A recent religious survey on what people believe asked the question, “Is there absolute Truth?” Sixty-six percent of adults responded they believe “there is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct.” Seventy-two percent of those aged 18 to 25 expressed this belief.
In a recent series of more than twenty interviews conducted at random at a large university, people were asked if there was such a thing as absolute truth – truth that is true across all times and cultures for all people. Most of the respondents answered along these lines:
- “Truth is whatever you believe.”
- “There is no absolute truth.”
- “If there were such a thing as absolute truth, how could we know what it is?”
- “People who believe in absolute truth are dangerous.”
The responses to these surveys are fairly typical of North America. As one writer suggests, we “drift on a tide of uncertainty into a sea of unknowing.” In this climate, to suggest that you might be right about your beliefs and that others might be wrong is about the greatest offence one can commit. Marilyn Monroe summed up her life philosophy this way, “I believe in everything – a little bit.”
Part of a poem entitled, ironically, “Creed,” goes like this: “I believe that each person must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. I believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.”
There is an obvious connection between truth and faith. If there is no “true truth,” what is there for us to believe?
Well… people then can believe anything because it does not make any difference. And that is increasingly the case. In the past, the progressive view of faith was, “There are many paths up the mountain.” Today, the new idea is, “There are many paths up many mountains.” Or, as some people are asking, “Why can’t everything be true?”
There are voices of protest. Michael Novak has declared, “The most critical threat to our freedom is a failure to appreciate the power of truth.” Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, writes, “In the absence of truth, power is the only game in town.”
The biblical view of truth is based on the belief that “God Is Truth” and Jesus came to reveal the Truth. During May and June, the preaching and teaching at Kingsview Church will focus on “Ancient Truth for Today,” a series of sermons from the Book of Joshua. The central challenge of that book is, “Choose today whom you will serve.”
The context and the issues are different but the challenge of who to serve and what to believe still faces us today. The ancient truth of God’ Word is the focus of our faith and makes all the difference in what we believe and how we live.