As a child, we were taught to embrace the truth; ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made known to us. We were taught to seek the purity of life and of motive, the simplicity of life, and that true riches are within our grasp if, and only if we sought and held close eternal truths … absolute truths. And when we sought ways to distort these truths, we would take away from our joy, our deep understanding, and therefore our happiness. I can tell you few things, but of this I’m certain; that truths are the only things that will work—for you, for me, for us all. A pattern of life, putting into concrete daily practice these eternal truths.
And though I’ve fallen, more than once over the falsehoods we all create to excuse our actions, there are absolute truths that can enrich our lives. So, you can easily fault my life because of I’ve fallen short, but please consider these things as you choose your path.
“Absolute truth” is defined as inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares.
Absolute Truth vs. Relativism
While absolute truth is a logical necessity, there are some religious orientations (atheistic humanists, for example) who argue against the existence of absolute truth. Humanism’s exclusion of God necessitates moral relativism. Humanist John Dewey (1859-1952), co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.” Humanists believe one should do, as one feels is right. So, there is that question placed before me, with my steadfast faith in immutable truths. And, though I have no need to diminish or even question that faith, questions contrary to my faith requires that it be faced for the sake of those I share life with. So, if it is fair to question my faith in immutable truths, it is also fair for you to consider my humble reply.
Absolute Truth – A Logical Necessity
You can’t logically argue against the existence of absolute truth. To argue against something is to establish that a truth exists. You cannot argue against absolute truth unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. Consider a few of the classic arguments and declarations made by those who seek to argue against the existence of absolute truth.
“There are no absolutes.” First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. If the statement is true, there is, in fact, an absolute – there are absolutely no absolutes.
“Truth is relative.” Again, this is an absolute statement implying truth is absolutely relative. Besides positing an absolute, suppose the statement was true and “truth is relative.” Everything including that statement would be relative. If a statement is relative, it is not always true. If “truth is relative” is not always true, sometimes truth is not relative. This means there are absolutes, which means the above statement is false. When you follow the logic, relativist arguments will always contradict themselves.
“Who knows what the truth is, right?” In the same sentence the speaker declares that no one knows what the truth is, then he turns around and asks those who are listening to affirm the truth of his statement.
“No one knows what the truth is.” The speaker obviously believes his statement is true, but how can he know that unless he know what the truth is?
There are philosophers who actually spend countless hours toiling over thick volumes written on the “meaninglessness” of everything. We can assume they think the text is meaningful! Then there are those philosophy teachers who teach their students, “No one’s opinion is superior to anyone else’s. There is no hierarchy of truth or values. Anyone’s viewpoint is just as valid as anyone else’s viewpoint. We all have our own truth.” Then they turn around and grade the papers!
Lies have many variation, yet the truth has none.
Absolute Truth – Morality
Morality is a facet of absolute truth. Thus, relativists often declare, “It’s wrong for you to impose your morals on me.” By declaring something is wrong, the relativist is contradicting himself by imposing his morals upon you.
You might hear, “There is no right, there is no wrong!” You must ask, is that statement right or wrong?
If you catch a relativist in the act of doing something they know is absolutely wrong, and you try to point it out to them, they may respond in anger, “Truth is relative! There’s no right and there’s no wrong! We should be able to do whatever we want!” If that is a true statement and there is no right and there is no wrong, and everyone should be able to do whatever they want, then why have they become angry? What basis do they have for their anger? You can’t be appalled by an injustice, or anything else for that matter, unless an absolute has somehow been violated.
Relativists often argue, “Everybody can believe whatever they want!” It makes us wonder, why are they arguing? We find it amusing that relativists are the ones who want to argue about relativism. Beware of half truths. You may take hold of the wrong half.
If you attempt to tell a relativist the difference between right and wrong, you will no doubt hear, “None of that is true! We make our own reality!” If that’s true, and we all create our own reality, then our statement of moral accountability is merely a figment of the relativist’s imagination. If a relativist has a problem with a statement of absolute morality, the relativist should take the issue up with himself.
Absolute Truth – The Conclusion
We all know there is absolute truth. It seems the more we argue against it, the more we prove its existence. Reality is absolute whether you feel like being cogent or not. Philosophically, relativism is contradictory. Practically, relativism is anarchy. The world is filled with absolute truth.
A relativist maintains that everyone should be able to believe and do whatever he wants. Of course, this view is emotionally satisfying, until that person comes home to find his house has been robbed, or someone seeks to hurt him, or someone cuts in front of him in line. No relativist will come home to find his house robbed and say, “Oh, how wonderful that the burglar was able to fulfill his view of reality by robbing my house. Who am I to impose my view of right and wrong on this wonderful burglar?” Quite the contrary, the relativist will feel violated just like anyone else. And then, of course, it’s OK for him to be a relativist, as long as the “system” acts in an absolutist way by protecting his “unalienable rights.”
There are truths in life, and no connivance can alter them. We sometimes twist truths to meet our objectives in life, but in the end there are everlasting truths.