Religious values are constantly under attack today. Truth and order have been replaced by confusion and chaos. The former offered direction and purpose. The later reveals uncertainty and despair. This unfortunate reality distorts objective truth and intensifies moral relativism, thus continuing to reduce society to the lowest common denominator. This becomes troublesome when one considers the number of groups, which often pressure religious individuals and organizations, to embrace an agenda that runs contrary to orthodox Christian values and ideals.
What if they took the time to evaluate real truth? (Is there still such a thing these days?) Truth lies in union with natural order. For example, life is a right and should therefore be valued, respected, and protected, regardless of what the law says. If one did not have this right, why would there be rules to safeguard it? Yet, our culture often expresses that certain lives are more important than others. We know that extenuating circumstances exist in society, but they are the exceptions and not the norms.
These days, truth is based on popular opinions, which negate the need for objective reasoning. Secular values blur the lines of objective truth, which has always complemented the natural order, since the beginning. This should never be up for debate or subject to popular discourse. This is a fact that no one can ignore. Truth does not become obsolete simply because one does not like it. This is the root of a disorder, which often leads to relativism.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical, Lumen Fidei, encouraged Christians to seek beyond the ways of the world in order to arrive at real truth:
Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age. In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring by our scientific know-how, truth is what works and what makes life easier and more comfortable. Nowadays this appears as the only truth that is certain, the only truth that can be shared, the only truth that can serve as a basis for discussion or for common undertakings. Yet at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual, which consist in fidelity to his or her deepest convictions, yet these are truths valid only for that individual and not capable of being proposed to others in an effort to serve the common good. But truth itself, the truth which would comprehensively explain our life as individuals and in society, is regarded with suspicion. Surely this kind of truth — we hear it said — is what was claimed by the great totalitarian movements of the last century, a truth that imposed its own world view in order to crush the actual lives of individuals. In the end, what we are left with is relativism, in which the question of universal truth — and ultimately this means the question of God — is no longer relevant.
The question is how much of one’s faith in God, along with truth (consistent with the natural order) is permitted to enter into one’s discussions, decisions and eventual actions? To deprive God His rightful place in the world is to discriminate against Him, His creation, and His sons and daughters, who are citizens of it. This provides a gateway to evil (through an abuse of free-will). Free-will is a gift, but its abuses can be destructive, as evidenced through multiple examples in Sacred Scripture. This chasm has continually contributed to a breakdown of goodness and truth, beginning with Adam and Eve and their disobedience of God. The consequences of their actions have remained and have intensified with the effects of social sin, indicative of the Tower of Babel. In both cases, the number one culprit has been found to be pride.
The Antidote for this Sin of Pride
Pride is a deadly sin (if not the deadliest one) as it often tricks one into believing they are not in need of truth. The eventual turning away from God (and thus goodness) in favor of one’s self, perverts human nature and leads society on a collision course with natural order. Truth does not change based on time periods or public opinion polls. It is constant and can only be realized and maintained through humility, since humility reinforces a just relationship in all that is true and good. This leads to breaking the chains of bondage, setting society free of misinformation and relativism. Furthermore, humility exercises our willingness to accept goodness back into our lives by choosing to put aside what Augustine called “false liberty.”
One is not as free as previously thought when they give in to sin, or allow others to misguide them through manipulation. They merely succeed in becoming more ignorant of a preferred attachment to a fallen world. These moments separate and remove God from one’s life and further contribute to the nature of sin and evil. It is not until one realizes that true goodness can only come from God, and God alone (and that it must be properly understood and practiced in accordance with Christ) can they relinquish all attachments to sin and evil and become true ambassador of goodness and truth.
Fr. Frank Pavone is often fond of using the phrase, “One cannot practice vice in a virtuous way.” This makes sense when we realize that our society promotes numerous opportunities to manipulate the moral integrity of our world, through such phrases as, compassionate measures. These deceive in order to further agenda.
The Final Solution Is Diligence and Prayer
Prayer is the means by which we contribute to keeping God involved in our lives and in our world; a world He created. When one uncovers a remedy for illness, they share it with others. Let us work, though prayer and diligence of study (from our early Church Fathers to our current Holy Father, Pope Francis) to find remedies that offer encouragement to those who struggle to engage a culture fixated on upholding the lowest common denominator.