In the modern world it has become acceptable to believe that nothing is really real, and so everything is acceptable.
Movies and television portray fantastic beasts and fictional circumstances with such clarity and conviction that the common observer enjoys relaxing their skepticism, giving in to the willing suspension of disbelief, and experiencing the world of imagination and fantasy without any basis in reality. And what’s more subtle, the results of actions and behaviors, beliefs and worldviews in those contexts is whatever the author declares them to be, not bounded by the fundamentally inflexible foundation of reality.
As a culture, we have come to enjoy the elaborate fiction of fantasy and illusion more than the true clarity of fact or reflection of reality. Even “reality” TV is staged, scripted, and manipulated to create the dramatic effect and convey the specific story and message desired. We have come to expect a specific emotional journey, a certain tension and release, a specific formula of conflict and resolution such that shows that don’t elicit the sought after psychological satisfaction are soon cancelled and disregarded.
And what’s more, our collective fantasies go far beyond the bounds of entertainment. We see fictions taking the place of facts in the emergence of science that disregards inconvenient data to forward a specific political goal or other ad hoc belief; and purported news outlets that prefer opinion, slant, and pointed characterizations over facts, observations, and examination of the evidence.
It has become acceptable to pay for placement in so many contexts and so many ways that it has become the expectation of most consumers that every assertion, every observation, every report, and every opinion is simply a position and a belief that someone is likely making money from somehow and has little to nothing to do with legitimate interpretation of the actual situation being communicated. Kind of an “of course the news is fake, its run by a big corporation with a specific agenda. So what?” kind of belief.
Everyone has an angle. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone has the desire to convince, persuade, or otherwise enlist others in their worldview regardless of its quality.
And the result of so much information, so much misinformation, so much corruption and misdirection, so many lies and partial truths, so much money changing hands and controlling what is communicated is that it has become acceptable to believe that nothing is really real, that everything is an opinion, that facts are fallacies and observations are not to be trusted, and that pursuit of the objective reality, the actual facts, and the absolute truth is pointless and out of reach and so whatever your position or belief its just as valid, just as acceptable, just as true as everyone else’s.
There is a creeping apathy and pre-approved defeat arising in this generation, springing from this certain kind of lack of education and lack of informed insight that is causing more and more people to believe that what they think, what they say, what they stand for, and what they believe is somehow more important than the actual, factual truth.
This collective narcissism has led to the rise of a world in which as a society and a culture we are no longer in pursuit of the truth. Many would prefer to walk into disease, death, depression, dysfunction, and destruction rather than be proved wrong and so protected from their own flawed beliefs.
Just because you believe something does not make it so.
Just because you assert something does not make it fact.
Just because you view the world a certain way does not mean that you are right.
What I am about to say is perhaps the most controversial position anyone can take in this environment of selective ignorance, and intentional blindness.
God created reality. God defined reality. And God communicated the truth about reality repeatedly and with passion and purpose over thousands of years and ultimately came to earth to communicate it with unavoidable clarity and accuracy so that we would know the facts and so be able to live blessed and prosperous lives based on an awareness of how we and everything around us actually works.
God is not opposed to science. Science is the exploration of what God has created. Science is the observation of the activity and work of God. Science, in fact, cannot and never will discover or observe anything that isn’t evidence of God.
God does not require you to ignore the facts or manipulate the data. And people who promote doing so are not speaking for God or supporting a better understanding of reality.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” – John 8
For instance, the truth that creating an airfoil provides a platform for lift and is what gave the human race the power of flight. The truth that isolating a certain mold provides protection against certain bacteria and so led to the discovery of penicillin and kicked off the era of modern antibiotics, leading to a massive decline in many previously common causes of death. The truth that God created you for a purpose and that you are uniquely positioned to make the world a better place right where you find yourself today. The list goes on and on.
Facts are not subject to opinion. Truth is not subject to belief. Actual reality is not subject to your view of it.
