In “Write your own darn narrative,” Becky brought up a good point about moral relativism, postmodernism, and the truth. Shouldn’t the truth matter and doesn’t writing your own narrative open the door to moral relativism where one can just believe whatever they want and call it “truth?”
So, if I’m writing my own narrative, perhaps I’m a sea lion now or a unicorn…..or maybe pedophilia should simply be recognized as a lifestyle choice? I can indeed follow moral relativism down that rabbit hole to its eventual conclusion and it can get pretty dark and scary. Outside the context of faith and Absolute Truth, I have no moral argument for why we shouldn’t abort babies, weigh the cost effectiveness of caring for our elderly, or do a cost benefit analysis for the disabled. Moral relativism always leads to a very inhumane place where people become commodities, clumps of cells, no longer valued based on having been made in His image. It’s all relative.
Perception is certainly not morality. We people can be a bit like an alcoholic who insists, “I’m not doing anything wrong, drinking excessively makes me happy.” They are blinded to their own behavior, they cannot see the toll it takes on their family and friends, they do not recognize the cost on the community, or the legacy they leave their children. Addiction is an easy example, but when it comes to sin we’re all a bit like that, we can’t always see the cost, our impact on others, the harm that we do, the waste.
I sometimes try to distinguish between “truth” with a little “t,” our personal truths, and His Truth with a capital T. The big Truth. The Truth that shall set you free. So one critical key to happiness is to align yourself with His Truth as best as you can. Within that frame-work however, there is a great deal of freedom, your little “truths.”
Most of the worldly narratives we learn about ourselves are false. In fact, they can be so contrary to His Truth, they can be down right blasphemous. The modern idea of human beings being nothing more than a clump of cells for instance. The biblical idea, “Can any good thing come from Nazareth?” Or the worldy concepts of wealth, power, and status. Blessed be the meek? The first shall be last? What you do for the least of these you do for me? These are all biblical concepts that fly in the face of worldly narratives.
Now this is where things can get sticky. Truth is defined as “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” All in good humor here, but if you spend enough time on the intertoobz you soon learn that both facts and reality are really just a matter of perception and opinion. You can set solid evidence down in front of a dozen people and they’re all going to come to different conclusions. It’s kind of scary! Facts are stubborn things! No they’re not, they’re just a couple of links away and probably backed up with lots of color coded flow charts and other Sciency things.
People come to different conclusions based on their own perceptions, opinions, the narratives they have either spoken over themselves or allowed others to speak over them. Most of us have been exposed to so much deception, so many lies, trying to find the truth can be much like trying to peel the layers off an onion. We can hardly even recongize it when we find it.
So what is Truth? That’s the question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus Christ Himself. “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.’
Pilate saith unto him, ‘What is truth?…’ ” -John 18:37-38
In my other post about writing your own narrative, I said,
“We really need to change the script, rewrite the whole narrative, both collectively, culturally, and as individuals. Write your own darn narrative, because the ones that are being written for us have a dark side to them that cares nothing for the well being of people. In Jesus Christ we are IN the world, but not OF the world. The narratives that the world tries to write for us need not become our narratives, in fact we are called to reject most of them and to perceive ourselves as God perceives us, as having been created in His image and having such worth and value, He gave His life for us. That is the only narrative that truly matters.”
We’re fortunate we have the bible, we have other believers, and we have Christ’s promise, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,” because the “truth” can be a very subjective thing indeed. The truth is not a conclusion we can reach, it is not a place we can arrive at, it is not a set of beliefs, the truth is what remains behind when all the lies and deceptions are stripped away.