I believe in absolute truth. I have never been a fan of situational ethics or in “all people believe in the same God, no matter what they name Him (Her)”. The idea of relative truth offends logic and rationality. It feels like a large grain of sand in the Great Oyster of my underwater existence. I don’t like reasoning that bends itself around corners or forms itself around desires and hopes.
(And yet I can be accused of something very akin. But I will address that soon.)
Here’s what I think about absolute truth. There is an absolute truth about everything that exists. The difficulty is in DISCOVERING IT. Therefore, in this world, in this existence, we all end up living, inadequately, with relative truth. In fact, I think that people who think they believe in only relative truth are really looking desperately for the absolute truth in everything!
When I was in college, I had an amazing modern philosophy professor (Descartes et al.). She was an indefatigable challenger of all things purported to be truth. I felt a deep kinship with her. The most interesting thing to me about Mary Ann was that, with all of her insistence on rationality and logic, she was a born-again Christian. (At that time, I called myself an agnostic.)
Her conversion story fascinated and illuminated me. She had found an argument for the existence of God that she could not refute with her arsenal of tools of logic. The argument was that of Thomas Aquinas who, according to Wikipedia:
…synthesized Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity. He believed that there was no contradiction between faith and secular reason, but that they complemented each other epistemically. He thought Aristotle had achieved the pinnacle of human striving for truth apart from divine revelation and thus adopted Aristotle’s philosophy as a framework in constructing his theological and philosophical outlook.
One day, as I was walking the halls of the philosophy department, I overheard one of the other philosophy professors making fun of my favorite professor. The gist of his discourse was the flawed nature of Thomas Aquinas’ arguments and how stupid MaryAnn was to accept them. He, of course, was an atheist.
It felt to me like a moment of Supreme Clarity. We believe what we need to believe, or what we have been environmentally or biologically prepared to believe. I could not accept Thomas Aquinas’ argument. He appeared to me the same as Descartes, as Spinoza, as Leibnitz. In my book, they were all eminently honest seekers who came up with radically different “truths,” some of which (the monads of Leibnitz) kept my head spinning long after that chapter was done.
(“The more rigorously the mind seeks, the more elusive truth becomes,” I thought, as I broke open shells to retrieve pearls from the oysters at the bottom of my water world.)