I have come to realize rather recently that Christians have been careless with their usage of the term “absolute truth.” It appears that this translates to a claim of infallible absolutism of which is in the very least seen as arrogant and at the most is seen as having the potential for religious terrorism. I will not deny that a very small percentage who use the term may have some issues of self-righteous arrogance and a few of those may have a mindset that may cause militancy. I give to you though that either use of the term would be in stark difference to the person of Jesus and is not indicative of His message.
The only thing that is meant genuinely by most who venture to advocate that absolute truth exist is that there is such a thing as a universal truth that is true for all people in all time. For example, if Jesus is God that is true not only for those who believe it, but for all. Or if love is the most excellent way, that is universally so and not simply so for those who think it is. It means generally that truth is that which lines up with reality. We don’t create truth, we discover it. As such, truth isn’t something to be levied upon another by force or manipulation or any other covert or reprehensible means. The existence of Truth does not give license for the injustices of absolutism.
Most of the world sees claims to truth as grounds to assume power over others. To the followers of Christ, this is a misuse of truth and not the way of truth. In Jesus day, His followers who were still thinking like the common culture thought He would rise up and overthrow the government and establish a physical Kingdom upon the earth. They saw that this is how rulers rule, by power and force. He told them the Kingdom of God was going to be established through the hearts of man and not the swords of man. He told them to put away their swords. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter when He was crucified for He did not resist as He did not seek to build a Kingdom by force. He could have commanded all the angels to come to His rescue. He could have rescued Himself, but His sacrifice for a higher purpose. Jesus was always toppling the paradigms of man and turning them upside down. Where men thought mighty force was the way to establish God’s Kingdom, Jesus points to the children and says the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Jesus said to love one another even ones enemies and be kind to those who are unkind to you.
Furthermore, when Christians speak of absolute truth, we do not mean that we have all knowledge or even a complete picture of reality. We know that one exists, but that we only have a part of it one that is seen as through a glass darkly. We peak through with our fallible minds and senses to the infallible and we see glimpses of the greater reality than that in which we live. We see that glimpse of His Truth and we journey towards Him seeking a closer look. We can’t stare at the sun because it is too bright for us, but by the sun we can see the world around us. We might not be able to see God directly, but through the glimpses we gain of Him we can see our world more clearly. That sight is always in part, and not in full. It is always a journey of truth and not a stationary position of absolute knowledge. When we say we have found truth, it doesn’t mean we’ve attained all truth, but we have seen enough to know that our journey is in the right direction.
Likewise, when I write articles and answer questions with confidence. I don’t mean to communicate that I’m infallible or have the corner on truth. There is much I don’t know even about what I believe I know. I’m learning how to communicate what I have learned on my journey to help others along in their journey. I’m of the conviction that it’s a good thing to help others out and that others who have learned things along the way that I haven’t learned yet or haven’t seen in their perspective can help me out too. Some may have seen more glimpses than I and I’d like to learn from them. Some may have seen different glimpses than I and we can put those puzzle pieces together to see more of the big picture. I am writing from the perspective that there is this grand reality to glimpse and if you haven’t glimpsed it yet, or you are questioning those glimpses as something more natural than supernatural I’m okay with that. I am hoping we all still have a desire for truth even if we aren’t in agreement about where that is found. And I am hoping that we can be an aid to each other even in our disagreements in that journey gaining perspective and gaining understanding of each others worldviews in a manner which values the person over their way of thinking so that there is never any cause for condemnation, arrogance, militancy, manipulation etc.
I hope by now most of you, if not all, have seen my heart in these discussions and know that I see myself as someone along side everyone else searching for knowledge and understanding of this life and our purpose in the grand story of life. Yes, I am forthright that I believe that Christ is both the way to the answer and the answer Himself. But others propose that way of naturalism is the proper journey of truth and freedom of thinking. These are two of the many truth claims in the world. The many doesn’t mean there isn’t a One. Some may walk through many before finding the One. And others may start with the One. And still others may embrace the many roads. We are all on journeys and there is no road that we can travel that God can’t find us and show us the road of Himself. The glimpses of truth show through with amazing creativity no matter where we are in life. There are always signs along the way and I trust that some may see some of the things I write as signs pointing towards truth and others may find other signs. Some may need philosophical answers and others may need tangible experiences, and most I would imagine need both. No matter, my confidence is not in myself, but in Christ. The answers are not in me, but in Him and that is why I use the name answer bearer. Not because I have all answers, but because He who I believe is the Answer lives in me and I bear Him. I seek to glimpse Him and to share what I see as best I know how.