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This is part II of a two-part paper on The Objectivity of Truth (see Part I). You may be asking yourself, “What is the point of this discussion?” “Why are ‘moral objective truths’ important?” “Why can’t we all just get along?” The answer is a simple one: “Moral objective truth” frames our view of the world, our view of humanity, it sets up boundaries for man’s imagination, and it orders our steps.
Truth frames our view of the world
America could not have been founded and shaped to be the greatest country in the world without the framework of “moral objective truths” – truths that do not change with the passing of time, experiences, and circumstances. Truths that distinguish us from most nations. “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, … they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Thomas Jefferson goes on to tell the world why they must separate from England: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (The Declaration of Independence). Again, our very foundation as a nation is built upon objective truths. Our founding fathers were compelled to risk their lives for the pursuit of what they believed to be true – a truth that was objective and real.
Truth shapes our view of humanity
Not only does a “moral objective truth” shape our view of the world, it also frames our view and compassion towards humanity. It answers the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Is all human life valuable?” Or, “Can I do-away with another’s life if it inconveniences me?” On April 18, 2010, a security camera captured Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax’s fatal stabbing after thwarting a mugging. Within seconds Tale-Yax saves a woman who is being accosted, he is stabbed several times, he chases after the assailant, but then collapses from his injuries. What may be more shocking than his untimely death, are the responses of those would-be good Samaritans. A minute after his collapse, a potential good Samaritan walks right by. And so does the next person and the one after that. A procession of more than 20 people seems to notice and fail to help. One man pulls out his cell phone, but instead of dialing 911, he snaps a picture. Another man nudges Tale-Yax, rolls him over twice, seems to see blood, but then walks away. For nearly an hour and a half, Tale-Yax lay there until someone finally called for help.i Are we so desensitized to the needs of those around us that we could reason with ourselves to walk right past a person in dire need? Do we need a compassionate tele-a-thon parading Hollywood’s elite to stimulate us into helping the less fortunate? Have we laid aside those truths we should cling to that instructs us on how to respond to those who are vulnerable? A “moral objective truth” does not bend to satisfy my timetable. Instead, it places a high value on every life.
For instance, a pregnant 10-year old, allegedly raped by her stepfather, has become the latest lightning rod in Mexico’s heated abortion debate. The young girl’s home state allows abortion in cases of rape during the first 90 days of the pregnancy. But, the 10-year old girl is at 17½ weeks, nearly a month past that limit.ii How should we respond to the heinous situation an innocent 10-year-old child find herself in? Furthermore, what should our response be to the innocent life she now carries? To some, these are hard questions. Although filled with compassion, the answer is resolute and resounding: Life is life AND it deserves to be protected. This applies to both the 10-year-old child and to the person she carries in her womb. Truth is not reliant upon our choice. It is what it says. The protection of life, especially the life of the most vulnerable, is an age-old truth passed down from civilization to civilization. It is not based on circumstances, our personal timetables, or our personal opinions. The world may consider this predicament a sticky one to judge. But, for those who believe in “moral objective truths,” our choice is clear. Either truth is what it says or it isn’t. We can no longer afford to act as though truth is on a “sliding scale.” Truth is not variable, it is inexorable! It does not bend to the persuasion or pleading of others!
Truth establishes boundaries
“When all that says ‘this is good’ is debunked, what says ‘I want’ remains.”iii If we decide as a nation to no longer be encumbered by religious sanctions, inherited traditions, and established values, then we choose to be lead by one of the most basic of human instincts – Self! Self seeks after that which answers the questions “What pleases me…today”, “What satisfies me…today”, “What makes me happy…today”. The only thing constant about the egocentric nature of “Self” is that it constantly changes. Its temperament is dependent upon its mood, its environment, and its fertile but depraved imagination, all of which changes with the passing of time. Picture a nation where the volatility of “Self” is the new template used to determine what we will consider “good”, and what we should value and esteem. Although this picture may be unsettling to some, the most disturbing unasked question is “Who will decide these new values for us?” Whose “Self” will set the new standard for us all? My grandmother Hattie would often say to a household of six women, “There can only be one Queen Bee in this house.” Another wise saying is “There can only be one cook in the kitchen.” Meaning, there must be ONE person (or entity) that sets the rules everyone else abides by. Remember the lesson learned from my silly example about being punched in the nose – everyone’s opinion cannot be equally valid in the operation of a society, there must be ONE standard (see Part I).
