The Trouble With Absolute Truth

One consistent thread of postmodernism is to deny that human beings can possess absolute truth. This is not necessarily to say that Absolutes do not exist (although some indeed say this), but rather that our condition as human beings makes it impossible for us to grasp them. This makes a lot of people very uncomfortable and some downright angry.

Merold Westphal, in Overcoming Onto-Theology, makes the following observation about these objectors:

One does not even have to listen very closely to those who present themselves as defender of Absolute Truth or Absolute Values to hear the all too frequent follow-up: “And since We are the defenders of Absolutes, it should come as no surprise that we are the ones in possession of them. Our theories are the Truth and our practices are the Good.” One of the tasks of a theologically motivated appropriation of postmodernism is to challenge this move in all its forms, blatant and subtle. For just as I do no become purple by speaking about violets, so I do not become absolute by speaking about God. The divine character of revelation does not cancel out the human character of my attempt to say what it means. (79)

6 responses to “The Trouble With Absolute Truth”

  1. Excellent post because those who pretend to “possess” the “truth” are potentially very dangerous. The whole so called ID movement fits into this category. One of the influential books is titled Total Truth.

    Please check out these related references on Truth, Reality, and The Beautiful.


  2. Thanks for the comment John, and offering up your references.

    I do find myself in disagreement–often profoundly–with much contained in those links. I browsed through #4, and by my reading it would fall under the same indictment from what I shared as the ID movement does. Not only this, but at least the ID movement provides some arguments… all I see here is simple assertions.

    Still, I’m wondering, what do you find attractive about these writings? What is it that causes you to offer them up on a blog like this? I’m curious…

  3. Matt, I have pointed you to these references to introduce you to the most extraordinary Divine Revelation ever given on this planet. Such a claim is of course is a complete offence to the usual Christian and indeed all westerners.

    What then are Adi Da’s qualifications, and what is His perspective.
    He IS the Divine Conscious Light Incarnate in a human form, for real right now in 2007-2008—not 2000 years as the mythological “jesus”.

    He speaks from and as the “perspective” of the Divine Conscious Light. Again this is “impossible” for us westerners. See.


    I came across your blog via a browse on What Would Jesus Deconstruct. The answer is of course everything about pharasaical (false)religion. And most, if not all, of what is called religion in this day IS false. See for instance.


    This necessary deconstruction of ALL of our illusions is exactly what Adi Da has done.

    In some sense Adi Da’s essays seem to be mere statements, but all of His writings are precisely argued and reasoned and Adi Da invites/demands that people consider His arguments thoroughly. He has always quite explicitly stated—do NOT believe anything that I say—thoroughly study and consider my written word and really find out if it is true.

    You state that the ID movement offers arguments, which they do. But they are false arguments and essentially dishonest too, concealing a hidden, essentially dark, even totalitarian, agenda.

    The title Total Truth bears witness to this possibility. We “possess” the “only truth” and we are going to do whatever it takes to re-create USA culture after our own image. And look at their politics and cultural affiliations altogether.
    They have nothing whatsoever to do with Real God or the Divine Conscious Light.

  4. John: sorry that your comment sat waiting for approval for so long: I was on the road and any comment containing more than 2 links is automatically held for moderation.

    I thank you for coming back with more engagement in this conversation. I affirm that Adi Da appears to have some very wise things to say about life, while rejecting his claims to divinity.

    You are, however, engaging in a fundamental misunderstanding of deconstruction. Deconstruction (as far as anyone can define it) is not so much a stripping away of illusions as it is about pointing out the contradictions and instabilities within every determinate conception of truth, exposing us to the undecidability that is the condition of every decision. The stripping away of illusions is an old Enlightenment chestnut (think Kant) but deconstruction shows that everything has a bit of illusion woven into it.

    Oh, and I’m a Canadian.

    306 North Brooks Street
    Room 409
    Madison, Wisconsin 53715

    ATTENTION: On-line readers of the world

    Many have said, already, the ABSOLUTE non-existent and can not be alluded about nor described. I have discovered the existance of the phenomenal and or physical ABSOLUTE existing indipendently of the lies contained of the Bible.

    The lieing Biblical TEXT has declared that there is a god and that no person has ever seen god, but Moses saw god face to face as did Jacob? But mly contentioon is that one of the creation of god created by man and not the reverse and that god does not, in fact, exist and that the noton of god is a mind binding lie!

    But the ignorents continue to lie abut these matters and they declare that the ABSOLUTE cannot be disclosed, described nor discussed. In this way of the defense of the ignorent then I do protest and I say differently.

    It is clear, to me, the dual factors of the positive sign of thepolarization are the dual negative signs of the polarization. In this same way of the determination of the dual factors of the positive sign of the polarization, those two, what are the dual negative signs of the polarization related to the first power, in similar fashion analogously it needs be possible to find the dual factors of the negative sign of the polarization each possible to be raised to the zero, first or raised dt the other of the numerical
    powers, as well.

    That the THREE DIMENSIONAL UNIVERSE has BOUNDARIES, for certain. I am of the opinon the ABSOLUTE possible to allude about, describe and disclose when there is a connective difference existing between two dimensionally related non-volumes and three dimensional volumes possible to be mechanically interconnected of an use means of the topological forms or figures made of an use to mechanically interlink phenomenally and or physically the two.

    That there exists of a difference between PHASE and DISTANCE as differentiated from POLARIZATION and DIRECTION, and that the Uspenskian Mathematical system non-ascribing of a negative and or non-negative or non-positive sign has not, at all, be accomplished of nake use means of the Uspenskian Quadratique system what is an axiomatologically related form of the error.

    That the Uspenskian System of the quadratique system is ideologically deficient, but it is possible of an use of a new means possible to make of an use by which to be allowed to allude, describe and or disclose operationally as related to what it is that is the phenomenal and or physical ABSOLUTE.

    I am writing, to you, to let you know the wrongness and the contradictory nature of the BIBLICALLY RELATED content what is full of contradictions. The Biblically related content can be shown to be flawed. If the first part of the Biblically related works be flawed, so then the second part of the world, similarly, flawed when contingent upon the flaws contained of the first part of the works.

    But the truth of the Reality of things must needs be finally realized and the errors exposed so in order to be allowed to build and design and put in placed a civilization one this planet designed, built and operated what must needs stand without falling down.

    In the content of the below…you will be able to know about and understand of the lies and the contradictions I actions what you have, before, believed non-existent in the Biblically related philosophy full of lies.

    Write, responsively, soon…

    William H. Millard

    Post Script:

    It is clear,to me, the falacous and ideologically omissive content had of the theorie of the RELATIVITY and the theorie fo the, alleged, QUANTUM MECHANICAL view, and that there is an alternate possibility.

    “The loosers are selling…the winners are buying.” I do not agree with the latter either becaiuse the loosers are selling alright, and the windnrs are not purchassding with the use of worthless money!

    I do not want it so, but I think the Americcn Economy isdestiend to collapse. The use of CREDIT and WORTHLESS MONEY, thrown at the bankers, will not due. You think Obama safe and correct as related to his plan of action…but I am wantonous to explain, to you, Obama’s doctrine is flawed.

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