The Question of Our Time

A spit-and-polish marine major recently asked me a question that gets to the root of the most important issue of our time. His question was: "Mr. Colson, how do we know there is truth?" I had just lectured on ethics at Camp Lejeune. It was, for me, a nostalgic return to the place I served myself, many years ago as a marine lieutenant. The crisis in America today, I had argued, is caused by a loss of belief in absolute truth. Because our society doesn't believe in absolute moral values, we're in danger of ethical collapse. Absolute standards are essential to correct our moral drift, as more and more people today are discovering. The major stood up and said those were good arguments, but they were pragmatic. His question was the real one: Is there, in fact, truth? Real truth? A few days later an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal by David Klinghoffer, entitled "Is God Dead? GOP Eschews Talk of `Truth.' " In it, he raises the same crucial question with brilliant political insight. You see, many politicians—especially conservative Republicans— are talking about "morals," "values," or "virtue"—but only because our society is in such a mess and they're desperate for anything that can help us get back on track. In other words, they're saying we need "religion" as a tool for social improvement. But the problem with this, as Klinghoffer notes, is that public policies can't instill morals unless they reflect the truths about God and the meaning of life that everybody can know—truths on which our country was founded. So today, let me repeat what I said to the major. Yes, there is truth. He is called God, and He has been revealed to us in the very beauty and order of creation, in our human faculties of conscience, reason, and the desire for spiritual meaning. And, above all, He's revealed in His written Word, the Scriptures, and in His Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. This is what too many conservatives of both political parties refuse to acknowledge. They'll talk about moral issues to prop up society or to make the economy more efficient. But they forget that Christians model their lives after the Bible and Jesus—not because doing so makes us happy, prosperous, or even "moral," but because He is Truth. Any social or economic benefits are simply the inevitable consequence of conforming our lives to the Truth. David Klinghoffer is profoundly correct when he writes, ". . . if [conservative politicians] want to inspire Americans to do anything more profound than vote Republican, they should learn how to talk about truth, and about God." To that, I can only say, "Amen." I'd like every Christian in America to read this article because it will protect us from being taken in by politicians. Call us here at "BreakPoint," and we'll send you a copy. And yes, Major—and I'd like to make the same point to politicians—there is Truth. Truth with a capital T. And we follow Him not because He is "useful" but because He is the Truth.


Chuck Colson


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