Absolute Truth?


#1

After my wife came home from my daughters wedding shower held at the church, she had a perplexing question nagging her.

It seems one of those present ( She happen to be the President of the Women’s Guild ) was listening to Dr James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” He made this statement:

60% of Christians don’t believe in Absolute Truth and 85% of Catholics don’t belive in Absolute Truth.

It did bother me that he made a distinction between Christians and Catholics, I don’t know whether he was implying Catholics are not Christians.

But I was more concerned about what is meant by ABSOLUTE TRUTH?


#2

They always make the seperate distinction between Catholics and Christians. It’s there way of taking a pot shot at us.

Dr. James Dobson is essentially a bigot and completely out of touch with reality. I wouldn’t pay much mind what he says. He has no formal training in Theology, yet he spends all his time trying to tell everyone how to live, and legislate everyones morality.

REMOVED UNCHARITABLE COMMENTS

I’m not certain what he means by ‘absolute truth’, I’m guessing that it means 60% of Christians and 85% of Catholics don’t believe there method is absolutly true.


#3

Yea I think he is a crackpot.


#4

[quote=JoeyWarren]Yea I think he is a crackpot.
[/quote]

He’s a crackpot, but very influential, he essentially won Geroge Bush the presidency. He has no love for Catholic’s, but he is less vitriolic than many of the other Evangelicals’. One of Dobson’s critics had this to say about him, after he featured Mother Theresa on the cover of his magazine:
*
“Dobson has a close and uncritical relationship with Roman Catholicism. The November 1989 issue of Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine featured Roman Catholic Mother Teresa. A smiling Mother Teresa was on the cover, and the lead article was entitled “Teresa of Calcutta: Little Woman with a Big Heart.” The readers of this magazine were made to think that Mother Teresa was a genuine New Testament Christian and that she did a great work for God through her Sisters of Charities mission. This is a great deception. Mother Teresa preached Rome’s false sacramental gospel and gave multitudes a false comfort by encouraging them to place their faith in such vanities as the Roman Catholic Mass, the Roman Catholic Mary, even Hindu idols. It is an abomination before God for Dobson to feature this woman in his magazine and to pretend that she was a true Christian. (For more about Mother Teresa, see the book Evangelicals and Rome, available from Way of Life Literature.)”*

Can you imagine someone having the gall, to call Mother Theresa’s Christianity into question? I can only honestly laugh as the person who wrote this lives in their cush home in the US wathcing the Academy awards, driving their SUV to work, popping prozac, crossing the street when they see a homeless man. But they have the unadulterated gall to question Mother Theresa’s Christianity? Completely unbelievable…

Well I’m dragging this topic 100% off topic, but I think that’s becaue I’m not certain what he meant by absolute truth.


#5

Well I will pass the word along to those who listen to his show. They should be made aware of his Anti-Catholic stand.


#6

[quote=Mike_D30]It’s there way of taking a pot shot at us.%between%
[/quote]

Based on the comments that you go on to make about Mr. Dobson, I would say that this is a little like the ‘pot calling the kettle black.’

He can’t be too terrible…CA Radio Show has had him on as a guest a couple of times. I seriously doubt they would put on a ‘crackpot.’ Obviously I don’t ascribe to all he believes (he is Protestant) but hardly ‘dangerous.’

As far as what he meant by Absolute Truth?..One would have to have the entire context of what he was talking about in order to determine this. I’m guessing he’s referring to whatever his particular beliefs are concerning the Gospel message.

Lisa


#7

[quote=Lischou]Based on the comments that you go on to make about Mr. Dobson, I would say that this is a little like the ‘pot calling the kettle black.’

He can’t be too terrible…CA Radio Show has had him on as a guest a couple of times. I seriously doubt they would put on a ‘crackpot.’ Obviously I don’t ascribe to all he believes (he is Protestant) but hardly ‘dangerous.’

As far as what he meant by Absolute Truth?..One would have to have the entire context of what he was talking about in order to determine this. I’m guessing he’s referring to whatever his particular beliefs are concerning the Gospel message.

Lisa
[/quote]

Not dangerous?

Anytime a religious leader has enough influence to essentially get the leader of the free world elected, I would call that dangerous. And James Dobson has in the past defended anti-Catholic bigots, once on Hannity and Colmes…

I think he’s a crackpot, how else do you explain his stance on raising non-gay children? I think that’s psuedo-science nonsense. He’s too interested in polical agenda’s, and power, to be taken seriously as a religious leader.

Have you ever heard the people on the open forum for non-Catholics on Catholic Answers radio? Are you still certain CA wouldn’t have a crackpot on?

That’s my take I don’t want to argue, nor post insults to other posters like “pot calling the kettle black”. You like him, I think he’s anti-Catholic crackpot. We’ll agree to disagree…


#8

[quote=Mike_D30]Not dangerous?

