Relative Truth vs. Hard Truth
Dear Pro-Life Friend,
On June 14, 2008, we received a message from an angry fourteen-year-old boy who lives in Northamptonshire, in the East Midlands of England. He was writing to complain that we had convinced his pregnant, fourteen-year-old classmate to not abort. He had obviously been pressuring this poor girl to end her pregnancy and was upset that CBR’s abortion pictures were winning the argument. The intensity of his anger left us wondering if he might actually be the baby’s father. He said: “My friend is fourteen-years-of-age and having a child WILL ruin her life. Your site is convincing her to keep it. And you call abortions wrong and twisted!” The young mother in this dramatic story might have thought abortion was relatively wrong before seeing its horror. Now she believes it is absolutely wrong. She now understands that it is an abortion, rather than a baby, which “WILL ruin” her life. But the boy remains defiant. Perhaps he is afraid that her baby will ruin HIS life!
The right to abortion is advanced by political activists who bark and growl the word “CHOICE.” “CHOICE” is a demand. It is not an argument. Insistence on “the right to choose” is based on power, not moral authority. It assumes that all truth related to abortion is personal, subjective and relative. Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth. It is guided by feelings rather than facts. Facts, in fact, matter little to these kinds of people.
The majority of the population does, indeed, believe that conduct involving nominal evil is best left to personal discretion. If reasonable minds could disagree as to whether certain behavior is evil, no one has the right to prohibit that behavior for others. Most see nominal evils as matters which involve only relative truth. It is easy for people to trivialize abortion as a nominal evil if they have never seen it. But most who are forced to look at an aborted baby are also forced to stop pretending. They instantly conclude that abortion is NOT a nominal evil. It is an evil of inexpressible enormity.
Civilized nations believe that enormous evils invoke absolute truths. Most people do have a functioning conscience and they agree that enormous evils cannot fairly be left to personal discretion. Evils on this order of magnitude cry out for the imposition of universal prohibitions. Sadly, the boy who wrote us about his pregnant friend seems typical of those for whom nearly all truth, particularly moral truth, is relative. People of this sort tend to be politically and theologically liberal. They share much in common with Pontius Pilate who, in John 18:38, cynically asked, “What is truth?” They dismiss the very concept of absolute truth.
We have found that good people are “pro-choice” because they are ignorant of the facts. We have found that evil people are “pro-choice” because they don’t care about the facts. Education works because more Americans are ignorant than evil. For most, the pictures change everything. They express truth for which no words are adequate. But the numbers of moral relativists are still appallingly high.
The January 10, 2008 Los Angeles Times carried an editorial mocking parental concern over a new California law which bans discrimination against persons on the basis of their “gender identity.” The problem with the ban is that it doesn’t define gender identity objectively, based on a person’s genetic makeup, but subjectively, based potentially on mere whimsy. It arguably allows men, for instance, to arbitrarily define themselves as women and demand access to women’s restrooms and shower facilities. Men could become women merely because they say they are, switching gender (“their truth”) as often as dictated by predatory libidos.
Peter Wehner, writing for National Review Online, published a May 29, 2008 article about President Bush’s former Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s criticism of his old boss. It is called “Scott’s Truth vs. Reality.” Mr. Wehner quotes from the preface which Mr. McClellan wrote for his new book: “But after wrestling with my experiences over the past several months, I have come much closer to my truth than ever before.” Mr. Wehner observes that “This is a very postmodern outlook that subordinates actual truth for ‘my’ truth. And the validation for ‘my truth’ is not anything objective; it is, rather, based on sentiments which – we see clearly in the case of Scott – can shift like the wind.”
The June 23, 2008 issue of Newsweek featured a “My Turn” column written by a homosexual, formerly “Catholic” man, who had just become Episcopal. It was titled “Let Me Worship as I Am.”
When I turned to the Episcopal Church, I saw a Christianity that was alive and evolving, one that delighted in difference and saw God’s creation in many things, including women and openly gay men serving as priests and bishops.
* * *
It is right to stand before God as I am and speak my own truth.
