Two thousand years ago, a man named Pontius Pilate asked Jesus the question “WHAT IS TRUTH? (Jn 18:38)”. According to Webster dictionary, truth is simply “the property of being in accord with fact or reality.” For a statement to be true it must agree with knowledge (fact or reality), or be logically correct, or both, depending upon the context.
Is there Absolute Truth or Is all Truth Relative? The biggest obstacle to finding truth today is “relativism,” especially when it comes to those most important questions of faith, morals, and life’s meaning. Moral relativism is the view that when it comes to questions of morality, there are no absolutes and no objective right or wrong; moral rules are merely personal preferences and/or the result of one’s cultural, sexual or ethnic orientation. Christianity proclaims there are absolute moral norms that apply to all persons in all places at all times. Relativism denies there are moral norms. If relativism is true, then Christianity is false! If there is no basis for right and wrong, then Christianity is a meaningless set of values. If relativism is false, then there must be an objective source of what is right or wrong.
“What is the purpose of life?, Why do I exist?, How am I supposed to live? and What happens when I die?,” are questions that can be answered only in the light of philosophy and theology. Relativism would answer these questions by saying they aren’t truths to be discovered but ideas that each person should make up for himself. It’s all about personal taste. A person who believes in objective moral truth would ask, “Is this action right or wrong?” A relativist would ask, “Do I really want to do this? Or “Will this action make me feel good or bad?” The relativist says not to do the right thing but do as you will.
For instance, some will claim that there is nothing wrong with abortion. The relativist believes our rights come from the government or by a majority vote. It could be said that, “If abortion isn’t wrong, what is?” For the relativist, the answer would be “Nothing is wrong.”
Relativism destroys faith. A relativist would say things like, “Jesus is God for you, but Hinduism is God for someone else.” By this, the relativist would say that people see God differently and each person is able to create his or her own deity based on his personal tastes.
Is there a right and wrong? Jesus promises, “You are truly My disciples if you keep obeying My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32). God’s truth frees us to live as He intended. He is our anchor of truth in a society of relativism and falsehood. So, do our decisions and lifestyle demonstrate that we are listening to Jesus?, or, have we bought into the lies of popular culture? Truth will be found only by those who seek it in the right places.
Where do we get “Moral Truth?” Well, Jesus established One Visible Church, not an invisible body of believers. In Matt. 16-18: Jesus says, “And I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In Matt. 18:17, Jesus says, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” This church is the “Catholic Church”
Was it a teaching or a Bible-reading Church that Christ founded? Our Lord Himself never wrote a line, nor is there any record that He ordered his Apostles to write; He did command them to teach and to preach. Matt. 28, 18-20: “Then Jesus says to his apostles, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, unto the end of the age’.”
Who decided which books were inspired and therefore belonged to the New Testament? Well, shortly before 400 A. D. a General Council of the Catholic Church, using the infallible authority which Christ had given to His own divine institution, finally decided which books really belonged to the New Testament and which did not.
The Fullness of faith and the truth resides in the Catholic Church. “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #85)
Through the first 1500 years of the Church, false doctrines and heresies of Truth were settled from within the Church. Martin Luther was a priest and decided to leave Jesus’ established Church and start his own. This started a wave of Christian churches in “protest” of the Catholic Church. We now have over 33,000+ different Protestant denominations. Most all claim that it is the Bible and only the Bible that is the pillar and mainstay of truth. The question is, what version of the truth do we follow?
“Why so many denominations?” It is because there is so much different interpretation of the Bible; there is so much different interpretation of the Bible because there is so much wrong interpretation; there is so much wrong interpretation because the system of interpreting is radically wrong. This is a form of moral relativism. The Holy Spirit cannot contradict itself. You cannot have one Fold and one Shepherd, one Faith and one Baptism, by allowing every man and every woman to distort and pervert the Scriptures to suit his or her own pet theories. Denominational life has been influenced by the culture of individualism, especially in America. Many people look to a church that agrees with their own personal values.
Believers are rejecting moral absolutes for ‘what feels right.’ It’s not only the world that no longer believes in right and wrong, but almost as many Christians are likely to base their moral decisions on what they feel rather than what the Word teaches, according to a survey. Barna Research Group (BRG), revealed that among all adults, only 22 percent believed in moral absolutes, while 64 percent thought truth was always relative to the person concerned and their situation. Among interviewees identified as being born again, just 32 percent believed in moral absolutes. Among teen-agers, 83% of all teens thought moral truth depended on the circumstances, with just 6 % believing in absolute truth.
God calls all of us to have an informed Moral Conscience. So, where do we turn? Church authority, Scripture, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Until next time, God bless.