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绝对没有绝对吗?(作者:Richard Ochs)陈鸽翻译

活在现今这个时代,你免不了面对“后现代”思潮的冲击。迟早你会听见人们说:“真理都是相对的!”或者更普遍的说法:“没有绝对的事!”

很明显,这样的理论是自相矛盾、不堪一击的,因为“没有绝对的”这句话本身就是个绝对的结论,正如“真理都是相对的”这句话,也是个斩钉截铁、绝对的定论。尽管如此,这种不合逻辑的思潮,如今却四处风靡、大行其道。这是为什么呢?

当然,有些人是糊里糊涂、随从大流、人云亦云;但还有些人却有意识地接纳了这种“相对论”,好叫他们可以从绝对的道德规范中得到“解脱”。正如一首摇滚乐曲所说的,“现在我可以自由的去做从前不能做的事了!”这句歌词,一语道破,总结了现今文化所流行的思潮。虽然这种观念好像很时尚,但是其后果却不堪想象。让我们来分析一下,接纳这种道德“相对论”所导致的可怕结果。

从道德的角度

道德上,若没有绝对的标准,就没有客观的是非对错了。这表面看来似乎很释放,但其后果却难以想象,因为这样一来:谋杀、强奸、恋童、种族灭绝,都不是绝对邪恶、绝对错误的。反之,这些行为和慷慨、仁慈、良善的行动没什么两样,因为没有分辨是非的绝对标准,所以没人可以说我们应该怎么生活、应该怎么行动,因为世上没有“应该”的准绳、没有伦理的尺度。你可以说:“现在我可以自由的去做从前不能的事”,但别人也可以说同样的话,他也许想要随便虐待你、任意谋杀你。尽管你不喜欢被他杀害,但“客观”来说,你不能说他错了,因为世上没有绝对的事啊!

从真理的角度

让我们从真理和知识的角度来思考这个问题。好,既然所有的真理都是相对的(各人都有自己的“真理”与独到的“认识”),那么所有的知识都是过渡性的、不一定的、不肯定的。然而,你肯定这样的观点吗?若肯定,你就自相矛盾了,因为你的哲学体系中绝对容不下绝对的事。

再者,你若接纳了一个“什么都不一定;什么都不知道”的立场,那么请问,你肯定自己的存在吗?你知道A与B的分别吗?你确定任何结论、任何观点的可靠性吗?若没有绝对,你就什么都不能肯定、不能确信了,那么,真理与知识就会象风一样从你的手指间中流失掉。你的思考过程、你的任何观点(包括你对真理与知识所下的结论)都是毫无意义、毫无价值的了。唯一合乎逻辑的结论就是:一切都是虚空、什么都是胡言、不如保持沉默吧!你若仍要发表自己的“高见”,那么你就是极度狂妄、自以为是、唯我独尊,因为无意识中,你已把自己当做真理的终极裁判者。你以为:除你之外,天下没有绝对的真理了。

从意义的角度

最后,让我们从人生的目的与意义的角度来思考:若我们否定了绝对,我们也就否定了人生的价值与意义,这是很自然、很合理的结论。即便你说,我可以创造自己的人生观、建立自己的价值观,但你不过是在自欺欺人而已,因为你人生没有终极的意义、没有绝对的目标。若你的来源是无意义的,你的归宿是无意义的,那么你现今的存在也是无意义的,甚至你从无意义中寻找意义的意图,都毫无意义可言。

若你要从致力于人类在世上的生存与进步中寻找意义,你这“远大”的理想本身也是毫无意义、毫无价值的,因为记得:你不信有绝对,那么就算你、或人类、或宇宙继续存留一刻又有什么意义呢?答案是:一切都是虚空!因为在一个没有绝对意义的宇宙中,什么都是杂乱无章、漫无目标、毫无价值的。

你不过在历史的一个点上,在一个没有剧本的人生舞台上,扮演一个无足轻重的角色。正如莎士比亚戏剧的一个角色(Macbeth)所说的,人生不过是“白痴在说书,充满了刺激与噪音,表达了混乱的虚空。”没有了绝对的意义与目标,人生就不可理喻,那么疯狂或自杀都是一样,因为什么都没有意义。

一旦否定了绝对,其后果如何呢?后果就是我们会得到不真实的真理、无目标的目的、没价值的价值、无意义的生命。甚至任何理性的讨论都不可理喻!因此,否定了绝对的标准,就是否定了一切,就是进入了虚空:绝对的虚空!

