An American Credo: 'I Know My Truth'

In the movie, "Couples Retreat," four couples who are all friends travel to a tropical island resort in order to strengthen their marriages. During a therapy session with his wife, Dave (Vince Vaughn) gets a little defensive and tells their personal counselor, "I know my truth." Interesting, those four words pretty well sum up the dominant mindset in America over the past 50 years.

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From the time children start school until the day they die, Americans are bombarded with the philosophy of moral relativism. We can all have our own truth, or so goes the theory. The 1960s ushered in significant change in America, but the biggest transition had to do with the way Americans think about truth. This paradigm shift paved the way for a philosophical revolt against any notion of absolute truth, and it allowed man to define his own "truth."

So when Vince Vaugh said, "I know my truth," he was merely echoing the sentiment of the culture around us. Ever since his birth in 1970, Vince has been immersed in a culture where truth is thought to be "up for grabs." And because of it, the most egregious offense in our society is perceived to take place when a person claims that someone else's beliefs are "wrong."

Thankfully, the past 50 years did nothing to alter what God accomplished 2000 years ago on a cross just outside the city of Jerusalem. And the 1960s in America did nothing to weaken the ultimate authority and accuracy of Scripture. It simply reshaped the way many Americans view Scripture, and Jesus, and Christianity. If you have lived in America during the past 50 years, you know exactly what I am talking about. You can't miss it. The "I know my truth" vibe is all around us. It infuses every aspect of the media, the entertainment industry, education, and even lots of churches.

These four words are pleasing to the mind because it allows man to set his own boundaries, and be his own god, while never running the risk of offending anyone, other than God of course. Oh wait. That would assume God is real, and that there is only one true God. But the minute we accept the philosophy of moral and religious relativism, then we can't really say that "God" has anything definite to say on the matter. If I can "know my own truth," then I can create a god in my mind to become whatever I want him to become.

Try taking an objective look at the past 50 years. Compare the "before" with the "after." In your analysis, what things stand out like a sore thumb? What radical changes have occurred in the home and in the minds of our fellow Americans?

In spite of our materialism and progressive ideas, do Americans as a whole have stronger families? And more inner peace? And healthier sex lives? And greater faith in God? Or have we as a people fallen for a lie? Have we been hoodwinked to believe everyone can have his own truth? Does such a worldview produce a better world, and better families, and better individuals? Or does it just make man more selfish, more paranoid, and more narcissistic?

Before you convince yourself that your religion and your sexual preferences are not counterfeits, it would be wise to see what God says about it. The reason the sexual revolution of the 60s was so transformational in our society is because when a person yields his body over to physical pleasure at any cost, his soul isn't far behind. This is why Scripture instructs believers, "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:2)

We tend to think of "worship" as only involving our heart and our mind. But worship is also expressed by the way we use our body. And the Lord has clearly told us to "keep the marriage bed pure." (Hebrews 13:4) In other words, regardless of your past decisions, you can begin yielding your body to God's plan today. Sexual intimacy is a gift from God for a husband and wife, and for no other purpose.

"But I know my truth. And I have been told since I was a child that I can have it my way." OK. So you have been told that since you were young. But does that make it true?

"Hey wait a minute. Everyone should be entitled to define God according to his own religious convictions. And live according to his own ideas of right and wrong." OK. But does subscribing to such a doctrine make it true? And is it even logical to say you accept diverse ideas about God and about sexuality which contradict one another? You see, it's not simply a matter of there being tension between the various views. Instead, many of these beliefs about God and about sexuality are diametrically opposed to one another.

So can man really know his own truth? And have it his way? Or have we merely chosen to ignore the illogical nature of this bankrupt philosophy?

Unfortunately, we don't tend to think about these things very deeply. We prefer to keep it superficial. We would rather avoid the unpopular task of defining "false religion" and "immoral sexual practices." We don't mind making such distinctions in the realms of science, mathematics, and medicine. But when it comes to sexuality and religion, we don't want to be hassled with the inconvenient dilemma of inconsistency and irrationality. That is, until the end results catch up to us in our personal life, our family, our society, and ultimately on Judgment Day.

But maybe we should just keep those unpleasant realties out of the equation. It could really mess up my plans, my lifestyle, and my pursuit of instant gratification. Let's just keep things uncomplicated and stick to the credo: "I know my truth."

When truth is up for grabs, everything gets turned sideways. Remember the Titanic? If there was ever a time in our nation's history when we needed a lifeboat to rescue us from the sinking ship of moral relativism, it is today. America hit the iceberg in the 60s. And that catastrophic collision has been producing confusion, self-deception and family heartache ever since.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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