July 31, 2001
The Norwegian Pagan Society in Oslo, Norway is allowed to proclaim “God does not exist” every Friday for three minutes. In eighteen locations throughout the city, Muslims can issue calls to prayer five times a day, including the words, “God is the greatest.”
Both groups are convinced that what they are saying is true. This conflict is no problem for relativism. Relativism says that God is true for the Muslims but not true for the pagans.
When two statements clash, relativism may be unconcerned but those who believe in absolutes are mortified. They say two opposite and conflicting statements cannot both be true. For them, a door is either open or shut. It cannot be open in one person’s mind and shut in the mind of another.
Absolutes and relativism have nothing to do with preferences. My husband says “chocolate tastes terrible” even though nearly everyone disagrees with him. If thinking something is true makes it true, then those who like chocolate are hopelessly deluded. Instead, he needs to say “I think chocolate tastes terrible.”
This would clarify the issue of conflict between pagans and Muslims. If they said, “I think God does not exist” or “I think God is the greatest,” their statements would not be in conflict.
More simply put, those who decide “what is true for you is not true for me” have made a choice based on their preferences, not on what is true or not true. Because opinions vary on the taste of chocolate, there is no absolute truth about that issue. On the other hand, whether God exists or not cannot be an opinion. He either exists or He does not, just the same as Aunt Mary or any other person exists or not.
Pagans are in trouble if God exists. They need to rethink their philosophy and its resulting lifestyle. Muslims are in trouble if God is not the greatest. They must also do some rethinking. Believing in absolute truth and being an objective thinker requires work. Conflicting claims must be checked out. Merely forming an opinion will not do.
For example, if a person rings my doorbell and tells me that my house is on fire, I need to go and look. Even if I cannot see or smell smoke and there are no flames in sight, it would be dangerous to simply form an opinion. Saying something is “true for you” might be okay when it comes to chocolate or picking the color of your next car, but many matters require investigation and sound decisions. Forming an opinion without making sure could mean disaster.
Besides that, pagans and atheists have inflated egos. To say there is no God means they have all knowledge of all things, that they have searched the universe and verified no one is out there. No wonder Scripture says, “Only a fool says in his heart there is no God.”
The early Christians said there is a God and that Christ is His Son, resurrected from the dead. When they were accused of being deluded, they replied that if God is not real and the resurrection did not happen, then “we are of all men most miserable.” They had staked their lives on what they believed, taking Jesus seriously when He said, “He who saves his life will lose it . . .” They lived for the glory of God, not for personal gain.
God exists but the reality of His existence is made apparent only to those who know Him. This fits with the words Jesus said in a prayer to the Father, “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.”
If God is not real in the mind of an atheist, where lies the problem? Is it that God is not real? Or do they not want to obey Him? Or have they foolishly formed an opinion without checking it out?