Anytime a religious leader has enough influence to essentially get the leader of the free world elected, I would call that dangerous. And James Dobson has in the past defended anti-Catholic bigots, once on Hannity and Colmes…
[/quote]

He is an American and has the right, as such, to participate in the political process. Whether or not we agree with him is irrelevant. There are many in the US with a great deal of influence that I, personally, find scarry. That doesn’t mean that they should be excluded. I think you give him more power than he really has. There have been other elections that his side has opposed and lost (Clinton, most recently).

how else do you explain his stance on raising non-gay children?

Haven’t read his book Bringing Up Boys so I really can’t fairly answer that question. I did say, though, that I don’t agree with everything he espouses. I don’t make it a habit of reading Protestant thinkers now that I have converted. There are so many more better choices by Catholic authors that I spend my time on.

Lisa


#9

Just let it go really, I’m sure you’ve never said a public figure is crazy or a crackpot, but you can sit here in judgment of me? Come on now…


#10

it is unfair to criticize Catholic beliefs based on isolated quotes out of context of magesterial documents etc.

it is unfair to criticize other Christian commentators based on isolated quotes taken out of context. What was the context of the comment, was he citing a poll, where the results reported by his organization or by another organization, was he stating his own opinion, reporting on a scientific poll, reading out of another published source etc.? Nothing in OP gives us reason to believe the comment represents his own opinion.

James Dobson and focus on the Family, whatever else they might represent in regards to Evangelical Christianity, are also staunch allies in the pro-life movement.

Please play fair in discussion comments by non-Catholic sources, as you would wish others to play fair in discussion Catholic sources. Calling someone a crackpot is hardly a contribution to ecumenical dialogue.


#11

Everyone is missing the question:

What is Absolute Truth from a Christian perspective: Doing a google Search I got this as one from Whatis.com

) In philosophy, absolute truth generally states what is essential rather than superficial - a description of the Ideal (to use Plato’s concept) rather than the merely “real” (which Plato sees as a shadow of the Ideal). **Among some religious groups this term is used to describe the source of or authority for a given faith or set of beliefs, such as the Bible. **

So what he was saying was either:

A. Catholics don’t believe the Church to be Authoritative or

B. Catholics don’t believe the Bible to be Authoritative

What does “Absolute Truth” mean to a Catholic?


#12

I’m sorry that you feel that your toes were stepped on but I call it like I see it. No, I’m not perfect either and frequently make many mistakes. Judgements are made by everyone and are not inherently evil. We use ‘judgements’ to decide right from wrong. Sometimes we judge incorrectly…that’s why we have the Church to help guide us.

but you can sit here in judgment of me?

The good news is that I’m not your personal ‘judge,’ jury or executioner! :slight_smile: Just giving my personal opinion…not everyone is going to agree with you all of the time. I am in no way trying to call you a bad person and apologize if you took it that way. I was just reacting to your statements.

Lisa


#13

JoeyWarren,

The topic is difficult to address, at best, due to the fact that we don’t have what James Dobson meant by Absolute Truth. We don’t really know whether he was going against Catholicism or not. We can speculate based on what others have said on the subject (as you presented in your second post) or on what is known about Protestants in general. However, that would be unfair and, perhaps, inaccurate in this case. We simply need more info about Dobson’s statements to answer this better.

Lisa


#14

I realized that as well. I have submitted a question to the Focus on the Family group concerning what is meant by Absolute Truth.

I know what Absolute Truth means with respect to Computer Programming and Mathematics. But with respect to Religion…


#15

That’s good! Let us know what you find out. :slight_smile:

Lisa


#16

Hi all!

[quote=Joey warren]I know what Absolute Truth means with respect to Computer Programming and Mathematics. But with respect to Religion…
[/quote]

Hmm…I’m going to toss in my orthodox Jewish $0.02 here because I think it’s relevant to the general question of Absolute Truth and Religion.

Do I, as an orthodox Jew, believe in Absolute/Ultimate Truth?

Yes.

Do I believe that it is within our grasp?

No.

The Talmud tells about four Sages, Shimon Ben Azzai, Shimon Ben Zoma, Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuya and Rabbi Akiva who “entered the orchard”, which is a euphemism for engaging in kabbalistic/mystical/theosophical speculations on, as the story goes, Ultimate Truth. The Talmud says that, “Ben Azzai looked and died. Ben Zoma looked and went mad. Acher ‘mutilated the shoots’ and Rabbi Akiva departed in peace.”

Ben Azzai gazed at Ultimate Truth and could not bring himself to return to this world; his soul clung to Ultimate Truth, thus, he died.

