What is Truth?
There seems to be a popular movement these days within
higher learning in regards to the proper definition and understanding of the
word truth. Through the re-definition of
this single word, virtually every single problem of church unity, right
worship, faith, morality, decline of the home, abortion, you name it, can be
traced. Postmodern secularists, as you
know, now run rampant, not only in our universities, but also in our public as
well as private elementary, junior, and senior high schools. They label their views tolerant, insightful,
and in many cases, elite. However, they
are, quite honestly, none of these things.
They do not believe in truth because in a culture where all views are
equal and none are wrong, then all things and ideas must be merely relative so
as not to offend those who disagree.
Truth becomes, in their view, only a construct or a creation of our
minds. Many even go a step further in
proclaiming that it is Christians who have misused truth and are the cause of
every political and social injustice ever known to modern mankind. If you don't believe me in regards to that
last point, when was the last time you heard a mainstream professor or
instructor question and/or insult the morality, philosophical teachings, or the
creation theories of the American Indian, a Wiccan, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a
Muslim? You haven't and you won't. It is Christianity alone which is being
attacked, and of course, the only way to conquer Christianity, is to re-define truth. If society, then, can re-define truth, it can
then easily and quickly tear apart the Christian community. The reason Christianity proclaims the truth
is because it proclaims Christ as "the way, the truth, and the light" and Christ
himself revealed absolute truth to the world.
Therefore, anyone who rejects Christ places a "stumbling block"
in-between themselves and truth. If
Christ and His Church are the truth, and can be proven to be so beyond a
reasonable doubt, then the only way for the truth of Christ to be conquered is
for it to be re-defined.
Winston Churchill once wrote, "Men stumble over the truth
from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing
happened." This statement humorously
affirms the idea that while men often come upon the truth, they often reject
and ignore it willingly. Many of us
accept today that "no one can know the truth."
The problem is, this statement is self-defeating. It is self-defeating because in order for the
statement to be taken seriously, the statement would have to be true, meaning
the person uttering the statement would know truth. If anyone says that you cannot know truth or
that truth is relative, tell him or her to go jump off a very high building so
as to prove that gravity is not knowable, the hardness of concrete is not
knowable, and death by impact is untrue.
Nevertheless, we know the statement "no one can know the truth" is a
completely false statement. There are
many very knowable truths in this world.
There are real and absolute truths everywhere and they can be found in
every aspect of our lives. Truth exists
in science, history, philosophy, and even politics. Therefore, as Orthodox Christians, we have an
obligation to seek out the truth in every single aspect of our lives or we will
fall under the heavy weight of its burden.
This does not mean that we use truth for own selfish means,
contort truth to support sin, or use truth for the insidious reduction of
another human being. Those very actions
themselves go against the absolute truths of love, compassion, and
forgiveness. Truth is too big to be used
like a ten-year-old child who might say, "You're a big fat jerk. I'm just being
truthful." This is immaturity, which is
a breeding ground for untruths. Thus, we
must accept truth in all of its forms, as the truths of love, compassion,
forgiveness, justice, science, and philosophy are not contrary to one another,
but coexist, for they must. If they did
not, then they would cease to be truths.
For example, if we accept that science opposes Christianity,
as some mistakenly believe, then as secularists we would have to accept that
Christianity is false because of the many absolute truths within science. However, on the contrary, present science
continues to prove the validity of Christian teachings, morality, and
intelligent design theory more and more everyday. Real, accurate science supports Christianity,
so why is this not being taught publicly.
