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What is Truth?

January 19, 2017
1 + 1 does not always equal 2. Or so they say. To prove this counter-intuitive assertion the mathematician constructs an elaborate process to solve simple arithmetic as if it was a complex algebra equation. After much mathematical manipulations the number wizard proves one plus one equals zero, or maybe one, one but never two. (The mathemagician also doesn’t mention the error in his calculations.)

Another method remains for those not willing to do algebra. The simpler method is to assert that one plus one equal one zero.  Two plus two can equal one zero zero or one one. This process can continue indefinitely as long as the adder is willing to change the base of the numeric system, preferably without telling his unsuspecting victim. Replacing the decimal system with the binary or trenary system(or as they are called now, Mod 2 and Mod 3) results in different answers. This trickery is just word games disguised as insight.  Much like the modern identity crisis.

The current insanity that allows a person to profess a biological identity based on their present feelings is rooted in a worldview that believes the lies of flim-flam men peddling ideological snake oil. The present worldview is built on intellectual error, twisted definitions and philosophical sleight of hand. To preach the gospel in this age the Christian should have a basic understanding of the obstacles presented by the presuppositions of his audience.

Everyone has a worldview that has been shaped the culture’s prevailing worldview. A person’s worldview is the intellectual, emotional, philosophical and spiritual grid through which he filters all his perceptions. A worldview is the underlying set of assumptions that shape a person’s understanding of the world. Everyone has personal variations, anomalies and inconsistenicies in his wolrldview, but most people hold to one of three major worldviews.

The oldest of the three worldviews dominating American thought is modernism. The majority of the population today does not hold to a modern worldview, but modernism still shapes the conversation about truth and knowledge. Modernism believes truth is real, authoritative and can be found through an objective logical, rational or scientific process. Modernism claims truth is discovered. This mindset has not been entirely rejected. It can be found most easily in the scientific and rationalistic communities. Those born in America before the 1960’s grew up in a modernistic culture.

Following modernism is the aptly named postmodernism. This system rejects the absolute nature of truth in certain areas of thinking. Post-modernism cannot consistently relativize truth or it would reject all scientific conclusions including the law of gravity. Very few people are willing to go so far in their thinking. Postmodernism particularly rejects absolute truth in regard to morals, behavior and religion. According to postmodernism there is no overarching measure of truth and right. All statements of truth are contingent on perspective and situation. Postmodernism asserts that all truth is relative. Postmodernism rose in American in the 19060’s and now shares cultural dominance with its predecessor.

Following postmodernism is a worldview that has not yet been named. Some have called it critical realism (not to be confused with the philosophical approach known as critical realism) and others have called it post-postmodernism. It is a very individualistic form of critical relativism that declares truth is determined by the individual and is true for him alone. Truth is personal. Truth is not necessarily relative because what the person deems to be true is absolute and unquestionable as it applies to that person at that moment.

Determinations of truth are rooted personal feelings. This is not say that truth is  emotional. Truth is not found by discovery, reason or circumstances. Truth is found in passion, longing and desire. The self-determination of truth occurs in the part of the human being which the Bible calls the affections. The person feels truth in his heart which then tells the mind and body what must be real. The identity debates are the logical outworking of this worldview. Gender is not relative or absolute. Gender is not based on biology, environment or personal history. Gender is based on the person’s present feeling about his identity.

This last worldview accepts other truth statement as true only as they apply to the individual making the truth claim. One can define his own gender but not another’s. All truth is accepted provided it is not imposed upon others. Truth has become a personal opinion without authority or imperative outside the person holding the view of truth.  This worldview surged to the forefront of thinking during the 2000’s, and now millennial determinism seems poised to dominate culture for at least the next generation.

Besides being a fascinating synopsis of today’s dominant worldviews, what is the point? Understanding how the unsaved culture views truth helps protect the Christian against erroneous worldviews. The postmodernist needs to know truth is absolute. The millennial determinist needs to know truth is authoritative. The modernist needs to know truth is revealed.

Understanding the basic principles shaping the thinking of others helps the Christian communicate truth more clearly to the unsaved. Christians do not seek to understand the culture so they can then highlight those parts of the Bible which are most likely to appeal to the secular mind. Christians must understand the culture to communicate truth with maximum clarity to a culture ready to misconstrue the claims of the gospel.

Christians need to recognize the challenges and obstacles to the gospel present in contemporary mindsets. We can not gloss over those parts least likely to be believed. We do not seek unnecessary offense or controversy for controversies sake, but we must be more careful to be clear with those parts of the gospel likely to contradict popular opinion. Gospel truth must be presented with clarity and compassion. We seek to articulate the gospel in such a way that the truth will be rightly understood by those who hear us. The Christian’s desire is for the unsaved to believe the gospel, not what they think is the gospel.

The truth of God transcends culture, time, place and human opinion. His unchanging truth has been revealed to men through the Word of God. The Bible is powerful exposing the wickedness of men. The Holy Spirit works powerfully through the Word of God convicting and changing the heart of men. The gospel will always be the power of God unto salvation. Whether the prevailing mindset is ancient or modern, scientific or mystical, pagan or Christian, the truth of the gospel must be proclaimed clearly.


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