What does it mean to be transformed by the renewing of your mind? (Romans 12:2) How does one take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is the question of a disciple of Christ, and it is one that Christians—parents and teachers alike—focus on throughout the year. The answer takes many forms.
First, we can look at how we view truth. For one of my essay assignments, a student pondered a problem: relativism. However, she did not look at the relativism of the secular mindset. She looked at how relativism has begun to capture the Christian mind. The statistics are stunning.
A 2002 Barna survey shows that while 64% of all adults say that truth depends on the particular situation they are in, a larger-than-expected proportion of Christian adults agree. Fully one-third of Christian adults believe there is no such thing as absolute truth (Barna.org). Truth, they say, depends on the circumstance.
If I rely on my own mind to evaluate and measure truth, I will always fall short. My mind is faulty, and I make mistakes all the time. How can I rely on my own judgment to discern right from wrong? I need an outside, objective guideline and measuring rod that does not change with the times or float along with the winds of whimsy and popular culture. Where will I find that measurement standard?
My student writes in her essay:
More and more, people absorb the ideas of the age, perfectly comfortable in accepting the fact that they will happily coexist with opposing worldviews – even mix them. In order for real discussion to proceed, people must realize the need for truth…One must admit certain facts in the physical world. If a person denies a table’s residence in the middle of a room and attempts to walk straight across the room, assuring himself the table does not exist because he does not wish it to, he will still crash into the table, possibly sustaining serious injury. Thus it is in the metaphysical world. Some thoughts find their basis in truth, while others grow out of falsehood. Once convinced of the existence of absolute truth, the discussion can go into which worldview entertains that truth. But the establishment of reality proves the first step to finding the proper belief. (my underline)
Even Christians, the author maintains, run the risk of error in measuring truth for themselves. Truth exists as an absolute, a right and wrong, whether I want to acknowledge it or not. Like that table in the room, truth is there, and I must choose to accept or deny it. If I deny it, I will get pretty badly bruised when I try to maneuver through the room.
Denial of the truth can get pretty silly at times. Ayn Rand, though an avowed atheist, nevertheless acknowledged the futility of denying absolutes. She writes in Atlas Shrugged, “How do you know what’s good, anyway? Who knows what’s good? Who can ever know? There are no absolutes—as Dr. Pritchett has proved irrefutably.” The savvy reader will chuckle and say, “Absolutely?” However, humorous or not, this is what many folks say as they march along, blithely ignoring that truth really exists—it sits right in front of them.
The truth is that absolutes exist. Absolutes—a right and a wrong—cannot switch places just because we find them inconvenient or uncomfortable. Thus we encounter step one toward renewing our minds, as disciples of Christ: admitting that on our own we cannot “make our own truths.” We must submit our minds to the Author of Life, the one whose very nature is truth, and wait for Him to teach us how to take every thought captive.