Reason for God, V

The third objection posed to Christianity that Keller addresses is "Christianity is a straightjacket."

Because our faith is one that is grounded in absolute truth, another way to think about this one is through this question: "Is a belief in absolute truth the enemy of freedom?" We do live in a society that worships personal freedom, so this is a worthwhile question.


Keller asks: Is freedom a "place" we eventually hope to find ourselves where there is no ultimate purpose for our existence, but only a purpose to define our own existence and live for our own pleasure?


This question of the existence of absolute truth and ultimate purpose is one that undergirds much of our political and social squabbles. So, some would say that truth claims are actually power plays for Christians to just get their own way. Unfortunately, many "Christian" leaders throughout history have used truth claims as power plays. But, we must dig deeper beyond the tarnished image that these individuals have portrayed.


Regarding truth, can we always explain away everything? As C.S. Lewis said, "It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque." The point of seeing through something, he says, it so see something concrete beyond it.


French philosopher Foucalt admitted that some truth-claim is unavoidable for us. But, do the truth claims of Christianity serve as a straightjacket for followers of Christ?


Keller argues that there is no such thing as a totally inclusive community. Every community has a set of beliefs or parameters. That does not mean, however, that those boundaries can not be good.


Some say that Christians are culturally rigid, we live in a cultural straightjacket that cuts us off from accepting all peoples. However, this could not be further from the truth. Every major religion, with the exception of Christianity, has virtually maintained a singular geographical center of adherents. However, Christianity has been so adaptive to such contrasting cultures that it is almost difficult to believe. From Jerusalem, to the Mediterranean, to the Roman Empire, to Northern Europe, to North America, and now today to the global South and East(South America, Africa, Asia), the "center" of Christianity has spanned the globe.


It has been argued that secularism has been more destructive of local culture than, even the history of Christianity (yes, we remember Colonialism).


Coming back to morality and freedom, Keller gives an example. For someone with a musical aptitude, in order for them to excel in their gift, they must practice and practice at the cost of many hours of doing other activities. I heard a 14 year old violin player recently - she was unbelievable - and she practices something like five hours a day. In order for that person to accomplish greatness, they had to make a deliberate choice to lose their freedom.


Does it follow then that boundaries, beliefs - absolute truth - could in fact provide more freedom and greatness than relativism? Keller says that freedom "is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fit our nature and liberate us."




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