Are Human Wisdom and God's Absolutes Compatible?
When the wisdom of man is exalted, the Truth of God is rejected. Examples can be found in the philosophies and thought revealed in humanism, evolution, situational ethics, situational truth, relativism, scientific thought, scientific theories or postulates to name a few. These “schools of thought” may become secular religions of sort. All of them share a common thread, one that propagates the notion that nothing is absolute. Relativism is a core tenant that gives rise to situational truth. It suggests that truth actually changes depending upon the participants, observers, and the circumstances as described in the following Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition.
A theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing; a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them.
Scientific thought is in constant flux with new discoveries that lead to new understanding and theories based on acquired knowledge. Knowledge itself is the subject of scientific study through a branch of philosophy known as epistemology, here defined in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
epistemology (noun) (epis·te·mol·o·gy, i-ˌpis-tə-ˈmä-lə-jē)
The study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.
Scientific thought and knowledge are somewhat rhetorical in nature in that their language intends to influence people toward its assumptions, understanding, and theories. Rhetoric sometimes can infer deception, but not always so as seen in this Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, definition.
rhetoric (noun) (rhet·o·ric, ˈre-tə-rik)
Language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable. The art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people.
This philosophical view of knowledge was discussed in an essay by Robert L. Scott, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Speech- Communication, University of Minnesota in 1967. In his work, he discussed the concepts of truth and knowledge as they relate to rhetoric. In it, he discusses ethical dilemmas that might lead a person to alter truth or even lie outright to achieve the greater good. This kind of discussion leads to the concept of situational truth which defines that which is right as a function of the circumstances. The following statement articulates his definition of situational truth.
“Man must consider truth not as something fixed and final but as something to be created moment by moment in the circumstances in which he finds himself and with which he must cope. Man may plot his course by fixed stars, but he does not possess those stars; he only proceeds, more or less effectively, on his course. Furthermore, man has learned that his stars are fixed only in a relative sense.”
Robert L. Scott
From the standpoint of this philosophical argument, we can see that there are no absolutes in the eyes of man. This is one reason why Ideolatry, which is embodied in the above quote, is such a problem. There is no standard by which to compare and evaluate. Man’s truth tends to be based in his experience, and the variable nature of experience leads away from absolutes. To no surprise, this attitude is in direct contradiction to the declarations of the Bible, the Word of God.
In this manner of human thought and life, everything is subject to change, and rules are only valid “in the moment.” They are subject to change at any given time without any prior notice! It would seem that this kind of thinking could lead to a great deal of chaos or confusion as to whose view, understanding, and decision processes would be the most valid in any given situation. What a challenge this is to any sense of order! However, is order required? Or is order simply a desire of man?
The order provided by religion is focused on man’s wisdom and provides differing spiritual and moral codes, themes, and focuses of worship, whether deity-centered or not. There is still a collective god or focal point, and we can see that the characteristics of the religion’s god vary according to the doctrines of that particular philosophy. All of this leaves us with a challenge to determine whose philosophy, system of thought, religion, belief system or god is the right God and where the message of truth really exists.
In its quest to become the center of man’s worship, can religion provide specific answers to the questions that plague us regarding God’s responsibility for the disasters, the “Acts of God,” which is discussed in Chapter 5 of Ideolatry? Religions do provide answers and define who God is. However, traditional beliefs frequently hold God responsible for pain and suffering that can’t be easily explained. Religions are not instituted by God, however. They are man-made entities or organizations that man uses to control his surroundings and to address the problem of understanding God. As a result, since God does not actively defend Himself, He gets blamed for the bad things. However, in the mind of mankind, the human intellect and science get the credit for the good things. This is the ultimate expression of “Ideolatry.”
Science does not acknowledge or accept the premise of God, since it explains everything relative to the physical, not the spiritual. However, if a source cannot be found in a situation such as an accidental death or other inexplicable catastrophe, God still tends to get the blame because it is convenient. Can science explain “Acts of God” or shed light on who God is or if He exists at all? How could science draw any absolute conclusions with the shifting definition of truth that it provides? According to science, there are no absolutes as we will see in Chapter 6, Our Universe – Relative or Absolute?
Regardless, let’s give science a chance, and we may get some further insight. Perhaps the objective perspectives of scientific observation and theories will lead us to the truth. Science should be able to rationally explain who or what is actually responsible for the calamities referred to as “Acts of God” rather than the subjective claims of religion. Someone or something must be responsible. The answers to our questions about “Acts of God” will surely be answered in science… or are they?
May God richly bless you in all that you do! - Dr Rich Masek
I invite you to read Chapter 5, Acts of God in
Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem
To learn more about how Ideolatry can affect your life.
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