Reportedly a recent Barna Research Group poll showed that 70 percent of American high school students believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. Certainly what we believe to be true has a great influence on our morality, and clearly there’s been a shift in the American culture—most likely in all of western culture—away from modern thought that relies on scientific, philosophic, or religious absolutes, to postmodern thought that evaluates truth subjectively.
Hence, one of the philosophical positions postmodern thought holds is that truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Gotquestions.org explains the postmodern perception of truth this way:
postmodernism is a philosophy that affirms no objective or absolute truth, especially in matters of religion and spirituality. When confronted with a truth claim regarding the reality of God and religious practice, postmodernism’s viewpoint is exemplified in the statement “that may be true for you, but not for me.”
In its thumbnail sketch of postmodernism PBS.org includes the following:
reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually.
I think this latter is an important key to understand this way of thinking that has become fundamental to our culture. The idea is that reality (R) is not understood as R by any and all parties and therefore is not R.
There’s an old saying that winners write the history, which is another way of saying winners and losers don’t see the war in the same way.
Of course different people have different perspectives, but the postmodern thinker goes on to say that perception creates reality.
Sadly that idea is wrong.
The clearest way to disprove the idea that truth is relative is to consider what the Bible says about truth:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
Truth, then, is not a description of reality or an interpretation of it. Truth is a person. A person is either believed or disbelieved, followed or ignored, trusted or distrusted. There is no room for relativism in relating to a person.
A person is objective, outside our subjective interpretation. I can believe Jesus is Santa Claus, but my idea about Him doesn’t change Him. He stands before me as He is, apart from my ideas about Him. My view of Him does not affect Him. He is who He is, independent of my opinion or belief or indifference.
Since Jesus clearly states that He is truth, and a person clearly is not relative, then it’s easy to conclude that truth is not relative. It is absolute.