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Friday, January 13, 2012

Do All Roads Lead To God & Are There Moral Absolutes? (The Issue of Post-Modernism in Our Churches)

By: Shannon R. Haas
          It is quite popular within our culture today (especially among the West & portions of Europe) to believe that all paths of faith lead to God.  “Like spokes on a wagon wheel,” they say, “all lead to the central hub of God.” Oprah Winfrey once gave her analogy as describing a mountain we are all climbing, but taking different paths to the top (which lead to heaven).  Also, I’ve heard from many that, “truth is relative”, and that “truth is ultimately found within ourselves”. Is this true though?  Are we all ultimately on the right path that leads to God regardless of what we believe or how we live our lives?  Is there an absolute moral set of standards given to us from some superior or sovereign God, or are we all here to evolve our morals on our own through time?  It is getting more common when asking just about anyone these days in that they will tell you, “right and wrong are a matter of human opinion.”  “There are no absolutes,” they say, and therefore, “my view or belief is as good as yours or that of the next person.”  Well if this is so, I say, “Then how can we be absolutely sure that there are no absolutes”?  Some would also be tempted to twist a few verses from the Bible out of context and say that mankind needs to just live by “the golden rule”, in that we are all to “love others as we would want to be loved.”  Again, another would say, “let’s just all get along in the name of peace.” “You be you, and I’ll be me.”  That’s a noble idea; however, under whose definition of love and peace do we go by?? Well, let’s take a look and examine these popular cultural ideas from a rational, reasonable, and logical perspective.
          Just taking a brief look at these claims should immediately throw up some red flags to the average thinking person.  If one were to plan a trip (to let’s say my house), it would be illogical for me to tell that individual that they could “just jump on any road, and take any direction, and it will lead to my house”.  That would obviously not fly and would likely lead to the questioning of my sanity.  Take a pilot for instance.  If a pilot were to board his plane and say, “well there are no set of standards or laws concerning thermodynamics, so therefore I will be flying this plane today in the manner as I see fit”, that pilot would not be keeping his job very long, and would quickly clear his plane of passengers from fear.  However, I have found recently that when it comes to those who would take the stand of a conservative, biblical approach of an absolute, “thus says the Lord”, they are usually immediately ridiculed and scorned as: intolerant, extreme, radical, fundamental, dogmatic, judgmental, (and a variety of other titles are given to them from our current culture).  I have even recently read the word “hater” given to those who would dare to proclaim a moral absolute.  Some argue that, “it’s unfair to be comparing the natural realm with the spiritual realm!” But I say, that if one believes in God we ought to know from a common reasonable sense that the spiritual realm governs the natural in everything we see around us.  The Bible declares this in Romans 1:19-20 “….what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Also, in Hebrews 11:3 we read, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”  The ultimate problem is we “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” because our “deeds are evil” Romans 1:18 & John 3:19.  When we look at a building we cannot deny that there was a builder, when looking at a painting we know there must be a painter, and when looking at a watch there are no other options but to say there was indeed a watchmaker.  Although we may not see the watchmaker abroad in Japan (or wherever), we cannot deny that he exists from the evidence we have before our eyes.  The same conclusion is true concerning God.        
          I believe that much of today’s problems (especially in America), that have blinded our minds is not only the clinging to our own selfish sinful lifestyles, but is due to our recent materialistic and post-modern ideas that have actually developed over many decades.  What is post-modernism (PM)?  Well, PM takes on many forms today such as: political correctness, pluralism, pragmatism, moral relativism, deconstructionism, and by a variety of other titles.  A great resource booklet from Chapel Library (mountzion.org) called Post-ModernismAttack on the Heart of Biblical Christianity (by: Erroll Hulse) is a great read on the subject.  John MacArthur (from gty.org) in his third edition book, Ashamed Of The Gospel When The Church Becomes Like The World (pgs. 20-24), has described that from the mid-1960s through the 1980s, the term was used with increasing frequency to describe a way of thinking about truth and interpreting language.  He goes on to say that it ties in directly to the cultural ideas mentioned above and is well-suited to a society where what we feel is far more important than facts or what we think. 
