Truth: How important is it in a post-modern world?

It’s an ever-increasing era of metaephysic, existential, new-age, post-modernism, where aside from well-studied philosophers who know the names of Kant, Hume, Foucault, Derrida, and Lyotard, the common layperson stays caught in an elusive and eclectic mindset against any assertion of absolute truth. It has become the focal point of Culture War, of critical theory and CRT, and has damaged judeo-christian moorings within acedemia, and by extension, social responsibility and morality.

With enough counter-culture arguments to appease anyone looking to be excused from objective moral standards, its followers, again, unless trained in specifics, leave philisophical instruction with just enough bumper-sticker theology, and general malaise to float somewhere between openness or total abandonment of truth.

Post-Modernism coupled with the inexorable conclusions of being an evolved accident in the universe with no purpose or meaning, has taken its toll on an already fragmented and indifferent society. By most metrics, whether reading, community, fatherlessness in homes, crime, church attendance, not only is the truth missing, but the very desire to seek it.

And yet, upon study of the word, the truth plays a monumental role in how we percieve the world. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”; pointing to a moral truth that definitively exists. In 1 John 3:18, children are encouraged to act in truth: 18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Even one of the very 10 commandments demands truth for a stable and moral society set apart by God: 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

And many times throughout our studies, we find the term, “Amen.” According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, the basic meaning of “Amen” or its Semitic root, is “firm,” “fixed,” or “sure.” The Greek Old Testament usually translates amen as “so be it”; in the English Bible it has frequently been written as “verily,” or “truly.” So every time Jesus says, truly I say to you… these moments of surety and promise, and their truth will outlast the earth itself.

So what then do we do to bypass these high-minded concepts that alleviate whole societies from the responsibility of standing firm on anything. In the cacophany of social media, it becomes passé to boldly proclaim truth. Any time in a comment section will assure you that there is a much larger crowd that is more comfortable lobbing grenades at any and all truth claims than there are people making them. As one apologist says, it is always much easier to throw rotten eggs than it is to lay a good one.

But what if that person denying absolute truth was building a new home? Or a person found out they had treatable cancer? Think of when you or someone you know was walking through the stressful decisions aligned with each life event.

Suddenly when faced with the very real consequence of having a poorly built, or poorly designed home, and wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on it, finding a reputable builder doesn’t seem relative, does it? It seems imparitive!

When faced with death unless you attack the cancer in your body in the most effective way, finding an experienced expert in the truth of your diagnosis, your treatment, and the chances of that treatment working, become eessential to your life!

Suddenly, when the rubber meets the road, whether you teach there is no truth or not, the real, actual, unvarnished truth becomes vital to your well-being. And it isn’t some version of it, one man’s opinion of what it might be. It is the pure, unvarnisheed truth that you are after. Only with a clear scope of reality in these situations, do you have enough trusted information to move forward. If you spoke with 17 doctors, friends, shawmen, witches, and holistic consultants, and trusted each opinion as equally relevant because it was “true for them,” I dare say your path would be unclear, and your disassociation from reality would effect you not only physically, but mentally as well. How can you plan for something so serious without an objective truth to go by?

It is with this same energy and gravity that one should determine their salvation. Like Philippians says, “with fear and trembling.” When Matthew 10:28 says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” this implies the obvious to us all, that the decisions that affect your eternal life, are of far greater consequence than cancer, or home-building. It’s not even close.

And yet, it is in this area, where theology meets philosophy, and where we have gotten so comfortable watering down every truth, from who Christ is, what the gospel is, to even what a woman is, that committing to anything at all seems an offense, and a violation of some victim’s civil rights.

Standing for truth, and especially for truth in the word, will have increasingly difficult consequences in the Western world. Society does not want to hear it, will reject it, will reject you and cancel you for speaking it, and wants to be protected from it. But the truth, the unvarnished, important, vital, absolute truth is, was, and will be, and that will never change.