终极的绝对

然而,真的没有“绝对”吗?当然有!我们每个人的良知都知道有!我们都知道残忍与仁道的区别,我们都知道谋杀、强奸是错误的,虐待儿童是不对的,我们都知道天下一定有公理。我们都知道:我们自己是存在的,而且知道我们的存在是有意义、有价值的,因圣经告诉我们,神已将他绝对的标准,写在人的良心上、刻在人的心版上(罗1:18-32;2:14-16)。然而,问题出在:在我们追求道德的自主时,我们压抑了心中不可泯灭的良知;在我们放任个人的私欲时,我们抹煞了神所赐的是非之心;在我们寻求自我独立时,我们弃绝了那位终极的“绝对者”(上帝),他就是一切是非对错的绝对权威、终极裁判。若你不以这位无限的、有位格的、并且藉着圣经向我们启示的神为起点,你就不可能有任何绝对的标准。正如一位哲学家所言,“若没有一个无限的支点为基础,其它一切有限的点都难以衡量,也没有意义了。”

总而言之,你若不以这位终极的绝对者(上帝)为你生命的起点,那么你就没有人生的归宿,没有道德的规范,没有意义的定义,没有知识的价值,你就啥都没有了。

你也许会说,那我就自由啦!没错,自由!但那是个可怕的“自由”:自由成为无所是、无所知、无所从。你若真要活出这样的“自由”,你就会经历到真正的捆绑:罪恶的捆绑、绝望、虚空!

然而,你可以知道绝对的标准,因为那绝对者(神)已经向人类自我启示了。更重要的,你可以认识这位神,因为他已经差遣了他的儿子耶稣来到世上了。真自由在这里才能找到!正如耶稣告诉他的门徒说:「你们若常常遵守我的道,就真是我的门徒;你们必晓得真理,真理必叫你们得以自由。」(约翰8:31-32)

 注:正统的基督信仰与任何形式的“高压极权主义”(不论是希特勒或毛泽东的强权、或世俗主义、十字军东征、天主教庭的暴政)都是完全对立、水火不容的。基督绝对反对他们的狂妄自大、唯我独尊、目空一切、自以为义、打压异己。

 © Lake Road Chapel| www.lakeroadchapel.org 1

Are There No Absolutes?  byRichard Ochs

 One cannot go verylong in our so-called “postmodern”world without being exposed to the thought that “alltruth is relative,” or as it is more commonly put, “There are no absolutes.” It takes verylittle insight to see that such statements are self-contradictory. “There are no absolutes” is itself anabsolute statement, as is the statement that “all truthis relative.” Though logically invalid, such conceptscontinue to float freely in our society. Why is this? Some may hold such viewsbecause of a lack of clear thinking, but for many others the reason forembracing this relativistic view is that it supposedly liberates them fromhaving any moral absolutes imposed on them. “I’m free to do what I want any old time,”says the Rolling Stones song, in a good summation of the moral relativism thatpermeates our culture. This sounds very appealing, but the idea of “no absolutes” is, in fact, one ofthe most terrifying concepts imaginable. Consider the awful implications thatflow logically from this position.

Morals

 In the area ofmorals, if there are no absolutes, nothing is really objectively right orwrong.

What at first glanceseems liberating is actually frightening beyond description. Murder, rape, child abuse, andgenocide are not truly wrong or evil, because there are no absolutes. In fact,thesethings are on thesame plane as acts of generosity, kindness, and love because there is noethicalstandard todistinguish between good and evil. No one can say that we ought to live and actin acertain way becausethere is no basis for “oughtness”anywhere. You may say you are “free to do

what you want anyold time,” but so is the next person, and he may wantto torture and murder you. You may notlike torture or murder, but they are not objectively wrong or evil, becausethere are no absolutes.

