Monday, August 19, 2013

Excerpt from Divided Desire: Chapter 7 - Godliness: The Spring of Desire

Absolutism: One Truth

For a person in the global village who has the God connection, relativism in morality, ethics, or religion, or for that matter any other sphere of life, loses its place. A greater sense of the absolute prevails. The song of relativism, “What is true for you, is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me,” is changed to the belief that truth is absolute.

In Chapter 4 we discussed that at the core of moral or ethical relativism is the urge to fulfill one’s own evil desires. That’s why people come up with “truth” that works for them, and does not apply to everyone else. With absolutism, however, the urge to make up rules to accommodate selfishness yields to the reality of God in life and His unchanging rules, which are perfectly fair and just. Belief in absolutes exists then, not so much because of God’s unchanging rules themself, but because of the presence of God’s unchanging person. With God in a person’s life, there comes the critical aspect in life called accountability, which is glaringly absent in the life of a relativist. A relativist lives as if he has no one to answer to and so commits crime and sin of all kinds without a guilty conscience. He or she has no higher power, person, or standard to answer to. A person who is connected to God however, yields to absolutes, because now they are accountable to God, who is a person with standards and the power to uphold those standards, even if He must use discipline. Accountability exists because of the fear factor. It is the fear of the absolute and all powerful God that compels obedience and accountability to Him. With this accountability to God, there comes allegiance to the truth – His truth – which is one, not many; absolute, not relative; consistent, not inconsistent.

We found, in Chapter 4 that beneath the veneer of relativism exists a universal code of moral and ethical absolutes, which remains hidden beneath this veneer as a long as a person’s own interests are not threatened. But once they are threatened, a person turns out to be an absolutist after all – crying foul only when they are wronged or harmed. This is an inconsistency that exposes the selfish nature of relativism.

This selfish inconsistency however, cannot exist when a person holds to moral and ethical absolutes, because absolutism by very nature takes into account the other. If something is said to be the absolute truth it has got to apply to everyone, everywhere, at all times. Such consistency can exist only if it comes from a person who is over and above all people, is present with all people in all places, and who is not confined by time. God is these things: He is ruler over the universe, omnipresent, and eternal. He takes everyone, every place, and all time into account. Therefore He is consistent, and only He can give us truth. We can’t choose truth based on whatever we wish to be true. Books like Choosing Truth by the likes of Harriette Cole, which elevate the “Self” and encourage people to choose their own truth [1] , deceive people. Truth is not something that you choose, but something you believe in. One may choose to believe in the truth, but one cannot choose his own truth. Belief in God then, brings the kind of consistency which sees truth as a standard that must apply to everyone, including self, because self is accountable or answerable to God.

But what does absolutism do for desire in the heart of the global villager? Consistency in belief, and consistency in moral and ethical principles, gives us the wisdom to know the difference between good and evil desires. When life is viewed from a point of view that is not constantly fluctuating because of personal bias, we are in a position to recognize and reject evil desire. We are also in a position to recognize and pursue good desire, as we live lives of godliness, expecting God to grant these desires.

© Copyright, 2013, Kenny Damara. This article is an excerpt from the book Divided Desire.

[1]Cole, Harriette. Choosing Truth: Living and Authentic Life. NY: New York, Simon and Schuster, 2003.

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