Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pluralistic Possibilities?

It appears to be a predominate way of thinking to denounce any truth claim that purports to be the only truth. The preponderance of pluralistic possibilities tends to lead to the simultaneous acceptance of contradictory truth claims. Or by chance a person does adhere to one truth claim and not to others they feel it to be arrogant to assume that the others are not true. The common adage presents itself in a new twist, “that it may be true for you, but not for me” or rather in the new adaptation “it may not be my truth, but it is still truth for you.”

C.S. Lewis in his masterfully written Screwtape letters commences his first letter in the series addressing this very issue. He discusses the dangers of not thinking in a true/false construct. In this fictional dialog the Senior devil is speaking to his junior devil, “Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. . . By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?”

In other words, C.S. Lewis is saying that the more a person thinks in the construct of true and false the more his thinking will line up with reality. For logic and reason are products of God given knowledge and understanding. We are unable to argue against logic and reason without employing them in the argument. It is advantageous for a person to become a critical thinker and not just swallow the multiplicity of truth claims as one continuum of truth that is all inclusive of reality. It cannot be so due to the stark contradictions between world religions and belief systems.

The plurality of truth claims should not be seen like the variety of options in a candy store, each alluring, and each a matter of opinion and personal preference. Truth is exclusive of non-truth. There is no avoiding that exclusivity in the name of tolerance. We can still love people who don’t accept Jesus as Truth for Jesus tells us we must love even our enemies. Therefore, knowing truth and being certain of Him who is Truth does not produce animosity towards people of other beliefs. When this kind of animosity is produced, I would posit that the person or group of people don’t really know Jesus Christ. Jesus said if you hate your brother, the truth is not in you. Thus, knowing the Truth (experientially) does not produce hate, but love. That is the measuring stick. Christians are to be identified by their love for one another and the world.

There is one standard of truth and that is the revelation and person of Jesus Christ. For as Paul wrote in Romans 1:16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” He wrote it again to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:18 "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” There is power in the Gospel message for salvation and we must not be ashamed to testify about Jesus for He brings life to those who believe.

1 comment:

scott said...

you know your bible.

God is LOVE. and jesus is God or the Son of God.