"Isn't truth a matter of preference?"

In 1995 the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote, “The Gulf War did not take place”. Baudrillard wasn’t denying that the event ever happened, it is a deliberately provocative title. One of his challenges in the book was to ask us a question: How we can say we truly know about the event of the gulf war when our information came to us through TV screens and newspaper reports?

Perhaps a friend has said to you, “I can see how so much of what you believe about God is very important to you, but I can’t really see why that has much to do with me.” Have you ever wondered what is going on when they say this? This is some of what is happening: God or the truth about God is taken to be a matter of opinion. Truth is seen as personal and not public. So your convictions about about God are taken not on the level of true and false, but on the level of what kind of music you like to listen to, or what kind of ice cream flavour you enjoy.

Greg Koukl sums up the contemporary view, “The non-believer does not have in his perception of reality that there is such a thing as truth… Christianity is just a preferred activity of the Christian, or preferred notion or belief. It’s simply a preference. He prefers something different. Why would you fault him for his preference? Why does he have to be like you in your preferences?”

People have lost the sense that, “This is a world filled with both true and false notions and that we have a rational obligation to separate the two and a moral obligation to follow truth”, says Koukl. On this view, “Things aren’t true or false; they’re pleasant or unpleasant, appealing or unappealing, liked or disliked.” The fact is that Christianity is not about what we most prefer. It ought not to be for you. “If your Christianity is what you prefer, you’re entirely missing out on what Christianity is all about,” Koukl. We believe that Christianity is true so we’re rationally and morally obligated to follow Christ.

© 2005 Esther Jervis

This article is reproduced here by the kind permission of the author.