Friday, June 01, 2007

The Misinterpretation of Truth

Relativism is the cultural norm in America today. It teaches that there are no absolutes, and the only real truth is what one finds within himself. This way of thinking has so ingrained itself inside of our culture, that many analogies used by Christians over time to communicate absolute truth are now misinterpreted.
For example, many have said that the Bible is a roadmap for your life. This is no longer an appropriate statement for today’s culture because it is interpreted with a tainted perception of reality. Perhaps 10 years ago, when one heard the statement that the Bible is a roadmap, it would have been interpreted as “the Bible is the roadmap.” Even though it is not technically what was said, it is most likely how it was interpreted. Today, most would probably agree that the Bible is a roadmap. And that is how it is taken.
Many Christians, especially evangelical Christians have waged a war on relativism. It is nonsensical, and even dangerous to orthodox Christianity. However, one must now be very clear on how truth is not only communicated, but interpreted.
The Bible is not a roadmap. It is the roadmap. The Bible is not a guidebook, it is the guidebook. There are no other maps or guidebooks that contain the truth that is divinely inspired from scripture. Its truths are absolute and unchanging. One cannot choose which parts are true and relevant, and which parts are not. One may, however, choose what parts to believe or not believe. There is a colossal difference between believing something or not believing something, and it being true or not true. Truth is not and will never be dependent on belief, even though that is the thought of today’s culture.

3 Comments:

  1. ~c. said...
    I consider the Bible THE roadmap, but not THE ONLY roadmap (I also include family lessons, trial-and-error, and common sense to be other roadmaps that I often consult and appreciate). Like any roadmap, the Bible maps out paths that I would never follow, such as murdering a man to get his wife (which the Bible allows David to do). Of course, if I were not an avid traveler, calling the Bible the roadmap would not be relevant to me at all (that reality is by no means tainted).
    Brett Royal said...
    I partly agree with the above comment. I agree that family lessons, trial and error, common sense, logic, etc. are valuable for learning and living life. However, there is no divine revelation in these things, and are subjective (different for each person). If there is a conflict between what you feel is right, or what past experience has taught you, and what is clearly revealed from scripture, then scripture wins every time. The Bible is the Only Roadmap to a relationship with the one true God.
    I disagree that the Bible "allowed" David to commit adultery and murder. It was David's own sin and depravity that led to these things.
    Dave said...
    Brett I almost agree 100%. The relativist point-of-view has been around for a lot longer than 10 years.

    Sadly, the horrors of the World Wars of the last century killed the optimism of the enlightenment. And the scientific "discoveries" and technological advancements called into the question of a need for and even the existence of a god.

    The hippies had a utopian dream, but it was fueled by sex, drugs, and new age universalism and paganism.

    Our universities are no longer the bastion of "free thinking' but rather radical left-wing extremism and the relativism you talk about. The modern world (and especially religion) is taught to be interpreted through the lens of "what it means to me". The universities teach that man was ignorant and has screwed up everything in the past, but we are so much smarter now, and we can judge how things out to be, as if we can learn the lessons that our forefathers didn't, simply by overlaying the assumptions of our culture over their situations.

    But this is false. We need to understand, why they did what they did, to understand why they failed, and why certain historical lessons weren't learned from their perspective, not ours.

    But alas, we are doomed to fall as a country. We see ourselves as the center of the world, as the all importnant country, and we worship some non-existent ideals of liberty and justice that is inherent in the American way of lilfe.

    The relativist doesn't think they sin, because they are looking through the lens of a self-centered pleasure. But as 1 John points out, if we think we don't sin, then we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. That simply put is the problem.

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