OPINION

"What do we mean by Truth and Absolute Truth?"

This is an extensive series of posts rom the CathNews Discussion Board in response to a series of questions put to me by PeterS on these questions. This is the response from PeterS which sparked the intense discussion.

Tom,

: I only put this post here to again highlight
: that the Church really does have a big
: problem at the moment. It is divided, not
: "down the middle" but basically
: 5%/95% between this sector that does
: passionately believe in the sentiments
: expressed in Pauline's quote from Sr Lucia
: and those who believe the pursuit of truth
: is the prime spiritual quest.

In saying that the Œthe pursuit of truth is the prime spiritual quest¹ you are acknowledging that there is TRUTH to be FOUND. How can the "pursuit of truth"be an END in itself ?

Also by saying that you are in "pursuit of truth" Tom, you appear to acknowledging that you haven't yet FOUND truth or the fullness of truth ?

You acknowledge that you are in 'pursuit of truth' and yet you are ever ready to denigrate those who believe that they have found truth. You seem to find it impossible that people such as myself or Pauline, Sharon and others have also pursued truth and are still "pursuing truth"­ or more to the point ­ LIVING OUT the truth that has been found.

: Nobody denies, least of all myself, that
: there are Absolute Truths. You don't get to
: heaven though by demonstrating that you can
: recite, or even memorise, Absolute Truths.
: That's what the Sr Lucia's, the Pauline's
: and the Peter S's would try and convince us
: the spiritual quest is all about.

If after 18 months of my posting here Tom (and I don't presume that you read any or all of my posts !) you honestly and sincerely believe that ALL I believe the spiritual quest is about is "memorising and reciting Absolute Truths" then it really leaves me wondering why I'm even bothering responding to you now ?!

I also understand (and I've been known to do it myself) that you can be a bit provocative sometimes even insulting. If that was the aim with that comment (to be insulting) then you succeeded there. It's a pretty unfair statement really and I think even some of your allies here might agree with me - (the more reasonable ones anyway ?!)

: But this "pursuit of truth" not
: in the sense that Peter S is trying to
: define truth down the board. But "the
: truth" as in the sense of "what is
: 'the truth' of this particular moral or life
: dilemma that I am facing at this moment in
: my life?".
: Nobody denies, least of all myself, that
: there are Absolute Truths.

You don't deny that there are Absolute Truths but you seem to believe that it is up to each individual to come to a formulation of Absolute Truth within him or herself and/or Absolute Truth is variable/relative according to particular circumstances and situations ?

In Matthew 5: 17-20, Jesus says:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

So Tom you acknowledge that Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their "law only" approach and yet Jesus says our righteousness must SURPASS that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law!

This is where I think your "model" of the "spiritual quest" and the moral life falls down.

I do follow your thinking to some extent. I do believe that the living out of Absolute Truth can sometimes lead to circumstances and situations that APPEAR to conflict with some particular Church teaching on some moral detail. (I would thought that revelations about my personal life that I have made on this board in the past would have made that very clear to you ?!)

: We also don't get to heaven by the brownie
: points we earn for how many times we bless
: ourselves and say "I'm loyal to His
: Holiness". We get to heaven by
: demonstrating how LOYAL we are to those
: difficult moral truths that we discern
: through our own consciences, in communion
: with God, and then obey them. Everything,
: EVERYTHING ELSE IS IDOLATRY ‹ and even when
: it involves slavish obsequiousness to a
: person as important as the Vicar of Jesus
: Christ on Earth.

"We get to heaven by demonstrating how LOYAL we are to those difficult moral truths that we discern through our own consciences, in communion with God, and then obey them."

I think the "in communion with God" part is the most important here. This is the MOST important part of being a Christian ­ striving for communion with God! It is even MORE important than obeying some particular Church moral law or teaching. We can break some of the rules sometimes but we can't break ALL of the rules at once, in particular we can NEVER break ONE particular law ­ THE GREAT COMMANDMENT ­ ("Love God with all your heart soul, mind and strength")Šand still remain in good conscience!

There is more that I would like to say here Tom but I have a BIG day coming up tomorrow and I really need to get some rest. Hopefully I may be able to say some more later tomorrow.

Goodnight,
Peter
Posted: 15Mar2005 11.02pm