Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tolerance and Moral Free Fall: The Revenge of Offended Absolutes (In Honor of Carrie Prejean – Miss California 2009)

Tolerance once meant listening respectfully to all points of view, freely discussed in our common search for truth. But the new creed is that knowing the truth is impossible. All ideas or propositions are placed on an equal footing, unless it’s a Christian idea, which is curtly dismissed from the marketplace of ideas. Carrie Prejean can tell us all about this.

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 personal preferences (Beckwith).” This is reflected in many places, especially academic settings. When you forget or exclude God, relativism reigns. You become your own moral code. Objective moral standards don’t exist. You become god and usually will gratify your senses however you want, regardless of what other people say or think. When you devalue God, you devalue everything else, including human life.

What we see today is what one author called “the revenge of the offended absolutes” (Colson). Courts strike down simple prayers and religious symbols, and then wonder why barbed wire has to surround the playgrounds. Universities reject the very idea of truth, and are shocked when their brightest students loot and betray their companies. Celebrities mock the traditional family and family values, and then wonder why teenage pregnancy is a global issue. Law makers justify the taking of innocent life in sterile clinics and then act perplexed when life is disregarded in blood-soaked streets.

Sex is sacred, family is one man and one woman and children, integrity is a must in any culture, and a belief in God and obedience to Him are absolutely essential. When these absolutes are offended or ignored, they wreak a kind of revenge and culture pays a price. “We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful,” says Lewis. We laugh at values and then wonder why people do the things they do, why they don’t “produce” more courage, honor, and noble things.

If a student comes to your school wearing a T-shirt that says ALL STATEMENTS ARE FALSE. That statement has a serious problem. If all statements are truly false, then his T-shirt motto must be false as well. See the logical knot. It’s self-defeating. The person who says, “There’s no absolute truth” just shared an absolute truth. They’ve self-defeated themselves. Stop hiding behind self-defeating nonsense, recognize that truth is discovered, not created for oneself, and that when the moral absolutes from a Moral Lawgiver are ignored, society goes into moral free fall, where anything goes.

We tend to define tolerance as moral neutrality – refusing to judge any behavior right or wrong. “It means putting up with people precisely when we believe they are wrong. It means respecting all viewpoints… (Colson).” It gives people room to work through their beliefs. It doesn’t rigidly point to the rules; tolerance reaches out with ideas that are truer, but in so doing it doesn’t suspend judgment. Tolerance requires practicing moral judgment, not suspending it. Tolerance is a virtue, like when opinions are being shared so someone can arrive at the truth. But tolerance is not a virtue when someone is being murdered or raped. Put them in jail immediately! There’s a time for the money-changers to be driven from the temple when the common good is jeopardized.

Tolerance is the wisdom to know which ideas or things to put up with and when, why, and to what degree to put up with them – and the settled disposition of acting on that wisdom (Budziszewski).

Carrie Prejean did the right thing by allowing absolutes to guide her decision and answer. How about we do the same.

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Filed under Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Miss California 2009, Theism, Tolerance, Truth, Worldview

Truth, Goodness, and Beauty: Atheists Have Lost Their Intellectual Virginity

The atheist is one who assets that there is no God. He or she does so, not because there is no evidence for God, but despite the evidence that exists which points to God’s existence. And more often than not, the atheist is one who doesn’t really care if there is a God or not. They have chosen their beliefs before all the evidence has been admitted to their personal courtroom of opinion. The truth of the matter is beside the point for an atheist. By ignoring their innate desire to know things, to want to find out what reality truly is, their intellectual edge has been dulled. The atheists deliberately tries not to know that there is a God, and in doing so, they have lost their intellectual virginity, to borrow a line from C. S. Lewis. Something is lost when someone walls off an entire area of inquiry, especially when that area of inquiry impacts all the other intellectual pursuits.

There are three things that humans live for, three transcendent ideas that we never tire of as human beings: truth, goodness, and beauty. Every human culture seeks these. Our minds want to know all truth. The truth is simply “what is” or “the true state of things.” We want people to tell us the truth in school classrooms, in court, in relationships, in our places of worship, and in our books. But the atheist ignores this transcendent idea of truth. “God doesn’t exists,” as if they’ve lived and learned long enough to actually know this. “I don’t want the truth about God,” somehow is a statement that darkens every other endeavor for truth. Truth points beyond itself to One who is true. To say something is “untrue” presupposes that one knows what truth is.

We reach for goodness. The moralists and philosophers engage in open, honest debate as to what is truly good, where that goodness comes from, and why we aspire to it. Humans desire truth, beauty, honor, justice, courage, love, heroism – the truly good. We desire to be free, to discover our self-worth, to correct our immoral behavior, to piece the hurts of life into some larger picture of meaning. The atheist will never allow this transcendent idea of goodness as an attribute of the One from which goodness comes. Goodness points beyond itself to One who is truly good. To say something is not good, presupposes that we know what is good. How do we call a line crooked unless we know what is straight?

And we lose ourselves in beauty. We live for our songs, our poetry, our stories, our art that somehow captures what it means to be a human, that somehow pictures an ideal state of affairs, where all is as it should be. Beauty points beyond itself to One who is truly beautiful, good, and true. To call something beautiful, presupposes that we know innately what is beautiful.

These transcendent ideas work off of each other. The truth is good and beautiful. The beautiful is true and good. Goodness is true and beautiful. These are secrets that God has shared with mankind alone. We know these things; we experience these things; we live for these things. Take away any one of them, and life becomes absurd, without definition. Our edge is lost. We have mated with existentialism. Our intellectual virginity has been lost, and nothing makes sense unless these three transcendental ideas can be pursued and lived for and can be honest representations of the existence of One through him these ideas come and in Whom they are found.

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Filed under Atheism, Goodness, Theism, Truth