A Barna Research Group survey on what Americans believe asked the question, "Is there absolute truth?" Sixty-six percent of adults responded that they believe "there is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct."
Oh I get it, so I can say something as true and you can say something is false and we can both be correct? Then what in the world does correct mean? This sounds like the kind of confusion a man named Pilate suffered from, which is why I think we need at least 66% of Americans to check out this passage:
My kingdom," said Jesus, "doesn't consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. But I'm not that kind of king, not the world's kind of king."
Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?"
Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice."
Pilate said, "What is truth?" (John 18:36-38)
Maybe Pilate was cynical and hardened from years of playing tiresome political games and assigned to govern in a place where most people hated his guts. Or perhaps his patience ran out because he knew if he kept up an exchange with Jesus, he would lose. Most likely it was a little of both, but I believe deep down Pilate truly wanted the answer to one of the most important questions in the universe:
What is truth?
This is not a question about mathematical facts, like "Jesus, does two plus two REALLY equal four?" This isn't about scientific certainties, like "Lord, if I jump off the roof 1000 times, do you think at least one time I might fly upwards?"
This is a question about the nature of reality, as in "Jesus, you talk about truth as if it was real and absolute could this possibly be true?"
You see, I think Pilate was a pretty intelligent person. I also think that he had thought about this question many times before, and like many others he probably came to a couple very strong conclusions:
First, to not believe in absolute truth is illogical. To deny an absolute is to make an absolute statement. To claim there is no truth is saying: it is a truth that there is no truth! This just doesn't work.
Second, to not believe in absolute truth is impractical. Without it, all you are left with is relative truth, which really isn't truth at all. Relative truth is a squishy spongy worldview that just adapts to whatever situation you put it in. For example, what if it's "true" for me to break into your garage and steal your SUV just because? I don't think you would appreciate relative truth at that time. In fact, you would be glad that there is an absolute thing in America called the law with trained professionals around to back it up. This is why relative truth is so impractical, because any decent society will eventually crumble under its weak foundation. The world saw the most horrific example of a nation that convinced itself of her ability to determine truth. It was called Nazi Germany, and at some point the idea of relative moral truth turned into a philosophy of selfishness, which in the end created a culture of death.
So absolute truth exists and we need it. The critical issue is, where do we find it?
Maybe inside myself. That's it, I'll create absolute truth with my own thoughts and ideas. Except that, I'm a limited human being with limited intelligence. How could I know everything and be the source of what should be true for all people everywhere for all time?
I can't. So I know what I'll do - I'll discover truth through my 5 senses. What I experience and discern from the world around me will be truth. Except that then my truth is limited to my little world with my little experiences. Again, not quite the good source for absolutes.
So I'm left with one option: seek the truth outside of me, my world, even the universe. In other words, to find absolute truth you must go to the Source. The eternal God who created the universe, who knows everything, and has all power is the only One with the authority and knowledge to generate absolute truth.
And He did.
It's called the Bible, and it is His gift to a world in desperate need of absolute truth.
Hear me clearly on this one folks. I'm not saying *I* have absolute truth. I'm not saying my church or denomination has it. I am saying that the clear statements in the Bible are clear examples of absolute truth. It's important that you know that everything is not relative, that absolutes exist, and they can be found in Scripture. The bottom line is that to find truth you must think outside the box and look inside the Book.
Sad and ironic, isn't it? Pilate was looking into the face of Truth even as He asked "what is truth?" Even more sad and ironic for Christians, who look for truth all over the world when their Bible sits on the shelf.
Maybe it's time for the 66% to absolutely wake up, grab their truth brush, and scrub the relative plaque off their souls!
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with youth leaders and students, equipping them to be effective in sharing the gospel. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Find out how Dare 2 Share Ministries and Focus on the Family® are working together to capture the hearts of this generation of teenagers, visit www.capturetheirhearts.com. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.