Christian Despondency

If you have followed along on my Facebook page you have no doubt noticed that I celebrate the comfort and truth of God’s word, the hope we have in Christ, and the invigorating exploration of apologetics, as well as the beauty of literature and poetry, and the power that resides in the written word. It is said that in America, we have lost some 60% of the words that scholars used to utilize at the zenith of our language. How I envy the ability to write as Shakespeare did, or Jane Austin, or Cervantes.

But within these posts, you may have noticed an underline addressing of despondency; an analysis of heartache, tragedy, and melancholy; a searching for some future hope, or purpose, a loss of life’s magic, and even a celebration of beautiful literature surrounding these feelings.

The Greeks did honor to both masks, remember, the joyful laughter, as well as the tragedy of sorrow. We sometimes presume that the families who file into church Sunday mornings are balanced, happy, stable, even perfect. Pastors preach about sins, and tribulations faced, in a general way. But it often doesn’t appear to land on the well-dressed, well-behaved, perfect people in the pews.

But these same people fight within their marriages, have trust issues, have broken hearts, cry in Sunday school classes, face anxieties.

Charles Spurgeon once said in a sermon, “I wonder every day that there are not more suicides, considering the troubles of this life.”

We can end up rejecting, or not walking with God, due to our despondency. Prayer and rest become empty. Friends who “comfort” you with scripture feels like bright lights during a migraine. And when it doesn’t appear that Christ is “enough” and you aren’t exemplifying the fruits of the spirit such as joy and peace in your walk, those friends can become accusatory. Perhaps you don’t have Christ in your life? Perhaps you don’t have faith? Why can’t you just cheer up?

Zack Eswine, who wrote about Spurgeon’s sufferings said this:

“Conscious only of our miseries, we become like those who love a person without that love being returned. To carry out the metaphor, what is worse, we must listen in as the one we love marries another and goes on with life happily without us… the toasts and cheers from their family and friends only magnifies the absence, anxiety, and rejection with which we must live. This is what it is like with God.”

As we cling to God when all our evidences are clouded, and joys are fled, our grip on the cross becomes a desperate grasp.

The Psalmist said, “When I remember God, I moan: when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.” (Psalms 77:3)

These feelings are real, and I dare say, prevalent within the church. Addressing it, and talking about it is the only way to deal with it. Of course continue to take it to the Bible, and to God, but finding a peer group that is committed to each other, and to exploring ways to grow in their walk is vital. To grow in faith together, so that even as emotions ebb and flow, the faith on the promises of God do not.

We do not shy away from the fact that there is a precedence in the Bible for addressing depression. There was suffering and longing in the desert. David was broken by his sin, and the repercussions that unfolded because of it. Solomon had all worldly pleasures, and delivered us the book of Ecclesiastes, which spells out the vanity of our lives. Even our savior Himself, according to Isaiah 53, was prophesied to be the “Man of Sorrows.” And indeed, He was, taking on the rejection of the people He came to save.

I am starting a group within my church, a place to encourage each other, and to identify a means of support for those who can no longer pretend to have it all together. I feel called to this particular type of ministry, as I have noticed the common, anonymous, social media versions of this are riddled with unhelpful distractions. Often the classes available in church will never address some of these truths in our lives. College class, parents with children class, young adults, singles, married couples class, a place to study the word to be sure, but upon leaving, those issues will be waiting within your week to smother the spirit.

Charles Spurgeon was a tremendous warrior for the Lord, and his sermons are studied and quoted to this day. He fought as a soldier bought by the blood of Christ, and is widely respected by pastors the world over. But he testified once, “I could readily enough have laid violent hands upon myself, to escape from my misery.” Referring to his own death, he said, “I know one who, in the bitterness of his soul, has often prayed it.”

If you start by knowing that you not only aren’t alone, but that you are in fact in the best of company, well then it is a step. My hope is that the encouraging of one another will follow. God bless.

 

 

 

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