Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Battle of Ideas

In our relativistic age, the Christian claim to absolute truth is scorned. I understand the frowns. Here is a group of people claiming that somehow everybody else is wrong and they are right.

It's valuable though to realise that the position of relativism is not necessarily natural and the worldview that has brought this about has been steadily streamed to us. Take for instance, the view that homosexuality is wrong. I'd hazard a guess that most of those who now accept it did not start out that way. We have been told through Hollywood, through school teachers, through government laws or through newspapers that homosexuality is acceptable and those who disagree are carefully painted in a certain way. Take a look at the characters in movies and television shows that are "homophobic" - they'll never be the leading character with whom everyone sympathises.

To deny that the media have influenced our positions on issues like homosexuality is a heavy claim. Remember the claim that children have their personality or opinions formed by the age of six. There's a lot of truth in that, but we really have to ask is: what hand is at work to form them? What opinions are being taught and where do those opinions come from?

What becomes very clear is that it is simply not possible to live in a world of complete relativism. When a government makes a decision on whether to raise or lower taxes, it ends up making a fixed decision. It cannot lower and raise them at the same time. There is a concrete decision (even no decision is a decision) and there is a concrete reason for that decision, ranging from anything to an economic framework or a personal influence.

There are so many different viewpoints that are just not compatible. Ultimately, one viewpoint becomes dominant and becomes the basis for making a decision. Quite simply, we're in a battle of ideas.

When the Christians stand up and make a claim that their viewpoint is better, they're no different from others who make exactly the same claim. To say that no one can claim absolute truth, is a claim to absolute truth. How can you know absolutely that there is no absolute truth? That different principles can sometimes apply in different situations is valid, but in those different situations absolute truth exists. When you stop and think about it, the claim to complete relativism or the void of absolutes is completely ridiculous.

The real question is not whether a claim can be made, but what claim is made. Before you question a Christian stance on a certain issue, remember that the opposing stance is also a claim to absolute truth, and then evaluate not whether a stance can be taken, but which stance is better.

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