Ben Zoma beheld the Ultimate Truth and wasn’t able to cling to it like Ben Azzai did. But he could not reconcile the difference between what he had beheld and where he came from, i.e. our mundane, everyday world. “The Talmud makes it clear that he [Ben Zoma] was torn between two worlds. He saw the heavenly sphere, the perfection the world could be, but he could not reconcile life as it was in the imperfect world he found…Caught again between two worlds, Ben Zoma went mad.” (See tinyurl.com/33n7l; scroll down & start at the 3rd paragraph.) Or, as Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok writes: “Thus when the Light shined upon him [Ben Zoma], he could not receive it. Nor could he go back to where he was before. He got stuck, his mind split between that which he had seen, and that which he could not bare to see.”

Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuya, like Ben Zoma, “saw the heavenly sphere, the perfection the world could be, but he could not reconcile life as it was in the imperfect world he found.” But whereas Ben Zoma went mad, Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuya had an altogether different reaction. He turned heretic and become an apostate, and was henceforth referred to as Acher, literally “[The] Other.” His having “mutilated the shoots” is a reference to his attempts to persuade students that there was no God, that the Torah was a fraud and that they should junk the lot. As the aforementioned link says of him: “To the end, he never repented or returned, but he was never able to find another place in the world where he felt he belonged. He remained separated from his former colleagues. He wandered on the fringes.”

Only Rabbi Akiva (tinyurl.com/39bdl), it is said, emerged in peace. But did he? It was he who declared Shimon Bar Kochba (tinyurl.com/2w4wj) to be the Messiah, helping to trigger the Bar Kochba Revolt (tinyurl.com/ypnjl) against Rome & the unparalled destruction that the Romans visited upon Judea as they brutally put down the rebellion (which would never have gotten off the ground if Rabbi Akiva hadn’t endorsed it). He himself was tortured to death by the Romans, who scraped his skin off with iron combs.

Thus, in our view, speculating on/debating about Absolute Truth is an exercise that, as Buddha said, “will not edify.”

Howzat?

Be well!

ssv http://forum.catholic.com/images/smilies/ani/wave.gif


#17

That was a very interesting story StillSmallVoice! :slight_smile:


#18

To believe in Absolute Truth means to believe that something can be “absolutely true” whether some one “believes” in it or not. Gravity is absolutely true. Just because I might think I can fly doesn’t change the fact that gravity will pull me back down to earth in a hurry (3.8 meters per second per second I believe, but some one can correct me on this). When Dobson (or any other religious leader) talks about Absolute Truth, they are speaking in terms of God and the way He set up the world. Dobson is merely stating that many Christians (including Catholic Christians… perhaps he makes the distinction because Catholic Christians make up the largest single segment of Christianity) don’t believe that there is anything absolute (i.e. we have all sinned, Jesus atoned for our sins, heaven, hell, that certain things are wrong no matter what you believe (abortion for example), etc.). His point is that it is scary for Christianity when such a large number of “Christians” don’t believe that there can be truth or that God has revealed truth to us which we are called to share with others.
Dobson is hardly an anti-catholic. He may have relationships with anti-catholics and join them when his cause lines up with theirs (just as catholics might join up with people of other faiths (protestant, muslims, jews) when it comes to certain issues such as homosexuality and abortion (not to lump those two together)). Dobson has praised the Catholic Church many times for their stance on social issues and for their lead in the world of Christianity in serving the poor. I have heard him say many times (on his radio show and in person) how much respect he has for the Catholic Church (quote: “Where would we be in the fight against abortion without the Catholic Church?”). While you might not ascribe to his theories, he is an accredited scientist (when it comes to psychology particularly family counseling). He is widely respected outside Christian circles even though people might not agree with his findings and conclusions, no one has ever argued his credentials in that field. He has had Biblical training as well (not as much as a priest or a mainline protestant pastor, but he has studied in seminary).
My point is that, he was not trying to take a “pot shot” at Catholics by making the distinction. I think the fact that there was such a higher percentage (and possibly, after viewing some of the posts on this thread, it is because the Catholics didn’t understand the question the way it was worded) of Catholics who said they didn’t believe that there was Absolute Truth. Perhaps he found that alarming (as I do) that the largest Christian denomination in the world (by far!) has so many in this country who don’t really believe what their church teaches. I think his point is something we must wake up to.


#19

[quote=JoeyWarren]After my wife came home from my daughters wedding shower held at the church, she had a perplexing question nagging her.

It seems one of those present ( She happen to be the President of the Women’s Guild ) was listening to Dr James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” He made this statement: It did bother me that he made a distinction between Christians and Catholics, I don’t know whether he was implying Catholics are not Christians.

But I was more concerned about what is meant by ABSOLUTE TRUTH?
[/quote]

It seems when this post was answered the Last line of this thread starter was ignored and more emphasis was placed on the preceeding sentence.

It did bother me that he made a distinction between Christians and Catholics, I don’t know whether he was implying Catholics are not Christians.

But I was more concerned about what is meant by ABSOLUTE TRUTH?


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