“I am Square,” Said the Circle

(Look carefully) CC BY-NC, zorro013, Flickr
(Look carefully)
CC BY-NC, zorro013, Flickr

More commonly you’ll read in an article or hear someone on television say something like this: “I believe it’s important for you to unashamedly live your truth” or “I have become more successful as I’ve discovered what is real for me.” What is alarming is to hear Christian people pick up this notion.

The “live your truth” idea is a fashion of moral relativism, which purports that there is no absolute moral law that objectively applies to everyone everywhere at any time. It’s a “have it your way” philosophy for which there is no right way and belongs to a secular humanist worldview that shuts God out and elevates the value of humans and human contribution.

Apart from the impossibility of living strictly by relativist notions (what happens when my relativism conflicts with your relativism and whose is right?), live your truth people or “truthers” have to deceive themselves to believe that there do not exist moral and ethical boundaries regarding what they ought and ought not be or do. The argument is simply impossible to overcome logically. It becomes slightly easier, however, when God or a moral lawgiver is excised.

What the Ducklings Teach Us

In psychology the term imprinting is used to describe a period or stage in the life of a person or animal, generally young, when behavior is acquired from its parents or perceived parent. We’ve all learned how crucial it is for certain animals to be with their parents after birth and not with humans or inanimate objects that they could take to be their parent.

The young one’s identity and safety are at stake, so it’s important for it to grow up to live and act as it should and not as it might wrongly think of itself. A boy that would be raised by apes never becomes an ape and certainly no Tarzan; instead, he lives as a severely limited human.

Christian people who sincerely pose as truthers are confused. To start, Christians believe in an open system where God is real and acts providentially in the world and for human life. Christians also believe that God is the only moral lawgiver and that his ways are essentially “written in the wind” and apply equally to all humanity and always have. Humanity, although ingenious and capable of great good, is morally fallen and gains spiritual significance as it adheres to God’s moral and ethical duties.

God has never told us to discover what is right for us but to learn his ways, understand his truth, know his will. We are to be holy as he is and lovingly do his bidding. He stands as the rightful imprint of our lives, for we bear his moral image. We walk the way he walks, exactly how he walks, and no further than where he walks. There is no place for “our truth” because we have none to offer. The Battle Hymn of the Republic has it right—“His truth is marching on!”

Further, it’s inadvisable to define ourselves by things we discover about ourselves—what if it is unbecoming or antagonistic to God’s will for us?  This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn more about who we are, our strengths and weaknesses or the issues or vices that operate in our lives. But it does mean that what we discover is placed under the lordship of Christ and either serves his will for us or is diligently eliminated from our hearts.