, a larger-than-expected proportion of Christian adults agree. Fully one-third of Christian adults believe there is no such thing as absolute truth (Barna.org). Truth, they say, depends on the circumstance.

 

If I rely on my own mind to evaluate and measure truth, I will always fall short. My mind is faulty, and I make mistakes all the time. How can I rely on my own judgment to discern right from wrong? I need an outside, objective guideline and measuring rod that does not change with the times or float along with the winds of whimsy and popular culture. Where will I find that measurement standard?

 

My student writes in her essay:

 

More and more, people absorb the ideas of the age, perfectly comfortable in accepting the fact that they will happily coexist with opposing worldviews – even mix them. In order for real discussion to proceed, people must realize the need for truth…One must admit certain facts in the physical world. If a person denies a table’s residence in the middle of a room and attempts to walk straight across the room, assuring himself the table does not exist because he does not wish it to, he will still crash into the table, possibly sustaining serious injury. Thus it is in the metaphysical world. Some thoughts find their basis in truth, while others grow out of falsehood. Once convinced of the existence of absolute truth, the discussion can go into which worldview entertains that truth. But the establishment of reality proves the first step to finding the proper belief.

 

Even Christians, the author maintains, run the risk of error in deciding truth for themselves. Truth exists, whether I want to acknowledge it or not. Like that table in the room, truth is there, and I must choose to accept or deny it. If I deny it, I will get pretty badly bruised when I try to maneuver through the room.

 

Denial of the truth can get pretty silly at times. Ayn Rand, though an avowed atheist, nevertheless acknowledged the futility of denying absolutes. She writes in Atlas Shrugged, “How do you know what’s good, anyway? Who knows what’s good? Who can ever know? There are no absolutes—as Dr. Pritchett has proved irrefutably.” A reader might chuckle and say, “Absolutely?” However, humorous or not, this is what many folks say as they march along, blithely ignoring that truth really exists—it sits right in front of them.

 

Absolutes do exist. Right and wrong cannot switch places just because we find them inconvenient or uncomfortable. Thus we encounter step one toward renewing our minds: admitting that on our own we cannot “make our own truths.” As we move toward accepting our unreliability in measuring truth, we discover the Author of Life, the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and look for his perspective, because it is absolute.

 

Shaunna Howat is the author of high school curriculum Biblical Worldview Rhetoric 1 and 2 and teaches Rhetoric and worldviews classes at The Potter’s School, an internet-based classroom. She serves with The Potter’s School as Academic Coordinator as well. She blogs at http://writingrhetorically.com.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

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