KENYA SUMAKU

"Our mission is to…Open the hidden perspectives"

Guest contributor


Relativists hold that some manifestations of culture are dependent on other existing elements or factors. By so saying, they suggest that there are no absolute truths, and that truth depends on the perceptions of the one who sets out to look for it. The term in its broadest sense then gives life to the doctrine that there are no absolute truths and that an observation of truth only applies to some particular situations or reference systems such as cultural or linguistic groupings. Perhaps before we get deeper into the discussion, we should try to understand the word truth as used in this context.Truth is another word philosophers have never really agreed as to its meaning. As to its true meaning, is it whatever harmonizes with honesty and sincerity, or that which relates accurately with fact and reality?

Be that as it may, philosophers have gone ahead to put forth theories about truth with which to keep themselves busy in disputation. Let us take a simple definition of truth as that which represents accurately or agrees with what exists in reality. This implies that the truth can often be inconvenient and unwelcome. In deciding what to believe or not to believe, a person usually makes a serious effort to identify points of the proposed set of beliefs that can be verified by history. Such are then mentally classified as historical facts. In this group, there will be predictive utterances that have been fulfilled within the historical framework.

As a person becomes more and more aware of historical and contemporary events, they are able to identify if other predictive utterances get fulfilled in their lifetime. That edifice of verified facts of history, fulfilled predictive utterances and resultant practices, that forms the basis of the beliefs and chosen lifestyle of a God fearing person, will be referred to as the House of Faith. Like any impressive house, the House of Faith cannot be built in one day. It takes many years of painstaking work to come up with such a house. It involves sifting through various types of stones to get one that fits in each place. The ultimate goal is to build a house true to the sketch of the master architect. Indeed, moments of discouragement may come during the building of this house, others may pass by and ask: Why did you set off to build such a house when you knew you did not have the wherewithal? That can make the work extremely lonely sometimes, but for the builder who has seen the sketches and formed a mental picture of the edifice, nothing can stop him or her.

Now, in contrast, suppose the builder fails to capture the picture in the sketches, they may say at some point, “even if I complete this house, it will get old anyway, besides, I will still spend several months sleeping in an incomplete house, so why not just live in my old polythene shack and move on when the season changes?” It costs nothing and it serves as a house anyway? The builder will go back to the shack and deny himself/herself and the future generations the comfort of a house!

Why have I spent time telling you this little analogy? Because in creating a relative truth, relativists give everybody false comfort by seeming to tell them that whatever suits you is the truth, be satisfied. In a logical sense then, there is no need to bother searching for truth anymore! In other words, stay in the shack. For truth becomes a mirage and only fools will waste time following a mirage from one point to another in a hot, dry desert.

Let us now turn our attention to the place of relativism in the life of a Christian. Can a person be a Bible believing Christian and still be relativist? The Bible says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). In this verse, no window or crevice is left for the relativist to hide in. The relativist must come out and confront this and many other Bible verses which assert that Jesus Christ is the truth that we so seek. The fact that something is beyond our collective field of experience, beyond our window of vision, outside our catalogue of knowledge does not change it from truth to myth.

Where my own great grandfather and his contemporaries would find predictions of flying airplanes, space travel, computers and internet not only mythical but laughable, no competing theories could metamorphose the truth then of today’s life into a myth, neither could it change the reality of that truth as we see it today.. It then turns out that by the arduous spiritual and mental effort of many people, new frontiers, window sills and glasses can be added to the present reality and future expectation of the House of faith.

The House of Faith will progressively take more and more the picture that was in the mind of the master architect and provide succor and delight to people across cultural and linguistic boundaries. That is why Christianity has wide appeal beyond the homes of the Jewish people, in spite of the fact that Jesus Christ was born among them. At this point, a relativist may get into defensive mode and castigate those who believe that there is such a thing as truth in the estimation of the Holy Bible. It is needless to dispute this point because the Bible says so, and matters of faith are apprehended only by faith and prayerful study of the word of God.

Tony Mongare

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: