The following are notes from the first in a year long sermon series on common objections to the Christian faith. Why preach on what is known as “apologetics” instead of just doing what I normally do, which is preach verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible? The last twenty years has seen a rise of atheism from 8% to 15%. I have also discovered over the last 15 years of ministry that the number one reason people leave the faith and one of the top three reasons people don’t share the Gospel is because they don’t know how to handle these objections. So, I am tired of watching people leave the Body or stand impotent in the face of opposition.
One objection I often hear is, “Something may be true for you but not for me.” This is a variation of the “there is no truth only opinion, so you can’t push your so-called truth on me!”
The problem with this objection is (1) it is logically incoherent and (2) the person who makes the objection is not willing to actually live that way.
Philosopher Paul Copan offers the following response to this objection: “You assume the following statement is universally true: ‘Something can be true for one person and not for another.’ But you believe it applies to everyone’s beliefs except yours. If your statement is only true for you, then I see no reason to think it applies to me.” In other words, the objection doesn’t make any sense.
The objection is largely based in the academic work of Michele Foucault and Sigmund Freud. Foucault argued all truth statements are just power plays and Freud argued all truth statements are just projections. The problem is that Foucault’s statement can viewed as a power play and Freud may be projecting! Their arguments collapse upon themselves.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “You cannot go on ‘explaining away’ for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.”
Now, it is true that some people use truth statements as power plays or are just projecting but that says nothing about whether the statements they make are actually true or not. A person can speak truth and still be a jerk! But truth and “jerkdom” are separate issues!
Moreover, people aren’t really willing to live this way. What if I say that to you that the only way I can relive my stress is to smack babies and kick puppies. You may not like that but, hey, that’s my truth. You have yours and I have mine! What right do you have to tell me I shouldn’t smack babies and kick puppies when I get stressed out?
See the problem.
Most of the time, the real objection is, “Look! You “truth” restricts me! I can’t have the kind of fun I want to have if I accept what you are saying as true.”
But to do otherwise is to live a lie.
Jesus tells Pilate in John 18 that He came to “testify to the truth.” The Greek word translated as “truth” may be translated as “reality.”
The reality is that God exists, He is holy, we are sinners who deserve to be punished in Hell but Jesus was willing to pay that penalty for us.
That may sound harsh to some but think of what it produces when it is rightly understood.
Remember the Amish shootings a few years back? A story circulated under the radar that a young Amish girl told the shooter to kill her if it would get him to stop shooting others. That girl understood the truth to which Jesus came to testify and it’s a beautiful truth. When rightly understood and rightly lived, it is beautiful because truth always is.
Next week we will look at “How can there be one truth when so many people disagree?” Until then, grace and peace.