Skip to comments.The Offensive Truth: Relativism and Our Kids
Posted on 06/20/2007 8:58:09 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback
I was dismayed a while back when I learned that a Barna survey found that less than one out of every ten churched teenagers has a biblical worldview. But a survey is just that, a survey. Things couldnt be that bad, could they? Well, I recently heard a shocking story that vividly illustrates just how far relativism has infected the Churchto the point where Christian kids balk at the idea that Christianity would claim to be, of all things, true.
Four years ago, the BreakPoint staff and I launched Centurions, an intensive, year-long education program designed to equip 100 people each year to defend a biblical worldview and teach it to others.
One of our Centurions participants takes that call very seriously as she works with students at a local middle school. She sponsors a Christian club at the school, voluntary of course, and in accord with all the state laws. The students lead the club, and she mentors those leaders.
The club has been studying the ReWired curriculum, which BreakPoint created with Ron Luces Teen Mania. The DVD explores the four basic worldview questions: Where do I come from? Why is the world in such a mess? Is there a way to fix it? Is there a purpose for my life?
Everything was going fine until the group reached lesson 10. Lesson 10 leads the kids through a series of choices to learn to recognize the difference between matters of truth and matters of taste. One of the choices, believing Islam, Buddhism or Christianity, flashed on the screen.
Our CenturionIll call her Joanne, told me what happened next: The students went nuts. All but one of the eight leaders completely balked at the concept of distinguishing Christianity as true and other religions as false.
The next day when they met again, Joanne told the students leaders that they would not have to teach lesson 10 to other students if they didnt believe it.
Joanne learned that several of the seventh graders had talked to their parents or pastors over night. But the result of those conversations was shocking. One girl had written a paper that night on why we shouldn't hurt others feelings by claiming our way is right. One young lady had met with her pastor, who told her no one can be sure of truth. It is all perspective, he said. The students agreed that they should not offend others by saying Christianity is true. Only one was prepared to teach it.
While Joanne respected the authority of the parents and pastors, she encouraged the students to continue to consider the concept of truth, reminding them that Christianity--like Islam and many other religions--makes an exclusive claim to truth. She also reminded them that the words I am the way, the truth and the life . . . no man comes to the Father except by me, were Jesus' words, not hers.
What I find really shocking here is what this story tells us about the state of discipleship, not just of our kids, but of parents and pastors. This story is a wake-up call. We must learn what we believe, why we believe it and then instill it into our children, giving them a biblical view of all of life. We cant stand idly by while relativism undermines the faith of our kids and robs them of the one sure hope they haveand desperately need. Friends, if this story gets to you like it gets to me, its time we got busy.
The two predominate American worldviews at-a-glance:
View of God - Theistic (God Exists), Necessary Creator & Sustainer of the Universe.
View of God - Atheistic (God does not exist in the theistic sense), May have a non-theistic god or ‘higher power’
View of Man - Created in God’s image and place in a position of dominion over the rest of the earth and its creatures.
View of Man - Evolution Random Processes, single cell organism run a muck.
View of Truth - Absolute, truth is for all people for all time.
View of Truth - Relativism, what may be right for me may not be right for you. Extended implications are for the cultural and for different eras of time.
View of Knowledge - Knowledge is gained through general and special revelation from God. General as it applies to creation and all the sciences, special as it applies to Biblical revelation of the nature of God. General is subordinate to Special.
View of Knowledge - Naturalistic Materialism Only through scientific exploration. Nature is a closed system. Thus those that have a non-theistic view of a god, have a god that resides inside of this natural closed system.
View of Ethics - Absolute
View of Ethics - Cultural and Negotiable
Eating meat is a sin. And casting moral judgement over sexual pairings is a sin. And not paying “your fair share” to the state is a sin. And living in a nation that consumes more goods than the average is a sin. And waging war outside of your borders is a sin. And protecting your borders from tresspass is a sin...
Excellent post; thanks!
See my post #40. The line between taste and truth can be blurry. I do not like any theology because I do not believe that any religion reflects the complete truth. Peruse the FR threads on Islam, and you'll see that most here (including me) find Islam to be both untrue AND distasteful.
If Colson wants to instill his beliefs in the next generation of children, he doesn't need to re-examine those beliefs, but rather the ARGUMENTS in support of those beliefs. Maybe the majority of kids today finds the usual arguments in support of Christianity incomplete, circular, dogmatic, incomprehensible, or otherwise inadequate. To non-believers, Christianity as a whole, and the many teachings within, are not self-evident. There's a difference between the Declaration of Independence, which reads "WE HOLD these truths to be self-evident" (because not everyone did), and Colson's position, which is basically, "Christianity IS self-evident, and non-Christians are moral relativists." Maybe the kids are uncomfortable - as they should be - with Colson's implication that you can't be a good person unless you're Christian. If he can't adequately explain why, he'll keep losing more and more students.