Now, I’ve heard it said many times that quantum mechanics gives a scientific basis for moral relativism, so let’s put this one to bed. What people are usually talking about is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that you cannot observe both the position and the velocity/momentum of a sub-atomic particle like an electron or anything else of extremely small dimension and extremely small mass not because the tools we have to measure are not fine enough, but rather because at very small dimensions the distinction between particles and waves becomes enmeshed in such a way that even in theory the position and velocity are linked such that you can observe one or the other with certainty, but not both at the same time.
However, there is a common confusion between Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the observer effect, which maybe comes closer to making the point the relativists would like Heisenberg to prove. The observer effect states that the actual observation of a situation may change the situation being observed. For instance, in order to measure the pressure in a tire, most tire gauges actually let some air out of the tire, thus changing the pressure of the air in the tire being observed. There are many other examples of these kinds of observer effects in physics, and when Heisenberg originally proposed his uncertainly principle he was unsure whether or not it was a fact or simply a result of the observer effect. However, it has been shown by further study that wave-particle interaction at the sub-atomic level actually is not the result of an observer effect, but that even mathematically the position and velocity of a particle are related in such a way that you can not with certainty obtain both at the same time.
So, how does this provide insight into moral relativism or the existence of an absolute truth? Proponents of relativism use the observer effect to highlight that a subjective view of reality can change reality. And, surely, we see examples where people take action based on bad information, uninformed views, or incorrect conclusions that, without fail, result in changing reality for the worse. Bad information, or information that is not informed by or aligned with objective reality is simply that, bad. So, it can be seen how a subjective view of reality that is out of alignment with objective reality can actually change reality, but not for the better, really only for the worse. So, is that really the point relativists are making? Isn’t it more like “the world is whatever you make of it” or “every view of reality is just as valid, just as valuable, and just as constructive of a better future”?
The fact is, both the observer effect and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle convey the same truth about reality — that regardless of our opinions, ability to observe it, or our understanding of it, reality is factually objective in nature in every respect.
In short, reality is.
That is why, when asked to explain who or what He is to Moses, God said,
“אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה” – Exodus 3
Which is most often translated, “I am who I am” or “I am that I am”. However, when I look at it, I think the better English rendition of the original Hebrew text would be “I am the one who IS” or “I am the one who will be” similar to God’s statement to the apostle John on the island of Patmos in the book of Revelation,
“Ἐγώ [I] εἰμι [am] τὸ [the] Α [alpha] καὶ [and] τὸ [the] Ω [omega] ἀρχὴ [beginning] καὶ [and] τέλος [ending] , λέγει [says] ὁ [the] κύριος [Lord] ὁ [the] ὢν [being] καὶ [and] ὁ [the] ἦν [was] καὶ [and] ὁ [the] ἐρχόμενος [is to come] ὁ [the] παντοκράτωρ [almighty]” – Revelation 1:8
Which is translated from the original Greek as,
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the all powerful” – Revelation 1:8
If there is one thing that is for certain from these two statements — one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament — it is that God is asserting His existence as an objective fact. God is not like Santa Clause or the tooth fairy — God doesn’t require your belief in order to exist or have power.
God is. God was. God will always be. And all power, all energy, all existence, all creation, all fact, all truth, ALL REALITY comes from God and so is properly contextualized only by Him.
We are because God is.
That is the fact.
So the next time someone says that every opinion is valid, that every action is justified, or that every view is acceptable regardless of its factual content, consider that to break free of mistakes, misconceptions, and misunderstandings you must choose to pursue something more than a subjective response to a situation, or an emotional reaction to your circumstances. If you are going to achieve the best objective results, you are going to have to discover the actual objective facts. And when you do, you will be challenged to choose the objectively best response.
And if you are asking yourself, “How could I possibly know the objectively best response?” Then you have discovered why God has been communicating with people since the time He created them.
And God is still communicating with you now, if you are willing to look for the objective desires of God’s heart and so receive the objective blessings that God has in store for you and all people who will objectively accept them.