I’ve made the case that truth, goodness, and beauty are objective features of the world we live in. Hopefully, you’ve found that to be interesting. But please don’t think this is just an esoteric triviality. It’s not. We are living in a post-truth culture. But it’s a place where the objective nature of truth, goodness, and beauty are deeply relevant. Our view of objective truth affects everything about how we live our lives. It’s the antidote to moral relativism. Truth matters. And understanding the profundity of that simple fact will revolutionize the way you interact with our world.
The Assumptions of the Culture
Consider the three topics I’ve been talking about. And think about how you’re used to hearing about them:
Truth — “That may be true for you, but it’s not for me.”
Goodness — “Don’t impose your morality on me!”
Beauty — “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Despite thousands of years of human knowledge and experience, our contemporary culture has made every one of these subjective. Suddenly, they’ve each become things we decide for ourselves.
In fact, if you were to express the notion that anyone of these is not subjective, you would be considered arrogant. Oppressive. A Neanderthal who wants to impose your personal values on the rest of the world.
Who are you to do that?!
The World Turned Upside Down
This is cultural relativism. A place where we are supposed to accept the idea that everyone’s opinion about every topic is equally valid.
And remember that pesky definition of truth as: “correspondence to reality”? That’s out the window. The new normal tells us that our highest calling is to “be true to ourselves.”
But what does that mean, exactly?
Follow Your Heart
When your standard for truth and virtue is the person you see in the bathroom mirror, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see what’s coming. Feelings rule. You are encouraged to “follow your heart.” And following your heart means you evaluate reality based on emotion instead of reason and logic.
If it feels good, you do it.
“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad …”
Conforming to reality becomes passé. An archaic inconvenience.
But there is a problem with that. And the problem is that the “persistent belief in something that does not conform to reality” is called a delusion.
Our culture has elevated delusion to an art form.
Philosophy Is About The Real World
It turns out that the whole discussion of truth, goodness, and beauty is more than the hobby of navel-gazing philosophers. These things have real-world consequences. Ideas always do. Good or bad, we live in a world where those ideas will play themselves out.
And so, we see the consequences of bad thinking in our politics and in the family and community relationships on which our politics depend. We read about them in the news — and in the “fake news” generated at both ends of the political spectrum. We suffer the repercussions of denying reality in our economics. And our children and grandchildren will — quite literally — pay the price for those willful delusions.
Most of all, we see it in the glorification of sexual autonomy that has infiltrated every corner of our culture. Denying reality is at the core of issues like abortion, sexual libertinism, transgenderism, and same-sex behavior. Defending each of them is nothing but a persistent delusion.
Faith Communities Are Not Immune
The Church is most certainly not immune to the corrosive acid of bad thinking. The vacuous nonsense you can find in the Word-Faith Movement, Universalism, and so-called “Progressive” Christianity is proof enough of that. And every societal ill listed above has also found its way into the church.
But when you boil it all down, the problems we see in our culture are nothing new. In fact, they’re as old as mankind. The denial of truth, goodness, and beauty started soon after we came on the scene. The Fall of Man was simply the first instance where human beings made the free-will decision to exchange the truth of God for a lie. Since then, we’ve only pushed the limits of that futile exercise even further.
The good news is that the antidote to bad thinking has always been the same. Seek truth in all its forms. Then align your life with it.
The Church should never be a safe space for bad ideas. It must be a place where people are treated with gentleness and respect, but also a place where corrupted thinking goes to die.
Recommended resources related to the topic:
Right From Wrong by Josh McDowell Mp3
Can All Religions Be True? mp3 by Frank Turek
Counter Culture Christian: Is There Truth in Religion? (DVD) by Frank Turek
How Can Jesus be the Only Way? (mp4 Download) by Frank Turek
Bob Perry is a Christian apologetics writer, teacher, and speaker who blogs about Christianity and the culture at truehorizon.org. He is a Contributing Writer for the Christian Research Journal and has also been published in Touchstone, and Salvo. Bob is a professional aviator with 37 years of military and commercial flying experience. He has a B.S., Aerospace Engineering from the U. S. Naval Academy, and a M.A., Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He has been married to his high school sweetheart since 1985. They have five grown sons.
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