Only in what C.S. Lewis called the “Tao”, a historic collection of objective truths, do we find a common human law of action which can over-arch rulers and ruled alike. A dogmatic belief in objective value is necessary to the very idea of a rule which is not tyranny or an obedience which is not slavery.ivBut, if we choose to no longer be guided by the belief that certain attitudes are really true and others are really false, then we must come up with a new standard to govern ourselves. The question now becomes “who will set that standard?”
There will always be someone (or entity) poised and ready to define who we are and what we stand for as a people! In the face of this reality, however, one of the most beautiful things about America is that we have always been a nation of fighting immigrants who refused to be defined by an oppressive government. Unfortunately, what has made us beautiful and attractive to the world, is being put to the test.
For instance, while on the campaign trail in 2008, Mr. Obama stated: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.”v Since when did we (America) ask for the world’s permission to do anything? Although, we may consider his comment to be ridiculous, it is highly revealing of his mindset and the liberal mindset in general. It tells us that he considers the choices we make about the cars we drive, the food we eat, and the air temperature in our houses to no longer be choices private citizens make for themselves but choices that governments make for private citizens.
Although it may be considered outrageous, this statement should not be taken lightly as it appears that being “liked” and setting our nations polices accordingly are a preoccupation of this administration. For example, National Security Council staffer, Pradeep Ramamurthy, runs this administration’s Global Engagement Directorate with a vague mission to use diplomacy and outreach in pursuit of a host of national security objectives. Ramamurthy recently stated in regards to changing our country’s image in Muslim countries, “Do you want to think about the U.S. as the nation that fights terrorism or the nation you want to do business with?”vi Has he forgotten about 9/11?
Allow me to illustrate further the all-consuming intensity of some to redefine truth for every individual. The new health care reform bill, H.R. 3590 – Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, signed into law on March 23, 2010, does not include the earlier House-approved prohibition on abortion funding (the Stupak amendment that was passed in late 2009). The current bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) to mandate abortion coverage as a medical benefit IF the Secretary can certify that no federal funds will pay for abortion coverage. Thus, allowing each insurer in the Exchange to offer a plan that covers elective abortions. There is a provision in the bill that prohibits tax credits or cost sharing to pay for abortion coverage by requiring funds to be segregated.vii However, money is fungibleviii and it is not possible to ensure that no federal funds will pay for abortion coverage unless the money for abortion coverage is collected in a separate account and the services covered by a separate plan, as is done under Medicaid. Because it includes no such provision, this bill would arguably allow for federal funds to pay for plans that cover abortions.ix Here’s a little history for you: Under the Medicaid program, the Hyde amendment prevents the federal and state portion of Medicaid funding from paying for abortions leaving it up to the state to pay for abortions with non-federal funds under a completely separate program.x The Stupak amendment was similar to Medicaid’s Hyde amendment, but it was excluded from the bill that was passed and signed into law by our President.
You may be asking “what does this have to do with moral objective truth or with our individual values being redefined?” Wherever you see the term “federal funds”, it is referring to your money. This bill is designed to offset its expenses by collecting approximately $256.5 billionxi in additional taxes from you (and me)! So, every time you here the words “federal funds will be used to pay for this or that…,” replace it with “MY MONEY will be used to pay for this or that….” Regardless, of your personal convictions, your deeply held moral truths on the subject, or your heartfelt passion concerning the practice of abortions, our government has decided on our behalf to use our (your) money to fund what is one of the most divisive topics in America. Only in rhetoric did our government establish barriers to prevent our money from funding abortions. It had the opportunity to set-up real safeguards, but chose not to do so. They did this without a real attempt to reach across party lines. Why, you ask? Because they could! And, they consider an abortion EVERY woman’s right regardless of her reason.xii Their opinion is all that matters and they get to choose for the rest of us what we will support, what we will consider a victory for our nation, what we will consider “good.”
