A message to strengthen the Christian believers in his or her stand for objective truth. Believers in Messiah take his words, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” seriously. Believers also stand on the concept that moral values are based on objective truth, and that objective truth exists. This message is important because faithful Christians will increasingly come under attack in the coming years for saying & believing they have the truth.
YOU WILL BE SEEN AS ARROGANT & JUDGMENTAL. Non-Christians get angry that Christians think they have solid answers. “How arrogant!”, they complain. “That is nothing but absurd religious chauvinism…are we to believe only Christians are right?…Who do they think they are? One’s ideas are shaped by those who raise us, so those Christians have no right to judge someone raised with different values. We should respect other people’s individuality, freedom & uniqueness, just because they don’t believe like you do doesn’t make them wrong.” Many times, non-Christians (not realizing I grew up in a scientific non-Christian home) have told me I only believe in Christ because I was raised that way. Their assumption is silly. Why do Christians generate so much hate? In reality, what has happened is that society is basically across the board wounding & damaging its young people spiritually, and their wounded spirits have caused them to reject authority, esp. divine authority. In line with people’s unconscious hate & rebellion against their Creator comes a natural desire to rationalize & defend their ungodly behavior, which is why they are so angry towards believing Christians. However, this post does not have the space to break down how people (due to their rebellion against God) renounce objective truth & authority. It is simply important that the reader realize that the attitudes against objective truth have developed from abnormal spiritual growth caused by traumas, bitterness, pride, and a host of other negative spiritual influences. It is politically correct common “wisdom” that Christianity is arrogant in claiming exclusive truth. This distortion of reality is due again to the inner hate felt towards Christ & God Almighty and the divine right to authority over our lives. How accurate are these hostile attitudes? Not accurate at all, as we will see.
ALL THE MAJOR RELIGIONS ARE EXCLUSIVE. The concept of objective truth was debated by Plato & Socrates & other ancients. It is a rational sensible concept. Moslems believe that the Koran is exclusive truth–& only the Koran written in Arabic. An English translation is not considered a real translation of truth. So a person to get solid truth is expected by Moslems to develop a sophisticated knowledge of Arabic, which is why that language has spread from Arabia across Africa & west Asia. They are so hardnosed about their exclusiveness they have beheaded millions over the centuries who refused to convert. Hindus will not compromise on the law of karma, reincarnation, & the authority of their scriptures, the Vedas. While Hindus claim to be tolerant, they have wiped out Christian & Moslem villages…so when they claim to be tolerant, don’t take that claim at face value…they have been as rigid in their exclusiveness as any religion. Sikhism and some of Buddhists are atheists who reject those who believe in God. Baha’ism, which claims to be tolerant, is intolerant of those it sees as intolerant. It excludes the exclusivists…which is most everyone else! It seems people like to think of themselves as fair, and others as unfair. Even atheists are rigidly biased, and convinced they have the truth. It is a distortion to think only Christians are exclusive about truth, & the only ones who think truth is objective and not merely a relative concept depending upon what circumstances & viewpoint you have.
CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE. Christians believe we were created in God’s image, which is why we have a sense of morality; but we are not identical with God, like Hindus, Gnostics & pagans think. The 3 monotheistic religions explain why people (in contrast to animals) have a sense of morality. And wherever you go in the world, I have found that people do have some common values…they want for their bodies comfort, health & physical security…for their minds they value intelligence, knowledge & clear thinking. Socially they value generosity & politeness. Morally they value honesty, fairness & kindness. Other values held in common incl.: eco. security, to be productive, freedom, justice, beauty, symmetry, obedience & faith. There are common values in spite of our different cultures. So moral principles do have an objective reality. Nihilists would like to convince us that moral principles don’t exist…they do exist because common objective values exist. It is why Christ could say the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want done to you” and everyone can universally grasp its truth. The World Parliament of Religion (on 9/2/1993) passed a Declaration towards a Global Ethic, “We affirm that a common set of core values is found in the teachings of the religions, and that these form the basis of a global ethic….[there can be] no new global order w/out a new global ethic.” While Spirit-led Christians can agree that there are common values…murder is murder, dishonesty is dishonesty, theft is theft and all three are reprehensible no matter where you live…while we can agree with these truths, we can’t agree to merge and assimilate our beliefs with other religions just because there are common truths. Why not? Let’s look at what makes Christ unique in a very special way!!
