Talking About Objective Truth
This semester, I had the opportunity to facilitate the very first apologetics series at Mosaic Christian Academy—a ministry that offers homeschooling students a classroom environment a couple of times a week.
We celebrated with an ice cream social of sorts on the last day of school. I had the teens split up into two learning teams and each group presented their projects, based on a couple memorable phrases I learned from Greg Koukl: “Truth is not ice cream” and “Faith is not wishing.” Let me unpack the first idea a bit:
I like ice cream. And my favorite kind of ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Seriously. But when I say, “I like ice cream,” I’m making a subjective claim ’cause the sentence is all about me. If you said “I like ice cream,” it might not actually be true. So that’s the kind of thing that can be “true for you but not for me.” It’s all about what you like.
But if I say something like “insulin is medicine,” or “the Westfield Galleria in Roseville is on fire,” or “it’s wrong to abuse kids,” the sentence is isn’t about me at all. It’s an objective kind of claim. It’s not the kind of thing that can be “true for you but not for me.”
The phrase, “Truth is not ice cream,” helps us remember that objective truth claims aren’t statements about our preferences.
When Christians say, “God is real,” we’re not just saying like the idea of a divine being. We’re actually saying God’s real in this objective kind of way—whether we like it or not is totally irrelevant. Doesn’t mean these kinds of claims are all true, but it’s important not to confuse them with the “ice cream” kind.
This has huge implications, especially when it comes to morality. Interestingly, a recently released study suggests that in the American church:
…love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for. That may not be surprising in a Church in which a minority believes there are moral absolutes dictated by the scriptures.
Sadly, I’ve seen this first-hand. And I’ve seen it affect students. Some things are just wrong. But even this points to a Moral Lawgiver who’s real whether we like it or not. I’d love to see more believers equipped with the tools to defend objective truth—something the Scriptures assume, but something our culture’s pretty skeptical about.
Teaching tip: If you ever get a chance to teach this concept, try making Greg’s phrase even more memorable by bringing ice cream into your session!
Next time, I’ll explain the second idea I learned from Greg and show you what I wish we would have done in addition to bringing ice cream into an apologetics lesson on truth.