Well, it has nothing to do with the "separation of church and state," as
you might think. Simply put, there is an
anti-Christian bias in this world that has and will continue to exist until the
Second Coming. Go to any collegiate evolutionary
course and you will find just as much talk about the Old Testament than in any
Religious 101 course around, demonstrating their opposition to the
Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone. The
secular atheists continue to place science in opposition to Christianity,
though no opposition exists. They
continually proclaim, for example, that the entire cosmos and all that is
within it, were created out of nothing, against all known scientific laws
without divine intervention, that the perfect design and balance of all matter
and life is completely accidental, and that morality is merely a human
They constantly fail to accept that only the morality of a
truly Christian society can result in an orderly, peace seeking, and just
society. They often point to so-called
Christian atrocities during the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition as proof
positive that all of Christianity is oppressive and out of touch. However, they willingly fail to acknowledge
that none of the atrocities surrounding these events were supported or condoned
by the real and true Orthodox Christian Church.
Atrocities committed by small, isolated groups of Christians do not make
them, as whole, Christian atrocities.
Additionally, scientific principles of law, order, and statistics prove
over and over again the truth of Christ, yet we are told by many atheistic,
humanistic, self-serving scientists that science disproves any and all
religions. And why? Because the truth of God and his morality is too much to
accept. To live a moral, disciplined
life is not appealing enough, even if it is based on truth. Atheist, Scientist, and Philosopher Friedrich
Nietzsche once wrote, "It is our preference that decides against Christianity,
not our arguments." What this most very
candid statement demonstrates is that those outside of true Orthodox
Christianity aren't interested in listening to statements of fact, since those
statements don't support their desire that God doesn't exist or that He is so
"distant" from us that there is no possible way to know which world religion
proclaims His truth.
It seems logical, also, that in this modern society,
intelligence and intellect are also placed in opposition to Christian beliefs
and teachings. While this is not true,
we as Christians, through our own actions, have accepted this untruth. To this day, many of us reject the truth of
Christ because of our own humanistic, secular, and self-serving ideas and ways
(i.e. "the church is a business"). We
confuse the world by not living what we preach.
We say that Christian morality is the way of truth, but don't even live
it or make any effort to defend it. We
say we believe in the Bible but know nothing of it. We say that we believe in the episcopacy, the
priesthood, and the grace within them, but fail to recognize any of the Church
authority they might have. We say that
abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, selfishness, and dishonesty are
the downfalls of a society, then show statistical data that all of these
behaviors do, in fact, result in a corrupt society, then openly commit these
behaviors, or even defend them, rather than confront them. We profess the importance of wisdom and
knowledge, yet know nothing of real history beyond our secular history books
and classrooms. We reject data that
supports our very own arguments against cohabitation, cremation, and the
tragedies of assisted suicide. We often
claim that we don't have the time to educate ourselves on our faith or attend
church regularly, but find plenty of time to read romance novels, research
books on the occult or even aliens, and watch the all too important football
game, baseball game, or golf match, which easily last several hours on prime
time television. The world rightly asks
us, how can you proclaim the truth of Christ, when your actions demonstrate
that you don't even believe in His truth or live by it yourself?
So what will our answer be?
How will we respond to all of these accusations? Do we, in fact, believe in absolute truth and
the truth of the God-made-Man, Jesus Christ?
Can we support our arguments of the true Faith and the one true Church of Christ that exists to defend and
proclaim that truth? Or will we placate
ourselves so as not to offend? We must
begin to place reason and truth above feelings, for if we do not, we will continue
to accept that anything is true, based on how we feel about it, rather than
basing our decisions on merit. We must
not be ashamed, embarrassed or ambiguous about the truth we possess. We must be committed to living a life in
Christ, and in so doing, we will bring others to Him through our very own
behaviors. Those who have found real
truths in their lives, find living life so much more complete and so much freer
from the bondage of compulsion and sin.
Those who reject truth will continue to re-define truth, will continue
to design their own already failed moralities, and will ultimately reject God
and reject the truth. The moment we
refocus our minds to accept truth and to make all decisions with it clearly in
mind, our lives will be changed forever, and at the end of the tunnel, Christ
will be waiting, for He was Truth, He is Truth, and He will always be
Truth. Glory Be to Jesus Christ!
-Fr. Michael Ellis