Is truth absolute or relative?

Secular thinkers assert that truth is always relative. Is killing right or wrong? It depends. That is why we have major social arguments over abortion.

Is theft sometimes justified? A woman who was posting details about her daily life with her children praised her daughter for thinking that way. The daughter mentioned a fairytale in which a character stole something. Her brother said, “I would punch that fellow right in his eye!” The daughter said, “That’s not nice. You should ask him why he stole.” In other words, his theft might be justifiable, because theft is not an absolute moral wrong.

Is a crowd of people justified in looting and destroying property just because the crowd suspects that a cop murdered a black man as an act of racism? The investigation is in progress. Nobody can safely conclude the truth of the situation. The people who were there to see the facts have not testified. The autopsy which will reveal the way the victim died has not been completed. The question is, before anyone has any information on which to base a conclusion about the behavior of the policeman, is a crowd justified in threatening bystanders and destroying businesses because they think the action might have been racist. For that matter, if the evidence proved that the policeman shoot a black man solely because he hates black people, does that fact justify endangering bystanders and destroying property?

I am asking one question, and one question only. Is it always wrong for a crowd to destroy the property of someone just because they are angry about something not related to that individual or that property? Or is it always right? Or does it depend?

The Bible teaches us that there is absolute truth, and there is absolute morality, just as there is absolute gravity. With gravity, if you disregard the law, thinking it does not apply to you, you can walk off any ten-story building you like. However, the fact that you think the law does not apply has no bearing on your fate. You will fall. If you are very, very fortunate you will not die, but you will fall, no matter what you think. The Bible teaches us that truth is like that, morality is like that. You can disregard truth, and you can disregard God’s moral laws, and you can declare that they do not apply to you, but the fact remains that you will suffer the consequences of your disregard. If you say that a stove is not hot when it is very hot, and then lay your hand on the stove, it will burn you. If you say that murder and mayhem are not immoral, because you have a right to be angry with someone, and you commit murder, you will suffer the consequences. I’m not talking about arrest, conviction and execution. I am talking about what happens when human being kills another human being.

In Great Britain, during the era when many people were executed by the act of a single person designated to be the executioner, the process of execution included an act that might seem incongruous to contemporary secular thinkers. The person being executed was expected to forgive the executioner.

This action was not a trivial ceremonial act. It was serious business. At that time, the state religion of Great Britain was, as it is today, Christianity. The Church of England took human life and death seriously. It was not viewed as a trivial duty of government to execute convicted felons. To execute someone is to take from that person the life given to him by God at the moment of conception. The minute that person first came into being, the moment the sperm from the father penetrated the egg of the mother, a human life was created, and that human life was God’s to give and God’s to take away. It was regarded as the most extreme presumption for anyone to take the life of another, which is the reason that someone convicted of murder might be sentenced to be executed.

However, the Church of England respected even the life of a convicted murderer sufficiently to insist that when a murderer was about to be executed, he must forgive his executioner, in order that the executioner, acting as the agent of the God-given government, not incite revenge on behalf of the convict by acting as the agent of lawful government to kill another human being. The Church may have had unrealistic expectations of both the executioner and the convict, but nevertheless, the expectation expressed something important: human beings presume upon the prerogatives of God when they take human life.

That tiny expectation that the convict would forgive his executioner also expressed a recognition that even a foul murderer is not so completely depraved that he does not recognize the burden laid upon his executioner, if he, the murderer, is unable to forgive the agent of the state for doing his duty.

Today’s secular thinkers, the mainstay of government officialdom, do not recognize that absolute truth exists. For them, it always depends on something. Even instruments such as the Constitution and laws passed by Congress are not absolute; it always “depends.” This mindset has been applied to decisions not to enforce laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act and the whole suite of immigration law. It naturally follows that because they do not respect the absolute validity of human law, they certainly do not respect the absolute validity of God’s law. Truth. Integrity. Respect for life. Marriage. In their view it all “depends” on the perspective of the individual. This attitude can be summed up in a single concept: every human being is a law unto himself.

May God absolutely bring to their attention his absolute sovereignty and his absolute expectations in order that they may know and recognize what Christ did for them when he absolutely died on the cross and absolutely rose from the dead. On the cross, all the consequences for my sins and the sins of everyone in the world were absolutely laid on one sacrificial lamb, because truth is absolute and the consequences of ignoring God’s moral law are just as absolute as the consequences of ignoring gravity.


What is truth? he asked.
The truth is dangerous and frightening.
It is easier to deal with my own perceptions.
I really can’t handle God’s truth.

I really can’t handle God’s truth.
I don’t even want God’s truth.
I hate the lines it draws, confining.
I fear the light that glares, revealing.

I fear the light that glares, revealing.
It’s private, God knows, it’s private.
Leave me alone!
What are you staring at?

What are you staring at?
Nothing to see here.
Behold the Man, the Love, the Light, the Truth.
I have to ask, “What is truth?”

“Truth” © 2008 Katherine Harms