Archive for April 2005
Many begin to carve out a case against Christianity on the basis of morality, speaking of the exclusivity of Christianity as its “darker side.” This creates the implication that exclusivity is wrong, or that a preferable world view would be one that mediates among all the disparate views that exist. However, such a preference in and of itself is a moral judgment. From what basis does one make that judgment? If one makes his moral judgment from the foundation of objective morality, he must accept the consequence: that objective morality will ultimately have a point of exclusion. In addition, the sobering reality is that all religions of the world have a point of exclusion, and must also account for the same claims that are so often brought against Christianity.
So, while two major religions can both be wrong in their claim to truth, they cannot both be right if they are mutually exclusive. In other words, if Christ asserts His identity as God and His redemptive sacrifice for all mankind on the cross as the truth and only means of salvation, it cannot also be true that all is actually one, and that humanity is participating in a cyclical passage of understanding its own divine role in a pantheistic universe, as the Hindu revelation claims. It cannot also be true that Mohammed was God’s one and only chosen prophet, one who refutes the divine claim of Christ, and that the word of God is forever preserved in the words of the Koran. Neither can it be true that all faiths are compatible, as the Baha’i faith suggests, because to assert this would be to grossly distort and violate the fundamental tenets of all religions. You can see where this is going: Truth, whether only in claim or in actuality, is always exclusive. Some may try to escape this by allowing truth to always be relative, thus equally validating and affirming all claims to truth. Yet, the logical failure of this claim is manifest when one tries to account for those that claim that truth is not relative. Logic is tied to the rules of “either or,” not “both and.” As Ravi Zacharias wittily puts it, “Even in India, we look both ways before crossing the street. It is either the bus or me!”
I have been challenged multiple times by the assertation that to live my life based upon the notion of a philosophy maintained and intact in the written word is absurd. This position requires the denial of objective meaning, or in the literary sense, a “transcendental signified.” The denial of this objective meaning suggests that nothing communicated through language can be trusted because its inherent meaning is contingent upon the agenda of the interpreter. In other words, a word only means what one who hears it interprets it to mean, therefore it ultimately means nothing. Extruded a bit more, this idea confirms that there cannot be ultimate meaning in words without the existence of a transcendent signifyer to assign meaning to them. Thus, with the assumption that God does not exist, words have no meaning and no message is relevant- especially one that conveys a divine revelation. Yet here is the ultimate problem: Is this idea not a message? Does it not rely upon the written and spoken word to be communicated and understood? Whereby did the contemporary spokesman of such a philosophy come upon it? It could not have been divinely inspired, due to the absence of the divine, nor could it have been taught by speech or writing, due to the meaninglessless and irrelevance of the word! Inherent in the philosophy itself is its own demise, for if I were to affirm its claims, could I not interpret them to say that the written word is ultimately meaningful, drawing its relevance from divine and objective assignment? Words mean more than words because they are communicative symbols of reality, though they are often used to describe the unreal.