          PM also arrogantly props up evolution as a means of our existence, instead of special creation that the Bible so clearly declares in Genesis.  It has become an integral part of our education system, political structure, and is pumped aggressively through all our media.  It binds us in ignorance, and substitutes our own warped reason in place of the Scriptural standard.  It is appealing and like a disease because PM is a way out for living and believing as we wish, without moral accountability to an absolute, sovereign, righteous, holy, loving, and just God. The total collapse of morality we see today, and the implementation of PM should be a stern reminder to us of Proverbs 14:12…”There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.”
          During my upbringing, this idea of ever changing views that evolve through time really bothered me.  I was raised believing there was a God, but didn’t understand all the confusion of different religions, denominations, etc., and which was to be trusted as the truth?  My family attended a Catholic Church where (like many liberal Protestant denominations) its leaders and doctrines continually morph with the culture as the hierarchy change positions.  To me, a life and world with no set of moral absolutes seemed to have little purpose and meaning.
          To make a long story short, my frustration grew intensely as I entered my late teen years, which lead to a life of alcohol and rebellion.  At the infamous high point of it all I ended up committing an armed robbery of a convenience store at age 21.  This eventually landed me in prison, but ended up being the means and avenue God used in assisting me to find the truth.  Still lost and confused, one day as I attended a jail Bible study I was struck by a message the pastor gave concerning Bible prophecy and the astronomical odds of all these prophecies being fulfilled to the very letter (At this time I was dabbling with a variety of different religious beliefs: scientology, yoga, etc., and of course reading the Bible some, but never had any concrete reasons for believing any of these to be true).  Upon hearing the Bible regarding the fulfillment of prophecy it really drew me to investigate the Bible further. To my amazement, after continued study and reading of the Gospels I found that the Bible was indeed trustworthy through what I call; ‘a sure word of prophecy’. In addition to prophecy, I also found encouragement in the volumes of Bible apologetics concerning creation, archeology, and history that confirm the Bible as the unchanging, absolute, exclusive, infallible, and authoritative Word of God.  It is indeed true that the Bible is sufficient for all matters of life as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
          All of this knowledge ultimately led me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior through faith and repentance (Ephesians 2:8-10).  I saw myself as a wretched sinner heaped in pride and selfishness and in need of God’s forgiveness.  My point in briefly sharing this tidbit of testimony is to explain that for the first time in my life I found a source of absolute truth, a solid rock and foundation that I could place my trust in.  In fact, the Bible declares that the Lord is the “rock” and “foundation” for those who place their trust in Him.  I now have true peace and no longer have to be under the world’s post-modern system of an insecure and unstable, ever-changing culture.  In fact, Malachi 3:6 declares: “For I am the Lord, I do not change”, and in Hebrews 13:8 we see that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”   
          In conclusion, I have become convinced that the premise behind post-modernism—that everyone has a right to his own beliefs, and that they all lead to the same place—led to nowhere. Had I continued on Oprah’s proverbial path up the mountain, God would never have been waiting at the top for me. Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” John 14:6 & Acts 4:12.
          In today’s society, the lack of absolutes defines our culture. “Whatever you believe is right for you” is the mantra. Why is this so dominant in the churches nowadays? Is it because we are now so afraid of offending anyone? For taking any stand that is unpopular? In my opinion, having NO absolutes is much more dangerous and frightening. No absolutes mean no rules, no discipline, and everyone pursuing what is right in his own eyes. It is the recipe for disaster and the rampant immorality that we now see throughout our World.  It’s like a father who is unwilling to discipline and set rules for the well-being of his child. The child grows up rebellious and headstrong towards the path of his own destruction; we are doing the same as long as we believe there are no absolutes!
Shannon R. Haas

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