Without Absolutes No Society Can Last


The signers of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights understood that absolute truth exists and drafted these documents with specific words having specific meanings for a specific purpose. If words can be interpreted to mean anything to anybody, then communication breaks down and culture moves toward anarchy. Once words no longer have an absolute meaning, courts are free to make decisions based on whatever criteria they desire.

Without absolutes, there is no way of judging right from wrong and no way to have just laws. Law becomes arbitrary, based on opinions and social norms. In some societies cannibalism is considered normal. In many ancient societies slave prostitution and human sacrifice were normal.

Modern man has convinced himself that whatever is “legal” is also “right” because he has abandoned belief in absolutes. The evidence of increasing anarchy in any culture is increasing violence and crime. Since people cannot live with anarchy, they will sacrifice personal freedoms in order to allow the state to reestablish order. However, in doing so, the major checks on the absolute power of the state, such as the amendments to our Constitution, are sacrificed and ignored.

One of many examples of this dismantling of our Constitution by the removal of our guaranteed personal freedoms (which were meant to be a check on the power of government) is the increasing limitations being placed on the second amendment. The second amendment to our Constitution gave all citizens the right to bear arms. The framers of the constitution had experienced the oppressive governments of Europe and understood that mankind has a propensity toward greed and cruelty. This amendment was not drafted so that hunters could be assured a supply of fresh meat but as a check on the power of government. As gun control increases, this check on the power of government is increasingly removed. In the 1930’s, Hitler preceded the confiscation of all guns with the registration of gun owners. At the time, it seemed like an innocent and logical surrender of individual freedom in order for the state to maintain order. We would be wise to remember the final result.

The tragic deaths at the Waco, Texas religious compound in 1994 illustrate the effect of absolute government power run amuck. The raid had been planned weeks in advance and was implemented despite the fact that the compound’s leader, David Koresh, could have been arrested prior to the siege because he was frequently seen in town. Yet, this community of private citizens was attacked and 78 people, including many children, died. The violation of their personal freedom seems inexcusable. America’s founders clearly understood the danger of allowing the State to increasingly assume control over every aspect of their lives. This is exactly why the bill of rights was added to the American Constitiution and the American governement was established with an intricate balance of powers.

The fundamental question is whether the framers of our Constitution were correct when they sought to maximize personal freedom and minimize government power. They did this by developing a system which put checks and balances on the separate branches of government and maintained as much power as possible at the local levels. This concept found its roots in Biblical teaching concerning the sinful nature of man. A shift in the understanding of absolute truth has allowed our courts to ignore the clear intent of our Constitution.

A 1991 Gallop poll revealed that 70% of the people in our country no longer believe that absolute truth exists. Absolute values depend upon the existence of absolute truth. Without it, the difference between right and wrong becomes blurred. This shift in our understanding of reality did not occur overnight but has taken place almost imperceptibly over many decades. We allow it to continue at the peril of our freedom.