One of the more common praises is a relief amongst Christians that the Truth Project is standing up and defending "Absolute Truth". In fact, I think in many circles, clinging to absolute truth has become synonymous with (or has even surpassed) clinging to Christ.
Somewhere in Christian history the notion that some truth is not relative became NO truth is relative. In fact, the word relativism has become a swear word or an insult. In fundamentalist camps it would be a low blow to refer to someone as a "relativist".
Well, I am a relativist. I think we all are. God sees the whole picture. The rest of us are peeking through our lenses and vested interests from our different perspectives and angles. How could it be any different? The difference between myself and someone who claims to cling to absolute truth is that I recognize that the ground on which I stand is positional in reference to God. Therefore, I must keep moving to gain a better view of God. The absolutists believe their position to BE the baseline and if everyone would just come and stand where they are standing - all would be clear.
This is why I feel programs like the Truth Project can be so damaging. It makes the listener feel they are putting on layers of armor... when actually it is mere papier-mâché. You have all seen this or heard it in action. A Christian who has read a book, or seen a DVD, or heard their Pastor, has become an expert and tries to engage someone from the "other side" - except it doesn't sound like a discussion, it sounds like a lecture. The Christian gets befuddled by the most sincere contradictory questions (because their beliefs have been given, not earned) and goes back to repeating what they have already stated. Finally the Christian, in frustration, walks away muttering something about the other not "having ears to hear the truth" or other such nonsense. The Christian tends to learn NOTHING from an exchange like this because they usually make very poor assumptions:
- He or she already has the Truth
- The other is against them
- Anyone not of the Christian Faith brings nothing of spiritual value to the table
- If the other does have a spiritual insight, it must be tainted
Paul was a relativist. He was completely comfortable being a Jewish believer. He just felt that Gentile believers didn't need to be Jewish believers. Many Jewish believers felt that there were obvious markers to who was in the Faith and who wasn't. Paul rejected this - not the markers themselves, only their enforcement on others. However, he gave grace for people to personally do what they felt they needed to do, "If anyone regards something as unclean... then for him it is unclean." Today in Christendom, we would want to press Paul for a straight answer. He would give none. He would shrug and say, "It is a matter of your conscience". I tend to think most of the Christian Testament writers would be unpopular in Christian circles today.
Paul spoke positively about freedom. Why is the Christian community so afraid of it?