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On New Age & Old Eastern Thought: Why a Larger Circle Can Never Be Drawn Around Christianity, Part 3
This is the third and final segment of a three part mini-series of 1994 Proclamation articles particularly addressed to those of you among our readers who are of an Eastern religious, dialectic philosophical, or New Age spiritual persuasion. If you missed either of the first two issues, we’d be glad to mail them to you-free-upon request. We believe that this material is of the absolute essence with regard to both an accurate apologetic and a workable epistemology. Again this month I am trying to demonstrate something of the impossible complications that seem to be raised by the basic epistemological proposals of dialectic and syncretistic thinking. But as in the past, if what follows seems to you to reflect some misperception of truth on my part, I would hereby invite (and even encourage) you, in the interest of truth, to write me personally with your response.
Our thesis is very simple, although not politically correct and probably (unfortunately) appearing very dogmatic: A – non-A. Truth in this world is exclusive. Whether or not God Himself (in Himself, in Heaven, or in the future) is somehow capable of transcending the law of antithesis is altogether beside the point. In this world and in this age we humans cannot productively operate outside the bounds of reason, we’re not intended to try, and the ongoing dead end deliberate attempts to do so are, at the least, a waste of time, on occasion damaging to culture and society, and, at worst, even eternally fatal.
From the trendy buzzwords “inclusive” and “tolerant” to the both-and philosophy of the swami sequestered behind his ‘enlightened’ smile of silence, to the relativism and syncretistic mentality increasingly evident even here in the West these days, the deception of our times is based on the same old line that humankind has fallen for since the beginning of time-that we can have our cake and eat it too; that we can bypass the propositional revelation of the God of the Bible, the straightforward claims of Christ, and the dictates of even common sense logic, while we are still living in this world of space and time. We simply cannot. For one thing, it just doesn’t even work-neither in the real world nor even in the mind. If truth is not exclusive there is no such thing as truth. All communication quickly becomes nonsense. The grunts and burps of Beavis and Butthead become just as likely a source of truth as the Scripture. The remainder of this article illustrates, from the real world, just how vain (and even potentially destructive) are the often highly sophisticated modern human attempts to transcend reason.
In May, 1992, our local community paper, The Piscataquis Observer, published a column that I had written entitled “The Case for Absolute Truth”. Two weeks later a man from Portland, Maine, wrote a somewhat rambling (over 100 line and two 4-inch column) response to my column in which he essentially challenged the premise that there was any such thing as absolute truth. I wanted to ask him just one question: “Sir, are you absolutely certain that there is no such thing as absolute truth?” Perhaps he’d have replied: “Well, I believe that there is no absolute truth except for the truth that there is no absolute truth”. If so, I’d have had to respectfully say: “But sir, that’s like advertising a hamburger patty that is pure beef-except for the 99% that isn’t beef. You cannot use “absolute” and “exception” in the same sentence-one will absolutely negate the other.”
“A philosophy professor began each new term by asking his class, ‘Do you believe that it can be shown that there are absolute values like justice?’ The free-thinking students all argued that everything is relative and no single law can be applied universally. Before the end of the semester, the professor devoted one class period to debate the issue. At the end, he concluded, ‘Regardless of what you think, I want you to know that absolute values can be demonstrated. And if you don’t accept what I say, I’ll flunk you!’ One angry student got up and insisted, ‘That’s not fair!’ ‘You’ve just proved my point,’ replied the professor. ‘You’ve appealed to a higher standard of fairness.'” -from Our Daily Bread 10/21/93, © Radio Bible Class
In his book The Lie: Evolution, © Creation-Life (Master Books), Ken Ham relates the following account: “At one lecture I gave, a person said in an angry tone, ‘This is not fair, you are insisting that we take Genesis literally, that God actually took six days, that evolution is not true, and that there really was a world-wide flood. You are being intolerant of other people’s views. You must show tolerance for people such as me who believe God used evolution and that Genesis is only symbolic.’ I then asked, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ The person replied, ‘You must allow other views and be tolerant of opinions different to yours.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘My view is that the literal interpretation of Genesis is the right view. All other views concerning Genesis are wrong. Will you tolerate my view?’ The person looked shocked, and he hesitated. I could almost hear him thinking, ‘If I say yes, then I’ve allowed him to say you can’t have another view such as mine; if I say no, then I’ve obviously been intolerant of his view-what do I do?'”
From A Shattered Image, ©1990 Wolgemuth & Hyatt, by Ravi Zacharias, p73: “At one of my lectures…a student rose to his feet and shouted, ‘Ah, everything in life is meaningless.’ I insisted that he could not possibly mean that. With an equally intense retort he countered that he did. I asked him if he thought his statement was a meaningful one. There was an acute silence…”
“Relativism is the key word today,” says Harvard instructor William Cole in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “There’s a general conception in the literary-academic world that holding things to high standards-like logic, argument, having an interesting thesis-is patriarchal, Eurocentric, and conservative. If you say, ‘This paper is no good because you don’t support your argument,’ that’s almost like being racist and sexist.” Boston University professor Edwin Delattre says, “If everything is subjective and arbitrary, and you try to apply standards, you run afoul of the prevailing ethos of the time.” As a result of this thought-trend, a new phenomenon is occurring in academia these days known as artificial grade inflation. A dean of admissions at a top law school says his office ignores honors distinctives from Harvard because so many applicants have them (Harvard magazine). John Leo, in his column “On Society”, 10/18/93, U.S. News & World Report, asks: “What happens when students join the real world where A & B rewards are rarely given for C & D work?” That is really the essential question of this age. Yet I suppose that we all instinctively already know the answer, i.e. Romans 2:14-16.