When asked if she would hold a vote on the Stupak amendment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected it. Declaring “no extra votes would be held to appease antiabortion Democrats …still hopeful for adding their favored causes. Not on abortion, not on public option, not on single payer, not on anything. The bill is the bill.”xiii As the signage of H.R. 3590 into law shows, her opinion and those of like minds is the only opinion that matters.
Truth orders our steps. A call to action!
New systems of belief are constantly being peddled through our school system, corporations, government, and in our homes. Beliefs such as “I support you in that” although the endeavor may be a crazy one; “everyone has a RIGHT to be loved”; “it’s not okay for me, but it may be okay for someone else.” At face value, these statements seem harmless and idyllic. But, they are doctrines that are being adopted across every political, theological, and social issue we face today. Rarely can you turn on the T.V. without the constant barrage of these statements being used to sanitize some of the most offensive behaviors.
For centuries, one civilization arising from another civilization, has given credence to the fact that certain behaviors merit our approval or disapproval, our reverence or our contempt. Today, in our modern times, we see a quickening to abandon any religious sanctions, inherited traditions, and emotional appeals that would hinder one from doing whatsoever his or her heart desires. I shudder at the day when the last remaining moral value is removed, and the flood gates of man’s imagination are left unrestrained. Man fighting diligently against his own core would be comical if its effects were not so tragic.
The truths we’re discussing are not just for philosophical discourse. They are not topics discussed by those who have way too much time on their hands. They are not something to engage ourselves in just to pass the time away. Moral objective truth is under assault! And, if the objective standard by which we order our lives collapses, whose standards will we then live by? Today, we have a minority group of people imposing their opinions on the masses. For instance, what may have started out as philosophical discussions have quickly become the law of the land in some states and threatens the overwhelming will of the people – that is, “same-sex” marriage. For example, there is proposed legislation called the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (H.R. 2517),xiv which if enacted would provide family benefits to lesbian and gay federal civilian employees. If this bill is enacted, how long would it be before our federal government decides to mandate “same-sex” marriage as the rule of the land? Remember our discussion in Part I of this article, nothing stays in its infancy – everything matures to the next level. H.R. 2517 is in light of 41 states having statues prohibiting same-sex marriages (as of 2008).xv It is in light of California voters (some of the most liberal in the union) being forced back to the voting booth a second-time to overwhelmingly vote for the passage of the California Marriage Protection Act – an act that limits marriage between a man and a woman. But, here we have another poignant example of a minority group usurping its will upon the people (the majority). In 2000, Californians voted overwhelmingly to define and protect marriage. However, an elite, minority group of activist judges struck down the will of the people with its ruling to dismiss the voters’ voice and legalize same-sex marriage. Thousands of same-sex couples were married as a result. For now, this legislation has been overturned. But, if the federal government passes the Domestic Partnership Act, how long would it be before a federal mandate is issued that once again forces the will of the people to conform? We must never forget, America is a land where our government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed (The Declaration of Independence)! Our constitution makes no provision for the manipulation of power by a minority group of elitist judges and politicians.
The question most of us face when presented with these immovable truths is, “How do I respond?” Do I surrender my will to what I know to be true? Or, do I usurp truth with my will, my wants, my opinions, my Self? There are only two options: Surrender to Truth or Usurp! In describing Adam’s dilemma when presented with the “magic” apple in the Garden of Eden, C.S. Lewis said so aptly, “from the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the center is opened to it.”xvi Likewise, when we come face-to-face with an immovable TRUTH, we too must choose to surrender or usurp. These are our only two choices. Unfortunately, more and more, we are choosing to lay down TRUTH for the sake of being “Politically Correct”, showing “Tolerance”, or displaying “Brotherly Love”. Love outside of truth is not love at all.
As I stated in Part I, I am not making a call to take arms, to be rude, to be disrespectful, or to be unnecessarily confrontational. Instead, it is a call to seriously consider the world around us and the direction in which we are headed. If you are a believer in Christ and a believer in the inerrant authority of the Christian Bible, then you know that our world will increasing get worse and not better. NEVERTHELESS, we are called to be both light and salt to the world. So, until Christ’s return we are mandated and compelled to stand for TRUTH! I pray I have encouraged you and armed you to stand for the objectivity of truth.
