Tag Archives: righteousness

Standards of Truth and Righteousness

I continue to be befuddled by those who would claim that absolute truth does not and cannot exist. I am also somewhat bemused by this because I find such individuals cannot remain true to their own arguments and philosophies. Their arguments claim that it is impossible to know truth because every determination of what is true is tainted and colored by the interpretation of that truth and by one’s own experiences, thus leading to many different understandings of what that truth actually says and means. Naturally, the more complicated the concept, the greater the deviation in understanding that truth (though I would posit that a complex truth is really actually made up of many smaller, individual truths, which easily understood separately, may combine to create a concept whose relationship between the smaller truths may be more difficult to observe and determine, yet not negating the truth of either the smaller truths or that of the composite truth).

Now, I have also talked with non-absolutists (as I will refer to them here) who have said that such-and-such act is or was wrong or evil. My response then becomes, Well, how do you do know? By what standard do you compare such an act to determine its level of good or evil, or its degree of rightness or wrongness? For anything to be considered in terms of morality (and the need to conceive of the world in such terms is obvious and necessary and inherent in all men, as evidenced by the natural inclination to establish rules and laws in order to keep the peace), there must be an absolute standard by which that morality can be measured. In the world of weights and measures, for instance, there are standards for all units — an object measured out to be the standard for the gram, or the liter, or the centimeter, etc. All all larger units are based upon these smaller, more basic standards so that measurement around the world may be consistent and uniform. It is the same with truth and morality. The rub seems to come in because these are more abstract concepts, not observable through any of the five senses. Yet the world functions in terms of morality, as it must in order to prevent its descent into anarachy and chaos.

So, there must be some standard for truth that is knowable and attainable and that can be standardized across the entire population. Men have tried using rationality as a basis for determining truth, and ultimately they are able only to return to the self as a standard, since that is the very origin of the rational mind, themselves a shifting morass of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and opinions. It should be obvious that this is not an ideal reference point due to that very continuous shift. Therefore, the standard of truth must lie elsewhere.

Science itself is not an adequate standard of truth. It is an ever-changing source of knowledge as its observations become more acute and the knowledge gleaned from its studied more comprehensive. And science addresses only those things that are directly observable; there is no ability for it to address the truth of good and evil, moral and immoral, those concepts that are often most necessary for the daily exercise of living. Therefore, the standard of truth must lie elsewhere.

Creation is not equipped to answer the truth of good and evil, to establish standards of moral and immoral, much for the same reasons as science cannot. Creation is observable and supplies only those truths that we can see, even though we may not be able to understand them fully. It has no voice to speak to the abstract, to the intellectual knowledge that governs the behavior of men. Therefore, the standard of truth must lie elsewhere.

So, the standard for truth would most likely belong to a sentient being, one gifted with a mind to fully know the secrets, both of the universe and of the ways of mankind, with a vision of the whole so complete that it could speak the knowledge into the hearts and minds of men, teaching them how they should live so that they may act with wisdom and live at peace with each other. Such an individual cannot be found among men, creatures who by their very definition are confined to and limited by the world they inhabit. Only an individual who is outside of the known universe, yet lives within it so as to interact with it, would be able to hold the entirety of it within their mind and be able to know it so completely as to speak the truth into it that would give men a standard by which they could govern their lives. This being would have to be a personal being, for no other would be able to establish the relationship with mankind to communicate the truth by which men may live.

There is One who claims to be all this and more, and who may be determined, through the testing of His precepts, to be the absolute standard of all truth. He is wise and all-knowing, greater than all existence, personal and knowable. His words are the truth and the way of life. His name is Jehovah.

Embrace the Outcasts

I’m not entirely sure I understand the problem. Isn’t the Church supposed to be the epitomy of grace, love, and understanding? Then, why are there so “many”:http://scatteredwords.com/ who are so alienated from Christians, who “feel”:http://willfulgrace.blogspot.com/2005/10/my-blog.html as though they have to keep their struggles secret? Aren’t we supposed to be the _first_ ones to reach out to those in need so that we may provide support, aid, and comfort? Yet, one of the biggest areas of ministry is being ignored and overlooked in so many of our churches. Tim Wilkins, founder and CEO of “Cross Ministry”:http://www.crossministry.org/index.htm and a former homosexual has devoted his life to reaching out to the homosexual community. One of the most important pieces of wisdom he provides is that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but righteousness. The reason that this is so key is that most Christians seem to think that the way to bring a homosexual to God is by turning them into heterosexuals. Unfortunately, this approach has never worked, but apparently few ever realize this. This creates a certain level of pressure on the struggling homosexual, who is already wrestling with unwanted attractions to members of his or her own gender. Coupled with the discomfort of heterosexual Christians who are not sure how to relate to and interact with the homosexual, this generates a lot of tension, further alienating the homosexual who finds it easier to stay away than to continue interacting with ineffective Christians.