There it is again: “My … truth.” Also note the reference to “evolving” church doctrine, which assumes that Scripture is essentially the speculation of man rather than the revelation of God. Doctrinal evolution assumes that truth is relative instead of absolute. This new convert goes on to assume that because he was born with a sexual preference for men, he was created that way by God and that his homosexuality is, therefore, irresistible and even sanctified. But his syllogism is as illogical as a heterosexual man assuming that because he was born with a sexual preference for women not his wife, he was created that way by God and that his adultery is, therefore, irresistible and also sanctified. This is an argument in defense of the sort of “genetic determinism” which turns us all into helpless robots. It relieves us of any responsibility to resist any pernicious temptation. And yes, the rejection of Scripture which defines homosexual behavior (as opposed to tendencies) as pernicious is a rejection of the Bible and the faith it defines.
The fact is, that all of us are born with all sorts of dysfunctional affinities – it is called “sin nature.” That is why the Bible is so filled with do’s and don’ts. The foundational problem is “The Fall” and it can only be remedied by Christ’s redemption. But I am making an assumption about the authority of Scripture which is not shared by most “high church” Protestant denominations. I remember once hearing a shocking lecture by a Princeton Seminary professor at a national meeting of Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) leaders (who have in the last few days approved the ordination of homosexuals). He said that the writings of Matthew, Mark and Luke were no more sacred than the writings of Tom, Dick and Harry.
This is truly the age of Oprah, where facts matter too little because feelings matter too much. If you Google “Oprah + “book club” + “my truth,” you get 667 hits. One involves an author trying to make a distinction between “emotional truth” and “actual truth.” She contends that emotional truth is still truth, despite being based on feelings which are contradicted by facts.
People who reject the notion of objective truth, moral or otherwise, also tend to be critical of anyone who purports to speak with moral certainty.
On June 25, 2008, The New Republic published a story about Sen. Joseph Lieberman titled “Irregular Joe” :
Lieberman says that Democrats, who were once ‘unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders,’ now ‘minimize the seriousness of the threat from Islamic extremism.’ Lieberman prefers to use morally confident language like this: ‘The terrorists are at war with us.’
What could be more judgmental (another sin in the eyes of liberals) than “morally confident language” about terrorists, or, for that matter, abortionists?
The New Yorker published a similar piece on June 23, 2008 called “One Angry Man, Is Keith Olbermann Changing TV News?” Mr. Olbermann, about as loony as leftists get, thinks former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was too morally confident: “ ‘The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack,’ he began. ‘Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.’” Mr. Olbermann joins most liberals in believing that the only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths. He is, of course, flat wrong. It doesn’t take a “prophet” to look at our abortion photos and suddenly have difficulty seeing “nuances” or “shades of meaning.” Baby-killing is black and white to most who have seen it.
The pro-abortion Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have repeatedly ruled that the right to abortion derives from the right to privacy. Privacy is code for secrecy and pro-aborts shroud abortion in secrecy precisely because they know abortion cannot be convincingly defended to most people who have seen it. The pro-abortion website BellaOnline.com perfectly betrays this insecurity in their chat-room warnings that “This forum exists as a support community for people who are pro-choice.” Apparently people who are “pro-choice” are in such desperate need of “support” that they can’t survive the slightest challenge to their “thinking” on abortion. The warning adds that “Posts made here must be supportive of the pro-choice stance. Comments should not question a person’s decision or reasons for being pro-choice.”
The editor, a woman named Elizabeth Ross, says: “I hope to hear from you some time soon …. I thrive on your feedback.” But her pathetic fear of negative “feedback” is the best evidence that she has no confidence in her ability to defend her position. It is easy to understand why she is nervous when she bizarrely urges readers to “Have fun passing this message on to family and friends….” How could a message about killing babies be “fun” to “pass on to family and friends” ? Abortion is decidedly not fun and most people who have seen it know as much, but depraved people do not think it is grim. There are those who do take sadistic pleasure in savage slaughter.
The Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2008, published a story headlined “Migrants targeted for fiery deaths in South Africa.” The horrifying article reported that “South Africans woke Monday to shocking front-page images of a man in flames, one of several victims to be burned alive. Several newspapers reported that onlookers in the township of Reiger Park, east of Johannesburg, laughed as the man rocked in agony.” How would civilized South Africans have responded if their newspapers had urged readers to “have fun passing this message along to family and friends”? Most – but not all –who have seen an abortion react with the same horror as most – but not all – who have seen an immolation.