Truth

 Or consider theconcepts of truth and knowledge. Since all truth is relative, we are told we canhave “truths” but no “Truth” with a capital “T.”Knowledge is always tentative and uncertain. But are you certainabout that? If so, you are holding an absolute your system denies. Moreimportantly, you have embraced aposition in which you can know nothing and say nothing for certain.

 Do you know that youexist? Do you know that the letter “A”is not the same as the letter “B”?Doyou know that anystatement about anything has any validity? You don’t ifthere are no absolutes. So knowledge andtruth slip through your fingers like the wind. Your thought processes andpropositionalstatements aboutanything (including truth and knowledge) are utter nonsense. The only logical consequence issilence or babble. Anything beyond these is actually pure arrogance because

you have setyourself up as an arbitrary absolute. Without realizing it, you have madeyourself theultimate referencepoint of all reality. There is no absolute truth except what you say!

Meaning

 Lastly, consider thearea of the meaning and purpose of life. To say that there are no absolutes is to say that thereis no absolute meaning or purpose to life. This leads (if oneis consistent and honest) to theconclusion that there is no meaning or purpose to life at all. You may say that you can create your ownmeaning, but if there is no ultimatemeaningto life, you are just deceiving yourself. If yourorigin is meaningless and your destiny is meaningless, your present existence is also meaningless,and any attempt to somehow manufacture meaning from meaninglessness is utterfutility.

Suppose you take theposition of trying to find meaning and purpose in the preservation andbetterment of thehuman species or of the earth. Remember there are no absolutes, so these “noble”goals have no realpurpose or meaning or value. What does it matter if you or the human race or the universe itselfcontinues for one more moment? The answer is, “Nothing!” It matters nothing because nothing mattersin a universe that has no absolute meaning or purpose. You are a point in

time playing apointless role in a meaningless existence without a plot. As Shakespeare’s Macbethputs it, life is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifyingnothing.” Without absolutes

in the area ofmeaning and purpose, life is absurd. Insanity or suicide makes as much sense asanything,because nothingmakes sense.

 So what have we cometo in this renunciation of absolutes? We have truths that are not true,purposes that haveno purpose, values that have no value, and life that has no meaning. Evenrationaldiscourse isnegated. To renounce absolutes is to renounce everything and end with nothing.Absolutely  nothing.

The Ultimate Absolute

 But, are there noabsolutes? Yes, there are, and deep down everyone knows it. Each of us knows that there isa real difference between cruelty and non-cruelty. We know that murder, rape, and child abuse arewrong. We know that we know some things for certain. For instance, we know that we exist asself-conscious individuals and that our existence must have meaning and value.

According to theBible, God has written His absolutes on the human heart. (Romans 1:18-32;2:14-16) Our problemis that in seeking autonomous moral freedom (“I’m free to do what I want.”), we have suppressedthis inescapable knowledge of right and wrong and have sought to live without reference to the OneUltimate Absolute that is the basis of all others. If you do not begin with the infinite-personalGod who has communicated to us in the Bible, it is impossible logically to have

any absolutes. Asone philosopher said, “No finite point has meaningwithout an infinite referencepoint.”

 It comes down tothis. If you don’t start with God, the ultimateabsolute, you end with nothing: Nothing in the areaof morality, nothing in the area of meaning, nothing in the area of knowledge. You may say, “I still have freedom.” Yes, but whata terrible freedom: Freedom to be nothing, to know nothing, to livefor nothing. The more consistently you try to live out this so-called “freedom,” the more bondage tosin, despair, and futility you will experience.

 There are absolutesand you can know them because God has spoken. But far more importantly, you canknow God because of what He has done in sending His Son into the world. This iswhere real freedom is found. As Jesus told those who followed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples ofMine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

 True faith in Christ is diametrically opposed to any form ofoppressive absolutism, whether it is the secular absolutism of a Hitler or a Mao, or the religiousabsolutism of the Crusades or theInquisition. Christ spoke strongly against such things asarrogance, oppressive intolerance, selfrighteousness,and judgmentalism.

关于作者: 陈鸽

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