I was watching one of those reality competitions on television in which potential bakers were competing to become the best baking chef. In the episode, there was a young chef who failed an important test of her skill. The panel of judges severely critiqued her dessert. During this humiliating moment the chef defended herself with the phrase, “I was just being true to myself.” As I sat there reminiscing on her poor performance and sloppy presentation, I asked myself what her statement had to do with her obvious lack of excellence. It was then I realized what she was saying. It seemed she was expressing the idea that even though she failed to execute the task well, she should be given a free pass because she believed she did the right thing; you know, being true to herself.
This seems to be the catch phrase of many in our culture today. There are those who do whatever they want each day, without regard for quality or how their actions affect others, justifying their actions by saying, “I’m just being true to myself.” This sounds like a wonderful philosophical attitude until the words are examined closely. For whatever noble reason this phase was originally coined, it has lodged on the lips of those who choose to ignore the facts of truth in lieu of their own perception of truth. Our culture is wrapped up in wanting to be right at the expense of truth. I know it may sound like an oxymoron, but follow me for a moment.
Our post modern society has given the individual license to feel emotional affirmed in their paradigm truth without knowing actual truth. You may ask how this has happened. When people are taught that there is no absolute truth, but an individual makes his or her own truth, this false reasoning produces the idea that one only needs to live within their own truth. “I believe it, therefore it must be true”. The problem comes when individuals’ truths collide. Who is right and who is wrong? With the concept that there is no absolute truth, no one is wrong; however, how do these same people explain the negative consequences that arise when their individual truths don’t agree. How can a culture thrive with so much conflict and consequences? How does the young chef come to terms with the severe critique of the judges? This culture has descended into an abyss of falsehood and lies which ignores the truth of a matter because the question arises “who is to determine what is truth?” This philosophical idea is so pervasive in our society that it affects every part of our culture.
The disturbing reality that exists today is that most people can be faced with fact and absolute truth and yet deny it because their “truth” is different and their need to be true to themselves dictates their actions. Without absolute truth there is no integrity or honesty in a culture. When integrity and honesty is irrelevant, people no longer have to take responsibility for their actions because they have created a personal truth that lacks accountability. As a result, there is no reason to show kindness and compassion to others because it doesn’t fit within an individual’s paradigm truth.
What we all need is a hard look at the consequences of a culture without absolute truth. A culture that doesn’t have enough room in prison for all violators of the law, over fifty percent broken marriages, high statistics of substance abuse and physical abuse. There cannot be integrity, honesty, or compassion without a return to absolute truth. The truth we need is the truth that sets us all free. It is time to reexamine ourselves, and humbly search for the ultimate source of truth that all men can live by.