Most unbelievers are quick to “accuse”:http://btalbot.blogspot.com/2004/06/fear-and-self-loathing-in-dc-is-topic.html Christians who are wrestling to overcome homosexuality of being fakes, frauds, and pawns of the ex-gay movement. They simply “do not understand”:http://www.deeperwants.com/cul1/homeworlds/journal/archives/002784.html that homosexuality is wrong, that God has something better in mind, that it _is_ actually possible to overcome homosexuality and live a life of righteousness. Tim Wilkins is a prime example of what God’s power can do in a person’s life.

As a result of Christian impotency in ministry to the homosexual (as well as those who respond with “condemnation”:http://dyinginchrist.blogspot.com/2005/12/homosexual-agenda-most-americans-do.html and “anger”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/index.php/archives/64/) and the ridicule that originates from the unbelieving community, the struggling homosexual is left with no support group. He is rejected at every front, and so the only solace is to hide his ‘secret’ from everyone but God and himself. It is so refreshing and encouraging to “hear”:http://scatteredwords.com/d/2005/12/light_years.php about good groups of Christians who are willing to come alongside the struggling homosexual and embrace him — physically, as well as emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically — accepting him as he is and helping him to work through his struggle. So few Christians are able to overcome their own discomfort (a product, I believe, of the lackadaisical society in which we live) to reach out to the homosexual, and that is why I support and approve of organizations like Cross Ministry, who work to jostle people out of their complacency and provide teaching and encouragement and a summons to righteous living. They take a lot of flak from every side, sadly, and theirs is a difficult job, but they provide a model for us all by which we should live.

We as Christians need to make a concerted effort to ignore our discomfitures and model ourselves more after Christ by reaching out to those whom we may consider undesirable but who are in such a state of need and support and encouragement and to whom Christ has mandated we reach out. God loves them. Shouldn’t we also?

Caution, Not Thrown to the Wind

We live in a world that is driven primarily by the strength of its libido. Sexual stimuli surround us everywhere we look. Even the most mundane of daily activities, such as eating, are paired up
with images of eroticism, sex, and lust. Common knowledge says that sex sells, and it certainly must because nearly every product available in this capitalistic society of ours incorporates some sort of sexual imagery, either in its advertising or in the product itself or both. Our culture has so accepted and incorporated sexuality into the every mundanity of life that it has essentially thrown all caution to the wind and now exercises its proclivity for sexual activity far more freely than it ought. The consequences of this are the cheapening of the act of sexual intercourse itself and the diminishment of the moral will.

As a Christian man trying to live a righteous life, I continually find this trend extremely frustrating. Like nearly every man, I am easily aroused by the things I see. Oftentimes I wish it were not so, yet it is the way God made me, and it is something that I must face and deal with on a daily basis. This culture in which I am immersed makes living a pure life exceedingly difficult, as nearly every Christian male can attest. I can, in fact, count on just one hand the number of men I know, both Christian and non-Christian alike, who have not been affected by pornography. It is a medium for sexual arousal that has been made exceedingly prevalent, and the current trend of advertising, television programs, and movies only serve to whet the
male appetite for things that it should not desire outside of a healthy, Godly marriage relationship. Even the video game industry is not immune, and indeed, in many ways serves as an even greater purveyor of exotic images and sexual stimuli.

All this to say just one thing — we Christian men must strive with all our might to guard our hearts and minds against the onslaught of these stimuli to which we are so vulnerable. God calls us to righteous living and to roles of wise leadership, both in our families and in our communities. If we fail in the area of sexual temptation, we greatly weaken our ability to serve as the men we ought to be, as the men God desires us to be. Only in pursuing a deep, intimate relationship with God, in encouraging one another and keeping one another accountable, and in taking physical, practical steps to guard our hearts and minds can we ever hope to be as effective in our culture as we ought to be. The cost and heartache of failure are great,
but the joy and satisfaction of victory over weakness are immense!

So, I say this to you — do not wait until you have already fallen into sin to take steps to protect your hearts and minds. Take a proactive stance, develop that daily relationship with our Lord, find an accountability partner (or group), and set in place standards and barriers against the barrage of sexual stimuli that assault us each and every day. In the longrun, you’ll be glad you did.

“Hey, I think you’ve got something in your eye…”

A response to this blog entry:

Christ calls us to be in the world, yet not of it. The difficult part of this directive is that by being in the world, we are subject to its influences. In this case, infidelity, divorce, and sexual promiscuity are becoming ever more accepted and commonplace in our culture. Such practices also appeal to our sinful desires, even as believers, thus making it that much more difficult to resist. I am afraid that the failure of the church in America to defend marriage and sex as holy is due, in large part, to the failure of the church to live righteously through the development of a strong relationship with God and to develop unity among itself. We have become so divided, and we have become so lackadaisical in this culture where we have plenty that we have forgotten what it means to rely on God for our everything, and as such, we have then allowed sinful practices to creep into our churches and into our worship, tainting and spoiling our testimonies and what influence we could have on our culture. Ultimately, if we wish to defeat this monster and set it in its place, we have to first get back to our place of right relationship with God and with each other, shunning sin, no matter what the cost, and embracing that which is holy. This begins in our churches and in our families and in our personal, daily walks with Christ. If the church cannot live righteously, how can we expect anyone else to do so?