And your point is...? Are you calling me a socialist because I’m not a Christian and because I lampooned Colson’s particular claim to a monopoly on truth??
...and don’t forget the anchovies!
“What I run into is that tolerance trumps truth.”
Quite so. Our modern society has raised tolerance to be the highest of all virtues. If you can say someone is “intolerant” you are well on the way to winning any debate. Concepts like “truth”, “justice” and “common sense” get steamrolled by the tolerance shiboleth.
I think many are only “cultural Christians.” They celebrate the holidays and accept the Judeo Christian sense of right and wrong. They aren’t quite sure that everything in the bible is really true or relevant.
The number of people who believe the bible is the “literal truth” is only a small percentage of those who believe in Christianity.
It is possible for folk to be what is known as a deist, (someone who believes in the Christian message but has arrived at that belief by some kind of rational or logical thought process of reason and/or deduction) but primarily Christianity is a religion that is dependent upon personal revelation. Christians are Christians because Christ calls them and makes them Christians.
You cannot PROVE Christianity is true. That’s not to say that its positions and arguments are not defendable (throught what is known as apologetics) but because the truth of God is dependent upon the wisdom of God, and not that of men, that is really rather irrelevant. Think of it this way. If I cannot argue successfully to you that God exists, does that mean that He doesn’t? Does He promptly disappear in a puff of logic? By the same process, I could argue that YOU don’t really exist, and that all the posts under the name of Freedom_no_exceptions are being made by an alien from Mars. I mean, theoretically that could be true. I don’t know who is sitting behind that screen, neither does anyone else on this board. The only way you could prove you really are you is by coming round to my house and showing me the keyboard scars :) (This is not a challenge incidentally. I’m a believer. I actually DO think you are there!)
I believe Christianity IS true. That doesn’t mean that I think it has a monopoly on truth. If a Buddhist was to say to me “two plus two equals four” I’m not going to go away and abandon all mathematics as heresy. There is “truth” to be found in all religions (and all political theories for that matter) but that doesn’t mean they are all equally valid. Sure, all religions are superficially similar, because they are all asking and answering the same kind of questions (the big ones, life, death the universe - that kind of thing), but to say they are “equally valid” or “the same” is like saying George Bush is the same as Bill Clinton because they are both politicians.
The issue here is moral relativism. If people are being taught that nothing is absolute, and everything is equally valid, then yes, that protects them from bigotry. But what proponents of this approach forget is that if nothing is wrong then by consequence nothing is right either. And that is a VERY dangerous line of thinking to have instilled, either in the body spiritual or the body politic. What this article is really getting at is how far our culture has moved along that road already. You can bet your bottom dollar no mosque is teaching that Islam may not be the only truth.
Of course, even moral relativists do have absolutes - its just that their absolutes are different. They believe absolutely in tolerance and equality, after all :)
A statement about truth is one which is wrong or right in a sense utterly independent of humanity. To say “Buddhism is correct” is a truth statement, even if it is wrong. To say “Buddhism is great” is not a truth statement.
God save your souls.
I had a conversation with someone recently (a 30 year old woman) who had no religious upbringing. But, she was telling me all about how she believes “a little of this” and “a little of that.” Basically, she takes what she wants from different religions and makes up the rest. Then she teaches it to her son. Well, I gently pointed out to her that those religions that she was picking and choosing from were in direct contradiction with each other and that it really was not possible to take what you want from a particular religion and mix it with another since the individual religions don’t allow for that. Then, for an example, I told her that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” and she was stunned. “HE SAID THAT???” She didn’t know that and was very surprised. I told her that you can’t be a Christian and believe that other religions are valid. You should have seen the lightbulbs go off in her head.
This is an excellent commentary by Chuck Colson!
Christ was nonjudgemental and His purpose among us was not to judge us- but people sure get confused by that, when they overlook His repeated sermons about the judgementalism that awaits us all by the Father!
“Christ was nonjudgemental and His purpose among us was not to judge us”
You are correct in that He came not to judge, but it is not because of the judgment to come, it is because we have already been judged.
17”For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19”This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20”For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21”But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Mission accomplished. Who says schooling doesn't work?
Twenty years ago, college professor Alan Bloom wrote, in The Closing of the American Mind, "the only belief that entering freshman hold in common is that there is no such thing as absolute truth." (Great line, mediocre book)