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Facts are Relative

The Search for Meaning in Life

Article 4

I know that statement raises the ire of those whose lives revolve around facts, but it's true. Even though facts can be proven, they change, and they are not the same for everyone: therefore, they are relative. Gravity is a fact, but not for those traveling at the speed of light. (It's called the theory of relativity for a reason!) The number of planets in our solar system was nine, until a group of scientists decided that Pluto was not a planet; so, now it's eight. Building your life on facts is like building your house on sand.

If Christians realized the difference between facts and truth, they could probably have put an end to Post-modernist arguments against absolute truth long ago. When a Post-modernist says that there is no such thing as absolute truth, nine times out of ten, I think they're talking about facts, not truth. I think they're thinking of how two different people can view the same event and come up with a different story as to what happened. I think they apply that analogy to life and say, "You see it one way and I see it another. What's true for you isn't true for me."

The reason I think they're talking about facts, not truth, is because unbelievers don't believe in truth. Look at Pontius Pilate's response to Christ when He brought up the subject of truth: "What is truth?" Unbelievers have no clue. So when they argue that truth is relative, they aren't arguing about something they don't believe in, they're arguing about something they do believe in: facts. If Christians realized that, they could have agreed with them long ago and put an end to the argument, because facts ARE relative.

Our own ignorance makes us victims to every new trend, like Post-modernism. Our ignorance of science made us victims to the arguments of Modernists. Now our ignorance of truth makes us victims to the arguments of Post-modernists. When are we going to wise up?

There were a group of young men in the Bible who wised up, and they had less advantages than we do. They were slaves in the Kingdom of Babylon, the most evil empire that has ever existed. Those young men knew the difference between facts and truth, and it saved their lives. I'm talking about Shadrack, Meshek and Abednego.

What were the facts? One: If they didn't bow down to the King's phallic symbol, they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Two: People who are thrown into fiery furnaces die a horrible death. Three: The King was an ego maniac and would do what he had promised, just out of stubbornness if nothing else. There was no way out for our heroes - it was either bow or burn. Those were the facts.

Most Christians today would look at the facts and say, "You know what, I'm bowing. There is no reason for me to die over some stupid statue. God knows my heart."

Yes, and God also knows the truth, which most Christians are forgetting. Truth is, there was more to the story than just the facts. There was a fourth man involved, someone sent from God who was stronger than the flames of the furnace: the Son of Man. The reason Jesus didn't answer Pilates' question about "What is truth" is because the answer was standing in front of him: Christ is the truth. Truth is a person.

The truth was there in the furnace with Shadrack, Meshek and Abednego. Truth is greater than facts, including the facts of the furnace. Truth is what saved those men from perishing. If they had not known the truth, or if they had thought that truth and facts were the same thing, they would have died.

If you plan on being thrown in a lion's den, a fiery furnace or a Roman Coliseum, I suggest you learn the difference between truth and facts. Facts cannot save you, and they can even kill you. Truth can save you. Knowing the facts and acting on them will make you a coward. Knowing the truth and acting on it will make you a hero. Shadrack, Meshek and Abednego aren't remembered today because they acted on the facts. They are remembered, and they will be rewarded throughout eternity, for the stand they took on truth.

But don't learn the difference between facts and truth just because you plan on being a martyr. Learn the difference because you have children to raise. Learn the difference because you have a business to run. Learn the difference because you are the citizen of a country that is going down the tubes. Learn the difference in order to make a difference.


Waitsel Smith, May 1, 2007

Text © 2007 Waitsel Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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