Have you ever wondered whatever happened to right and wrong? As our culture shifts toward condoning behaviors it once condemned, so does its language. It should come as no surprise to even semi-attentive observers that truth as we have known it is under siege. It is under attack on multiple fronts by a seemingly endless barrage of political rhetoric along with social ineptness through isms; such as postmodernism, relativism, experientialism, and philosophical naturalism to name a few. Truth has seemingly become less and less either because our perceptions of reality are so distorted, and truth has become so decomposed, relative, subjective, and vaporized that we are simply unable to recognize it anymore.
When you consider people no longer objectively define truth, it is not hard to understand why truth is becoming unrecognizable. Truth today more and more is subjective almost totally based on an emotional conundrum of diminished justifications. It is now a commonly held belief that truth is relative. Truth is more of how an individual or group feels or perceives circumstances or situations even if their reality lies more in fiction than fact, even if it goes against established societal laws. The real question behind what is right and what is wrong is “What is truth?” Can anyone really know “the truth”? On the other hand, is truth subject to human interpretation? If you cannot define what is true, then you cannot determine the difference between right and wrong. Is truth absolute, or does it vary according to circumstances and opinions? Is it merely a philosophical argument?
While the moral and values of our world continue to change with every whim that comes along, laying a foundation on what is here today and gone tomorrow, good in one instance bad in another, right for them but wrong for others, basing our beliefs on the illogical I am afraid is like trying to walk on quicksand. This is not the first time truth has been questioned, or even under attack. Centuries ago, Pontius Pilate then governor of Rome ask the question ‘What is truth?’ – John 18:38 Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” has echoed down throughout the winding roads of history. Although seemingly logical, the question itself overlooks the fact that many things can have truth, but only one thing can actually be Truth, and it must originate from somewhere.
The problem may not be truth at all but in its application, as is often the case with philosophical verbal gymnastics. The book of Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” If we really, want to determine and know truth apart from cultural and personal preferences, we must acknowledge that we are then looking to discover something greater than ourselves, something that transcends culture and individual inclinations. We must be willing to look beyond ourselves and outside of ourselves.
For many years, most people believed that telling the truth, not stealing, being faithful to your partner, being kind, keeping your word, forgiving people who’ve done you wrong, and not murdering were absolute truths. If people disobeyed these truths, they knew their actions were wrong. This is not the case with most Americans today. In our pluralistic society, all opinions all the time have equal value. The public rhetoric is “I have my truth, and you have your truth… so who are you to judge?”
The Bible tells us that regardless of what we “believe,” our actions have consequences. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” In this passage, God is saying, “I’m God. I choose what is best. I call the shots.” We can choose not to believe what God says about truth, human sexuality, and wisdom, but this does not mean that His word is not absolute and true. That is why when we violate God’s truth – regardless of what we believe -we reap painful consequences.
Ironically, Pilate was asking a very interesting question to the only one who could respond – so was it a matter of fact desire to know what no one else could tell him, or a cynical insult to the only one who is the very Truth the world continues to seek today? In a postmodern world that denies that truth can be known, the question is more important than ever for all of us to answer. What or Who is Truth?