When it comes to ice cream, we all have differing flavours for our favourites. Some love chocolate, others vanilla, hokey pokey if your from New Zealand, Jamoca Almond fudge if you like Baskin Robbins or good old Cookies & Cream. This is our personal taste or preference which we all possess and are entitled to when it comes to, not only ice-cream flavours, but also to fashion, hair do’s or don’ts, music genres, where we would like to live, etc.
Although personal tastes vary, we do not ascribe them to be either right or wrong. We would not say that a person is wrong or evil if they like strawberry flavoured ice cream simply because it’s not our preferred flavour. That would be absurd because when we say that we like chocolate flavour, we are speaking of a subjective truth and not an objective truth. Objective truth is truth for everyone, everywhere because it is based on the object independent of the perception of the observer.
For example, we know today that the earth revolves around the sun. But hundreds of years ago, most people believed that the earth was the centre of the universe and to even believe otherwise was considered heretical. However, through scientific development, it has now been established that the sun is the centre of the solar system. Did the centre of the solar system change from the Earth to the Sun due to increased knowledge or revelation? If this fact is based on people’s opinions then, yes. But the objective reality is that the Sun has always been at the centre and the earth revolves around it. This illustrates the difference between subjective and objective truth.
Subjective truth is where something that is true for the observer, or person, may not necessarily be true for someone else, such as flavour preferences. “I like Chocolate ice cream.” This is true for me but may not be true for some else. Therefore it is subjective because it is information based on the subject, which is me.
However, when it comes to medicine when we’re sick, it no longer becomes a matter of personal preference or subjective truth as to what we would like to take to be cured. It would be absurd to say that in order to medicate and cure diabetes, I will just eat ice cream. Of course that would not only be foolish, but fatal. Neither would we take any other medicine like panadol or an antibiotics to treat Diabetes. There is only one, particular type of medication that must be administered and that is Insulin. Diabetics do not have a problem with understanding this concept. Let me reiterate; in order to treat a life threatening disease, we need the objective truth as to what will bring a cure and not just what I feel like taking based on my own preferences or somebody else’s for that matter. If I were a diabetic, I don’t need anything that tastes or looks good, I need what can help me.
This difference between how we view ice cream and how we view diabetes medication is exactly how people view their belief in God. People tend to view God subjectively like they view ice cream flavours. “Whatever works for you or whatever your taste or preference.” These are the watch-cry’s of relativism that speaks of subjective truth when it comes to God and religion. Like ice cream, they insist that whatever god and religion one believes, it is true for them and we have no right to judge or make comparisons.
I believe, however that religion is more like Insulin. There is one particular medication for diabetes because it is an actual disease that needs an actual treatment, not based on subjective reality, but on facts. In like manner if there is a transcendent, all powerful, all knowing God worth following, then He could not possibly be subject to personal tastes and opinions of flawed and varied human beings. He must be truth for all people, everywhere, at all times. As well meaning as we could possibly be, to have a god subject to our whims and preferences, would not be a god at all. If there is a god who transcends this universe, He must be the source of objective truth and thus must be truth personified.
God is not a concept that differs from person to person and therefore changes in nature, personality, characteristics, intentions, purpose and methods. But there is a God who made some emphatic claims; “For I am the LORD; I change not….” Mal 3:6. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Heb 13:8. “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” John 14:6
The God of the Bible is not claiming to be a deity subject to one’s personal views and is therefore true for one person but may not be true for another like ice cream flavours. He is claiming to be the source of objective truth that regardless of whether people believe in him or not, He will continue to be the God who always has been and thereby make all other religions false.
This is a huge claim, and if it is wrong then it is just another flavour in the freezer. But if God’s claims are true, then to not follow Him will be fatal for this and the next life. I invite you to investigate His claims and see if there is an objective reality to the God of the Bible.
This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.