As a college student, I knew my faith would be tested. I knew that professors would question everything I believed in and even mock my beliefs at times. I had heard the stories, read the books and talked to my buddies about it. I’ve heard religion professors tell me that it’s selfish to think that what I believe in is true, and wrong to think that other beliefs are false. I remember standing outside a classroom hearing the professor go on and on about how it is foolishness for any intelligent human being to believe that evolution is not true and how it is even more foolish to believe in some kind of supernatural creation theory. I knew it was coming, and so far, through my first two years of college, I’ve been prepared for it. I think I’ve been able to weed out the crap and remain centered in my faith, although all of these theories have taught me to not take my beliefs for granted, but to really think them through and be sure.
However, the one thing that I’ve heard most from my professors is that truth is relative, meaning that truth changes depending on the point of reference. This could mean that truth is different from person to person. It could mean that truth is different at distinctive times. Typically, I find this kind of argument presented when people are talking about religion. They say that basically, religion and faith fill a need in most people’s lives, and that it doesn’t really matter what someone believes in, just that they firmly believe in it. If it’s true to that person, then it’s good enough. The argument goes that if we convince our mind that something is real (for instance: God) then it becomes real to us. I know God is real because He gives me peace when I shouldn’t feel peace, but many would argue that I only feel that peace because I’ve convinced my mind that there is a God that is giving it to me. They would also argue that this is just fine, because if I think this God is real, then He is real to me, and He’s obviously satisfying a need in my life. So all is good.
However, the thing about truth, by definition, is that it doesn’t require belief to be true. The computer I’m typing this on is a gray iMac. If you are reading this and doubting that my computer is really gray, or are even convinced that it isn’t gray (wouldn’t know why you would be, but …), that doesn’t change the fact that my computer is still gray. Your belief in that statement doesn’t change the truth of it. Likewise, if I just lied to you, and my computer is really red, but I had you convinced that it was gray, that still wouldn’t change what color it was. It would still be red. Your belief in that statement doesn’t change the truth of it. So the point of all of this computer color mumbo is that truth is not relative, and no one can create truth by just believing something.
There is one truth. I think the Church has this down. Most Christians wouldn’t argue against that fact. They would say that just because someone believes in a religion that doesn’t promote the Jesus of the Bible and the cross, that doesn’t make that religion true. However, upon asking Christians what the truth is, we would get an infinite number of individual answers. Some believe a certain kind of baptism to be truth. Some believe speaking in tongues to be truth. Some believe resting on a certain day of the week to be truth. We could go on and on about all of the stupid little things we hold on to as truth.
Here’s the kicker. Truth is not a collection of doctrines. It’s not a creed, or even a book. Truth is a person. Truth’s name is Jesus Christ, and everything we need to judge as true or false need only be weighed against Him. Sure, a certain doctrine might contain a truth; a certain creed may contain truth; the Bible certainly holds a lot of truth, but all of these are only reflections of Jesus. The Bible is merely man’s attempt at chronicling the life of this man. But make no mistake, Truth is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ. If we are to know the Truth, we are to know Jesus. If we want to walk in truth, we need to walk as He walked.
On the back of the library building at my college, John 8:32 is etched, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s kind of funny to think that the builders were referring to intellectual knowledge when that was placed on the back of the library. I don’t think the Bible was referring specifically to knowledge in that passage though. Then you will know Jesus, and Jesus will set you free. That’s how I think it should be read.
So, who cares? Truth is a person. Whoopity doo! What does that mean? Well, I know that in my life, I’m regularly challenged as to what is right or true. What I’m suggesting is that you don’t have to be able to whip out a scripture verse directly applying to that situation, quote some great preacher who’s spoken about the topic, or know which of The Ten Commandments speaks to this moral dilemma. The key is in knowing Jesus. The Bible is a great source to start getting to know Him, but don’t stop there, because often times it’s either silent or ambiguous about many of the moral questions in our society today. Get to know Truth by spending time with Him and talking to Him, just like you would anyone else. Don’t make your decisions based on what you think your church would suggest or what the right “Christian” thing to do is. Make your decision based upon the standard of Jesus Christ and His life (but this requires knowing Him). The truth is out there, so go ahead and get to know Him!
[Jason Bachman is a music student in college and loves playing any kind of music and over-analyzing everything.]