Saturday, June 14

Absolute Truth, arrogance or fact beyond ourselves?

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty…For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:16, 21)

I spent most of the day thinking about what my friend, who was to have been a mentor for me in the pursuit of the Calling, had to say about my blog on the "emergent" movement, its leadership, and authors. Within his reply, I found both admonishment and thoughtful reflection. Although I’ve posted his comment to stand alone, I do want to speak my peace about some of what he said.

I continue to be somewhat troubled by statements made of "How arrogant of any of us to presume that we have “perfect truth” in spite of our personal prejudices, our upbringing, our cultural context, and information passed down through the generations. If we have Perfect Truth, then we are right and everyone else is wrong" and "Jesus didn’t have to be “right” nor did he have to prove anyone “wrong”."

Seems to me that I am hearing often lately the words intolerant and arrogant, just because I believe what I believe, live what I believe is the faithful pursuit of God and take offense at such terms as ‘hijacking’ and a statement that leads me to believe that my belief in the end times is nothing more than flights of fancy for a mind that has to be deceived into doing things my beliefs call me to do.

It all comes down to Truth.

Because I believe the Truth, that absolute truth that defies any attempt of man to change it, is something beyond my complete ability to defy it, alter it, and claim it as something I've created. I cannot create truth, in that way that defies someone else from coming along and changing it. I can define truth in relation to me, but then again I run into the wall of 'cultural community' bringing overwhelming weight in changing it to reflect the community's opinion as a whole.

I agree with my friend's argument that the emerging movement has taught evangelical born-agains some of the things that we have neglected, just as the Mormons have taught us about the passion of evangelism. Or the service they perform as part of their faith. Neither does the awakening of the emergents to social justice, etc. Some of everything is based on good, just as vampires are based on a disease that made people act like the myths. Does that make their definition of God correct? There are a multitude of papers, historical documentation, errors, and logical thought that show an overwhelming preponderance that they aren't correct. Just as the vagularities of the emerging church in reaching into pagan, or as my friend called them, pre-nicean beliefs. To what standard to we, as Christians, hold them? The emergent movement would have us include them, Hindu, Tao, occultism, and other religious traditions in our definition of truth.

Does that mean that we should believe in the Dracula we’ve seen in the horror films?

Who chooses what is included and what is rejected? Are we going to stand upon the mistruth of the Nicean Council as stated in the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown and follow the scholarly book of the Holy Blood, Holy Grail?

Are we going to define God according to our understanding of Him?

Or the Mormons?

Or the Islamics?

I don't believe that the entire journey of a evangelical Christian is only to revolve around the thought of 'end times', where Christ will come back to reclaim His own; from the Creation that groans to the faithful who remain on the earth upon His ride on that white horse. I never said that was the offense to which I took the statement by Brian McLaren. I took offense because he decided to ridicule my beliefs as an excuse to fool myself into reaching beyond my sinful nature to a higher standard to which God calls all Christians.
I don't know, though I tend to think along the pre-trib lines, whether the Faithful will be raised up before, during, or after. Therefore, McLaren's statement of ridicule to those who believe like I do that the end times prophecies are only that bedtime story that we tell ourselves to help fool ourselves into doing the other things that believers in Christ are called to do is insulting, at best, and arrogant at its worse.

I didn't say that the 'end times' were to be the focus of the Christian. Yet, that is what I'm admonished about. I didn't say that the emergents weren't doing some good things. Yet, that is where I am called to account.

I said the core was rotten.

And, if the branches are bearing what looks like good fruit, one should be able to look to the core of the tree to see the same health displayed. As Christ said, if the core is healthy, then the tree will bear good fruit. If the core is rotten, isn't it part of the logical deduction that the fruit would be rotten also?

Truth stands beyond an ability to modify it to our culture, our morals, and our wishes.

And, then increasing desire to understand truth takes us beyond our humanity of self-preservation, self-motivation, and self-edification. Even though we may believe that our house will burn down tomorrow, we continue to struggle to conform to this effect, cleaning our room despite our depressed outlook on the future of its existence.

We become increasingly aware that we are not in control. The house may burn down tommorrow or it may not. We may not even have the right to live in that house come the morning and so set fire to it ourselves out of spite.

The Truth, realized, means that we aren't right, can never be 'righteous', and are beyond the ability to force our own views upon another. The views we subscribe to stand beyond our personal prejudices, upbringing, cultural context, and even information that is taught from generation to generation. It is something that stands above our own sinful nature and understanding and stays the same in the changing cultural landscape.

Only the Truth can force itself upon an unwilling subject. Then, in accordance with our 'Free Will', we can either deny it for what it is or accept it unaltered. But, whatever choice we make, it still exists. It still remains.

If we reject the Truth, then we spend our time rejecting those who believe in it and spend an increasingly verbal violent means to force them to reject that belief. Yet the Truth continues to exist, continues to operate and run things according to its own definition. It remains, even if we try and reject its premise.

For those who accept the Truth, adopting its validity into the core of their lives, an awakening and understanding starts to grow. It becomes more and more evident in the experiences of those who reach into its core. It remains unaltered, and its believers become altered as they grow more and more understanding of its viability and solidity as something they cannot claim as their own but can only value, emulate, and seek its underpinnings in the unexplainable.

How do we know it is not 'our truth' that is that which we believe is the "Truth"?

Does it stand beyond any inconsistencies? If it doesn't, if the 'truth' changes with the cultural demands of the society that subscribes to it, how can it be anything other than human origin?

Once slavery was believed to be okay, since the black man was considered inferior, only a small step beyond the monkey in intelligence, and incapable of having a soul. Today, we only have to look back into the annals of human history to discover the un-truth of a premise on which slavery was claimed to be 'okay'. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, and the Tecumseh Airmen, among others stand as greats within our human culture. And society as a whole has abolished this practice of slavery of Africans and other races as inhuman and morally wrong. The truth of slavery changed as the culture changed. Yet, the unaltered Truth of the value of the African remains the same, in accordance with the standard of consistency. "All Men are created equal" and "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Once, a man stood before others who belonged to the same ethnic background to which he was born, grew up in the same culture that he, himself, had been raised, and had the same societal values written into his psyche. He declared his race to be the 'master race' and in full authority to rule the world, and destroy those inferior to that ethnicity. He began an ethnic cleansing that he believed, along with his fellow countrymen, to be correct as his truth defined it. The world opposed this man and his 'axis of evil', offering the blood of their youths upon the field of battle in defiance to his truth. To this day, ethnic cleansing is an abomination to the world and is opposed wherever it rears its ugly head; Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. The Truth remains unchanged, only the truth as defined by another was changed.

So, how can we discover this Truth?

“There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute,” the online free encyclopedia Wikipedia states. And the subject is hotly debate by more intellectual minds than mine.

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