We live in a world where people believe there is no absolute truth. All religions are considered equally true. All hypotheses about reality are considered equally viable. We have an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality. Anything that is new ‘must’ be better! Every thought, idea, view is right until proven wrong. Although that is good in a court of law, when taken to the realm of ideas, it has gone too far. We say the sky is the limit. We see nothing as impossible, just not yet possible. We have seen so many technological advances that we believe in time all things we can imagine will be a reality. The only idea that is considered absurd is that something could be indefinitely impossible.
But can all religions be true at the same time? Can all ideas about reality be true at the same time? Is every new idea, thought or view to be accepted as viable until proven absurd?
All religions cannot be true at the same time. Consider these religious truth claims.
- Atheistic – The world does not need God. Science and evolution have proven God unnecessary. Man is the measure of reality.
- Pantheistic – The world is made up of God’s stuff. Everything that exists is physically a part of God. Ex. Buddhism, Taoism.
- Panentheistic – Everything is inside of God. Ex. Buddhism.
- Deism – God exists but is absent. God created but then left the world to run on its own.
- Theism – God is infinite, intimate and loving. God is the creator and is infinitely invested in the world. Ex. Christianity.
How can all of these be true at the same time? Each of them make a truth claim about the reality of the world and God, be it God’s existence or the lack thereof, and they are all contradictory claims. It is logically inconsistent for any 2 of these religious views to be true at the same time.
Truth cannot be relative. The idea that something can be ‘true for you but not for me’ is logically inconsistent. Consider the following.
- On September 11th, 2001 the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by 2 airplanes. That statement has a truth value that is absolute. It is not true for one person and not another. Its truth value is not in any way dependent upon someone’s belief.
- Naturally (not colored) green meat will make someone sick if they eat it. That statement has a truth value that is absolute. Spoiled meat will make anyone who ingests it ill. Its truth value is not dependent upon someone’s belief. It is true for all people.
These are arbitrary examples, but they make a point. Truth is not truth because someone believes it. Truth exists apart from belief. Truth exists whether we believe it or not.
In the same way new is not always better. Just because someone can think something up, does not make it a reality, nor does it make it tenable. Ideas that run contrary to previously established norms do not deserve equal merit until they prove themselves to be of equal merit. Just because someone can think something up, does not make it a reality, nor does it make it tenable!
All of this goes to say, I had a conversation with someone today and they were presenting an alternative theory of reality. As they presented their idea, I asked many questions and pointed out how this idea ran contrary to other points this person claims to hold as part of their worldview. In the discussion this person became frustrated by my questions and observations and told me that I needed to come closer to their view. I needed to see things from the perspective they were presenting. They told me I should not be so closed minded and that in order to have a conversation about this topic that I needed to step out of my perspective and into theirs.
I’m not sure how many of you have experienced this kind of situation. I would imagine many have, even if you did not realize it, but I’m here to tell you that you do not have to give up your worldview or perspective on reality in order to be open minded and have a conversation with a person of an opposing view. In reality, if you were to step into their perspective, if you were to drop pieces of your worldview in order to have these conversations, then you are doing something they are unwilling to do. This person was unwilling to drop their perspective and step into mine, in order to see what my points were. Why should they expect me to drop mine? Why should I move away from my perspective, when the view I hold has been widely accepted by a significant amount of the population, for thousands of years, whereas the view they were presenting was a theory they were coming up with on the fly.
Worldviews and perspectives on reality should not be held to just because one has always believed it, but that does not mean that they should be abandoned simply because someone presents an alternative view. A worldview that is cohesive, sticks together without contradicting itself, and pars with reality should not be abandon simply because an alternative has been proposed. New views and ideas are not right until proven wrong. They are not to be accepted as reality, while throwing out a perfectly rational existing explanation, unless proven irrational. Rather the burden of proof is on the new idea.
Consider the following:
- Someone proposes a new system of government. They believe that the existing democratic system of the US is not ideal and proposes an entirely different system that would eradicate any similarities to the current system. In response, do we simply drop the democratic system that has existed in the US for over 200 years for this alternative innovative theory simply because it has been proposed? Of course not! If we would not uproot our societal structure simply because an opposing theory has been proposed, why should we uproot our worldview, which is the structure through which we understand the world, on such a whim?
Those that present alternatives to the Christian faith are the ones who bear the burden of proof. They do not have the authority to overrule the Christian faith simply because they exist. The truth claims in the new view must prove to be more reliable and cohesive then the Christian worldview before one is expected to give them serious consideration.
All this is to say, my dear friends, when confronted by those who question the message of Christ, hold tight. Just because you might not have an answer for their question, just because you may not be able to disprove their argument, that does not discount the worldview of Christ. That does not make the message of Christ unstable. The Christian worldview is cohesive, it pars with reality and it has stood the test of time. Broaden your knowledge. Seek the answers to the questions your friends are asking in order that those answers might strengthen your faith and convict your friend in the reality of Christ. Hold fast to your faith for it is in the creator of all that exists, not the mind of man!