The Cause of Truth Decay in America
What are our values? Our values are our core beliefs that shape everything we do in life. There are a lot of people today who say, "It really doesn't matter what you believe," but that's just not true. It does matter what you believe. Our beliefs determine our behavior and our behavior determines what we become.
So the kind of person we are, if we look at the foundation, is based on the things we've chosen to value. In other words, our convictions in life determine our conduct. And our conduct determines our character.
One thing that basically everybody in our society agrees with today -- whether you're a liberal or whether you're conservative, democrat, republican, independent, religious or irreligious, a Christian or a non-christian -- the vast majority of people say that there's a decaying of values in our society.
THE CAUSE OF OUR DISAPPEARING VALUES IS TRUTH DECAY.
The fact is, we no longer value the truth in America. Instead, we value two other things. We value convenience: Is it easy? And we value pragmatism: Does it work? Today, people really don't care about the truth. Some people even question is there such a thing as truth -- universal truth. Instead they say, “If it works in my life and if it's easy, I don't care if it's true or not, that's good enough for me.”
We have an entire generation people who don't even know the difference between right and wrong. There are parts of our society that say, "There is no such thing as right and wrong. What may be right for you, may be wrong for me. What may be right for me, may be wrong for you." So there are no standards by which you can evaluate your life and behavior.
We fell for THREE VERY DESTRUCTIVE PHILOSOPHIES that have replaced truth in our society.
1. TRUTH Has Been Replaced By INDIVIDUALISM.
Individualism reduced to four words is “I live for myself.” I basically am my own god, and I live for myself and I've got to do what's best for me.” That's called individualism. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago the nation of Israel fell prey to this. If you want to read the dark ages of the nation of Israel, read the book of Judges. It was the time of total chaos. Why?
Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Does that sound vaguely familiar?
2. TRUTH Has Been Replaced By SECULARISM.
Secularism can be summarized in three words: God is unnecessary. It doesn't mean that I don't believe there's a god. I believe there's a god, I just don't need Him in my life. For the last 60 years we have been systematically removing God from every area of public life -- schools, government, media, newspapers, all the different areas.
God has been removed from the mainstream. This is talked about in Romans.
Romans 1:25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!
3. TRUTH Has Been Replaced By RELATIVISM.
You can summarize relativism in two words: No absolutes. The idea behind relativism goes like this: “What's true for me may not be true for you and what's truth for you may not be truth for me. Therefore, what's right for me, may not be right for you and what's right for you, may not be right for me.”
It's very foolish to say, "It doesn't matter what you believe..." What if you get on the interstate and go up what you sincerely believe is the "On" ramp. But the truth is, it's really the "Off" ramp. Is sincerity enough to keep you from having an accident? No. Does the truth matter in that situation? Absolutely! You're getting ready to have a major collision that may take your life. It takes more than just sincerity.
Truth is also specific. For instance, you have bronchitis and you get a prescription. You take it to the drug store. Ten minutes later the pharmacist comes back and gives you medicine for schizophrenia. He says, "There are no absolutes, so I thought this medicine would be as good as any other!” When you go to a pharmacist, are you interested in absolute truth? Yes. Every medicine is not valid and every medicine is not good for you. Truth is narrow. That's why it's called truth.
The word "tolerance" has been redefined in our society. From a dictionary, this is what it used to mean: “I will respect you and treat you with dignity even though I violently disagree with you.” The Bible teaches that we, as believers, are to be tolerant. We should love everyone and never treat people poorly, never. Jesus accepted people without approving of their lifestyle.
But tolerance doesn't mean that anymore. Tolerance now means that every idea is equally valid, that every idea is equally true. And that is not right. It is not true that every idea or thought or belief is equally true.
Truth is narrow.