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Is Truth Relative? | The Eclipse of God in American Culture #10

Many today avoid the question of whether truth is universal. We live in an age where everyone has a view of “truthiness”—we all believe in our own truth. Pastor Lutzer reflects on his interactions with many world religions, listing three characteristics of exclusive truth. On what basis do Christians know and find truth? 

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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today as we continue this series, titled, “The Eclipse of God in American Culture.” I hope that you subscribe and follow. Tell your friends about this series because I think it gives us insight as to what we are facing in our great nation of the United States, and actually throughout the Western world. Today I want to speak about truth. You remember in George Orwell’s “1984,” Winston was taken into a room and he was told that two plus two is equal to five, sometimes it’s equal to three, and sometimes it’s equal to both—insanity of course. I’ve often thought about that passage. What I think was happening is they wanted Winston to learn to live by lies and that’s where our culture is, and I should point out that when Solzhenitsyn left Russia that’s what he warned the people about, living by lies. “My truth,” “your truth”—lies. What I want to do very briefly, because I have only a few moments, is to list three characteristics of truth, true truth, as Francis Schaeffer used to say.

First of all, truth has consistency. Consistency. I attended the World Parliament of Religions here in Chicago back in 1993, when 5,000 delegates came from all over the world representing all the different religions in an attempt to see if we could bring about some kind of unity. Of course we couldn’t. Let’s think for example of the doctrine of God. Christianity says there’s one God. Hinduism says that there are 300,000 or more. Buddhism says there is no God. We cannot agree and all of them cannot be correct. There was an apologist who was speaking about Christianity and a student asked him a question and said I don’t believe that truth is coherent and the apologist rightly responded and said, “I’m glad to speak to that issue but I want to ask you a question: Do you want my answer to be coherent or incoherent?” A very good question. Do you remember in Alice in Wonderland? I think it was the Queen who believed as many as six contradictions, six impossibilities before breakfast. Well, my friend, if you can believe impossibilities, contradictions, you certainly need more help that I’m able to give you. Truth has consistency.

Secondly, truth of course has objectivity. It exists outside of us. You know, whether or not scientists find a certain star it will be up there regardless. An airline pilot put it this way to me. He was talking about someone who was an expert pilot but who crashed the plane. He said you know, when you’re in a plane it doesn’t matter whether the person is gay or whether the person has had breakfast, whether or not the person is a man or a woman, if you don’t treat those instruments correctly your plane will crash. His emphasis was on objective truth.

And there’s another characteristic about truth and that is universality. It applies everywhere. There’s no such thing as saying, “Well, you know, over in the Far East they reason differently than we reason in the West.” No, there may be different kinds of reasoning but I have to tell you this, when it comes to true truth we all think the same. It’s very interesting that in 2006 the Miriam Webster dictionary, which always has a word for the year had the word “truthiness.” “Truthiness” means sort of true. Maybe true. Could be true. Well, that of course may be a good definition if you’re talking about a story where two different people have two different approaches as to what happened. But when it comes to true truth about God, there’s consistency. There’s objectivity. There’s universality.

Which brings me to the words of Jesus. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” Now, that’s very exclusive truth. And you can disagree with Jesus of course, but one thing you cannot say based on that verse is that Jesus believed that He was the Savior of the Western world, but not the Eastern world, or the Middle Eastern world. Truth has universality. And we need to be able to respect that universality and declare to the world that we have found truth. Not only in a book but in a person, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. And no man comes to the Father but by Him. We’re living in an age where everybody has their own view of truth. The question is: Is it true truth? Those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we believe very deeply that when we come to Him we indeed do have the truth. I hope you have the truth. The way, the truth, and the life. Thanks so much for joining us today and as for today, well you go with the truth. The true God. You go with God.

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