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  22nd July 2023

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Protected by Truth and Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)

The late philosophy professor, Allan Bloom, began his best-seller, The Closing of the American Mind stating,
There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.
(Relative truth is the belief that truth changes based on the individual's understanding of it)

If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students' reaction: they will be uncomprehending.
That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2+2=4. These are things you don't think about.

He goes on to point out that although these students may be varied in backgrounds and religious beliefs, they are unified in their allegiance to relativism and equality. The danger they fear from those who hold to absolute truth is not error, but intolerance.

And tolerance is the supreme virtue that our educational system has inculcated for many decades. Bloom says, "The point is not to correct the mistakes [of the past] and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all."

Bloom was not a Christian. He could not be labelled a "fundamentalist."
He was a Jewish philosopher at a secular university who was pointing out the absurdity of intellectual relativism.

It effectively shuts down rational discourse, education, and all attempts to improve society by resolving problems. But it is firmly entrenched in our educational system and in our society at large.

If we throw out the idea of absolute truth, we are also discarding absolute standards of morality.

Mark Helprin, a novelist, observed the absurd fervency with which university professors and students hold to relativism. He was speaking at a university town in Massachusetts. Before he knew it, he found himself debating his entire audience on the subjects of human sacrifice and cannibalism.

It was not that these well-educated people were in favour of sacrificing children to the gods, as the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures did. They weren't advocating the cannibalism of the South Sea islanders from 150 years ago.

Rather, Helprin said, "to take the position that human sacrifice and cannibalism are wrong is not only to reject relativism but to place oneself decisively in the ranks of Western Civilization ...and this they would not do."

Many college students cannot bring themselves to say that the Holocaust was evil. One student said, "Of course I dislike the Nazis, but who is to say they are morally wrong?"
While these students deplore what Hitler did, they express their disapproval as a matter of personal preference, not as a moral judgment.

I wish that our cultural tolerance of sin and rejection of moral absolutes were only outside the church.

But a study by George Barna in the early 1990's showed that while only 28 percent of the general population expressed strong belief in absolute truth, among those who identified themselves as born-again evangelicals, the number dropped to 23 percent!

I saw this personally when I spoke recently at the city's Diversity Awareness meeting.
At least two young women identified themselves as Christians, but proceeded to say that we should not be judgmental by calling homosexuality sin.
Rather, we should "love" these people and accept their behaviour.

When the apostle Paul tells us how to stand firm against these evil spiritual forces, he lists six pieces of spiritual armour to put on: the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God .

Today we should examine the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, which stand firmly opposed to the philosophical and moral relativism of our day. Paul is saying, Stand firm against the enemy, gird yourself with the belt of truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Since we will never be perfect in this life, in what sense can we "put on the breastplate" of practical righteousness?
Can't Satan always bring an accusation against our imperfect behaviour?

Steven J. Cole
Steve served as the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship from May, 1992 through his retirement in December, 2018.
From 1977-1992 he was the pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California.
He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1976 in Bible exposition) and California State University, Long Beach (B.A., philosophy, 1968). He enjoys writing and has had articles published in many different publications.

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