There is an old saying that if a society values philosophers because philosophy is an exalted profession, and looks down on plumbers because plumbing is a plebian profession, the society will soon go downhill because neither its theories nor its pipes will hold water. The obvious point is that all professions are important for the part they play in society. Even philosophers are necessary, to some degree. I guess. Sometimes those people are crazy. There, I said it. I’m not worried about offending any philosophers with that statement, of course, because they would be more worried about whether or not my statement represented truth or not.
One way to differentiate between different schools of philosophy is how they handle the concept of truth and how you discover truth. I remember that part from my study of philosophy, but I forget how to tell those schools apart, now. Of course, we live in an age when none of that matters because truth is considered relative. What’s true for you, may not be true for me, and that’s ok – according to the tenets of post-modernism. In fact, I have decided that Pilate was the first post-modern philosopher. “’You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, ‘I find no basis for a charge against him.’” (John 18:37-38)
Pilate was frustrated when he dealt with Jesus. He was trying to figure out why the Jews had brought Him to have Him executed. All the Jewish leaders said was that He was a criminal. I’m sure Pilate must have wondered, “How? What did He do?” Somehow, the discussion got around to whether or not Jesus was a king and Jesus talked about His kingdom. At last, Pilate had something to go on and when he asked Jesus about Him being a King, Jesus responded with another vague answer. “You say that, but my job is to talk about truth. People who support truth, pay attention to me.” The Pilate asked the question that still rings true today: “What is truth?”
This is the clash that we still deal with today: as followers of Christ, we speak about the truth of Jesus to a world that rejects absolute truth. When it comes to religious belief, they’ll be happy to let us believe in Jesus, if we’re not too obnoxious about it of course, but then in the next breath talk about other religions as equally valid. This lack of belief in absolute truth leads to a world that accepts just about any kind of belief, except for a belief in absolute truth and the impact that has on our lives. Our responsibility as Christians now includes not only proclaiming the truth of Jesus, but showing through our words and our deeds that there is absolute truth that comes from God and that truth should affect our lives. Without absolute truth, our world would be in chaos, if you really apply that principle. Murder would be a relative term, and we see that some cultures today support killing others for reasons that we cannot understand. Without absolute truth, we wouldn’t need grace, absolute grace if you will, that comes from God. And God’s grace is absolute. He offers it no matter what the sin may be. He offers it before you even know that you have sinned if you are living in a world of relative truth. That is why we need to offer God’s grace to those around us. There is no other way for people who don’t know or understand God’s love and grace to experience it unless we show it. Whether or not people come to know Jesus because we extend grace, they should absolutely know that we are there for them.
Lord, You are truth. Let my words and my life show You, Truth, to others.