The following illustrationsxvii of the Natural Law make no pretense of completeness. Instead, it illustrates a timeless belief in the existence of right and wrong, in good and evil, in acceptable and unacceptable behaviors:
- – ‘Do not murder’ (Exodus 20:13).
- – ‘In Nastrond (= Hell) I saw….murderers.’ (Old Norse, Volospa 38, 39)
- – ‘Who meditates oppression, his dwelling is overturned.’ (Babylonian. Hymn to Samas. ERE v. 445)
- – ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.’ (Exodus 20:16)
- – ‘Utter not a word by which anyone could be wounded.’ (Hindu. Janet, p.7)
- – ‘Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.’ (Ancient Chinese. Analects of Confucius, trans. A. Waley. Xv. 23; cf. xxi.2)
- – ‘Nature urges that a man should wish human society to exist and should wish to enter it.’ (Roman. Cicero, De Officiis, I. iv)
- – ‘Do to men what you wish men to do to you.’ (Matthew 7:12)
- – ‘Part of us is claimed by our country, part by our parents, part by our friends.’ (Roman. Ibid. I. vii)
- – ‘I tended the old man, I gave him my staff.’ (Ancient Egyptian. ERE v. 481)
- – ‘To marry and to beget children.’ (Greek. List of duties. Epictetus, III. Vii)
- – ‘The killing of the women and more especially of the young boys and girls who are to go to make up the future strength of the people, is the saddest part… and we feel it very sorely.’ (Redskin. Account of the Battle of Wounded Knee. ERE v. 432)
- – ‘With his mouth was he full of Yea, in his heart full of Nay?’ (Babylonian. ERE v. 446)
- – Whoso makes intercession for the weak, well pleasing is this to Samas.’ (Babylonian. ERE v. 445)
- – To take no notice of a violent attack is to strengthen the heart of the enemy. Vigour is valiant, but cowardice is vile.’ (Ancient Egyptian. The Pharaoh Senusert III, cit. H.R. Hall, Ancient History of the Near East, p. 161)
iABC News, Good Samaritan Left for Dead on City Sidewalk, April 25, 2010
iiCNN World, 10-year-old’s pregnancy fuels Mexican abortion debate, April 19, 2010
iiiiC.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, pg. 65
ivC.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, pg. 73
vNational Review Online, The Campaign Spot, May 19, 2008
viCNSNews.com, “Islamic Radicalism” Phrase to Be Removed from Obama’s National Security Documents, April 7, 2010.
viiH.R. 3590 – (B) Segregation of Funds – In the case of a plan to which subparagraph (A) applies, the issuer of the plan shall, out of amounts not described in subparagraph (A), segregate an amount equal to the actuarial amounts determined…for all enrollees…
viiiFungible – describes commodities that can be traded or substituted for an equal amount of a like commodity.
xhttp://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF10c07.pdf, March 18, 2010
xiU.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, H.R. 3590: The Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans Act (summary), December 2, 2009, pg. 17. Included on page 17 is a table outlining the then projected taxes that will be collected to pay for the new bill. The $256.5 billion number is my attempt to ascertain our liability. I may be off a billion or two. You can check the table yourself. But, no worries, our government is said to be off by several hundred billions. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin stated, the CBO crunches the numbers it gets. It does not vouch for their plausibility: “The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So, fantasy in, fantasy out.”(The Washington Post Economy Watch, Tracking the true cost of the health-care legislation, March 29, 2010.
xiiAt the 2007 Democratic Primary debate in South Carolina, Senator Obama stated that he “trust women to make their own decisions on partial-birth abortion.”
xiiiThe Washington Post, Pelosi rejects Stupak abortion solution, March 20, 2010
xvStateline.org, State Policy & Politics, Calif. Gay marriage ruling sparks new debate, June 12, 2008
xviC.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Chapter 5, pg. ?
xviiC.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, Appendix, pg. 83-99