IN NEED OF REDEMPTION. Humans are depraved. Our meaning in life comes from our Creator…it does not come from attaining goodness or godhood. The teachings of Christ (Christianity in its purest form) tell us that we can’t discover our Creator on our own. We can be reconciled to our Creator, but only because He chooses to make Himself known by placing His Spirit within us. To begin a spiritual life with His Spirit we need a spiritual birth. Morality comes from the very character of God. Only Christianity makes sense of the moral law. It stems from God & His character, not man. The different religions do not basically teach the same thing. Hinduism does not believe in the Fatherhood of God…when you develop spiritually they believe you discover you are god. Buddhism doesn’t even claim there is a single god. All these religions are providing you with instructions to grow spiritually…but Christ comes along and says you can’t do it…that the only way you can do it is if you have an encounter with the Creator of the Universe which produces a new birth and then with God’s Spirit in you, He can begin to stimulate spiritual growth.
And how do we receive that Spirit? To start with… by accepting His atonement for our rebellion & depravity. So Christ’s teachings cannot be merged with other religions. John 1:1 speaks about God revealing Himself…”We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace & truth.” No one is really good until God redeems them, and they are only redeemed if they allow God to apply the redemption He has provided to us. So we can talk all we want about so and so being a good person…and relative to the rest of us that may be true in a fashion…but in terms of God resurrecting that person, he needs to accept His Creator’s redemption. So Christ is offering something that religions do not offer….the atoning price of redemption to begin a spiritual life, and to qualify for other blessings.
WERE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES DO-GOODERS CAUSING PROBLEMS? Perhaps some of them have caused problems…some missionaries have used their mission as a cover for working for the CIA or some elite corporation, just as the CIA has had a policy of recruiting anthropologists to spy for them. Mormon missionaries have frequently been recruited by the CIA. What someone does as a Christian, and what God is trying to do through Christ are TWO different unrelated things. Institutions & moral authorities have frequently lost credibility in modern history. The Christian Bible is constantly under attack, even violent suppression in places. So people question the institutional churches & the Scriptures. The Word of God teaches that the things of God can be seen and learned even without the written Word, but the written Word of God is a priceless tool. One doesn’t need a multiplication table & flash cards to learn the multiplication table but it sure helps. The Bible stands on its own, & its truths speak for themselves. A good hearted person with God’s Spirit is going to recognize truths such as: “Forbear one another, and forgive one another, if any man has a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also forgive.” COL 3:13 People of wisdom realize that forgiveness is crucial to being successful in life. Going back to the problem causing missionaries, undoubtedly some have been, just as there are problem causing people of all categories…let us forgive others and focus on doing what is right ourselves.
“WE ALL HAVE A LITTLE OF THE TRUTH” so, according to the World, Christians should stop preaching. It is common for people to think that because we each see only part of the whole that we should shut up because we are no more correct than someone else. Each of the blind men felt the elephant & experienced him differently…so who are we to tell someone else they are wrong. This would be quite true, if the written Word of God did not give us thousands of years of wisdom from a select group of spiritual giants. Christ did not come to offer a piece of the puzzle, but the completed puzzle. That does not mean that bickering and arguing about differences is productive. On the other hand, neither is it productive to just accept whatever someone else believes because he may potentially have a piece of the puzzle of life. What piece of the puzzle does an atheist have? The basic belief of the atheist is that the Creator of the Universe does not exist. So what piece of truth does he have? And even if he has some small piece, does that justify accepting whatever he believes??
If Christians have the entire puzzle why do they have disagreements?? Moral conflicts in life can be called dilemmas. Sometimes the good we want to do is also going to bring about some evil consequence. We discover that conflicting principles apply in a single dilemma. We have conflicting obligations and have to weigh wisely the relative importance of those conflicting obligations. Should I be kind or honest? Christians can at times, sincerely come to different conclusions and apply different scriptural principles…in such cases, the fundamental issue is always: What gives life in all its forms, and what gives death in its various forms. We should always choose life. That is the choice God repeatedly gave His people…life or death. And that is what sums up this whole discussion. The crucial issue is not how to make ourselves better people…but rather LIFE or DEATH. Without Christ’s atonement, & without God’s Spirit there is no spiritual life. The real issue is LIFE or DEATH which is why the Christian message & witness is so important. Brothers & sisters, hopefully this short message will strengthen you in the coming days & years when we are viciously & repeatedly attacked for believing we have the truth.