Gravity and Absolute Truth

image-Jennifer L. Ferryman

Jennifer L. Ferryman

Millions of Americans were glued to the television last year when a “father” slash inventor slash sycophantic hoaxter created a large balloon and tipped off the media that his son was caught within. For over an hour, cameras, law enforcement, and fire crews chased the balloon only to, thankfully, find that the child was safe at home. After a bit of questioning, the father admitted that he knew that the child was at home the entire time. Authorities were not amused.

For centuries man has had many quests, but none so fervent and comical, perhaps, as the pursuit to defy gravity and fly. I love watching old films that portray the many contraptions that inventors concocted, trying to get off the ground and soar. Even today, with the developed machine known as the airplane, people are still trying to fly better, higher and less inhibited. No doubt most have heard of the infamous jet-pack, with a backpack, of sorts, a few hoses, and some propulsion, a person can lift off of the ground for several minutes, enjoying the uninhibited views and restraints that the air can offer.

Today with paragliding, hang-gliding, bungee jumping, airplanes, helicopters, space shuttles (oh..wait), and hot-air balloons, we can for a few moments live in a state of anti-gravity. But, regardless, eventually, the air current or fuel runs out and we come back to ground in submission to immutable law. Without this constancy, we would careen out of orbit. Simple elements and tasks are suddenly complex and require extra care that is unnecessary without the gravitational pull. Liquid would be uncontained and non-cohesive. Yet, the thought of defying gravity mesmerizes mankind! Watching astronauts float around without the restriction looks like SO much fun. Undoubtedly, it IS. At first. But, it is gravity that keeps man from drifting aimlessly away. The knowledge that our atmosphere provides oxygen that is required to keep our bodies alive, can bring a sense of relief and respect to the system in place.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When people hear the term “absolute truth,” often, there is nay saying and a lack of support. Absolute truth means that we are tethered to ideas that we may not want to accept, that there is something bigger than ourselves. We cannot control what concepts are “kosher” and what are not.

Absolute truth means that I am not the god of my own universe.

No wonder people have such a hard time accepting this reality! Accepting that we are not really“masters of our domain” is difficult even for people who claim to believe in absolute truth!

Just like man’s quest to fly, we want to somehow defy absolute standards. “Hey, it might not be good for you, but it’s what I believe.” People take bits and pieces of what they deem truth and reality and VOILA! Homemade, alternate realities a la carte! Sure, people can, will, and do, try to beat absolute truth, however, eventually the fuel runs out. If there are no absolute truths, if there is nothing bigger to keep the system in check, then what is real? How does one determine what is right and true and good? If I think one ideal is right and my neighbor thinks it isn’t and worlds collide, what thenSomebody has to win! Man can shake his fist at absolute truth, deny it’s existance, and even concoct his own flying machine, but there are still limits beyond his control. Chaos will abound and his fuel will run out. If there are road signs cautioning us to steer clear or state, “Do not pass!” We can still choose to go around or run right through those signs. But, eventually we will come to the end of the road…

Just like gravity, absolute truths provide the stability of the system that we live in. They keep us grounded and minimize the chaos. We are not drifting away into the great unknown. We know what the limits are and don’t choose to test the boundaries, for fear of an aimless, dark existence. Staying in the atmosphere allows us the life-giving oxygen for the soul. And while it may seem appealing to test the truth, when we remain grounded and recognize the reasons for absolute truth, we appreciate the boundaries that have been set. Many people see absolute truth as a stifling of humanity, I see them as liberation from the unknown chaos. I don’t have to wonder who to trust, what to think, and rely on my own abilities.

I know if I jump off that cliff, the boundary that separates law from air, I’m going to die.

I choose to live and respect absolute truth.

Jennifer L. Ferryman is a full-time observer of all matters political, inspirational, and international.  She is committed to truth, passionate about life, and devoted to family.  A fiery conservative, she aims to expose anything ridiculous with candor and wit, all while maintaining the authority of Christ.  For further commentary and satire, please visit her blog at www.orderinthequart.wordpress.com

34 Responses to “Gravity and Absolute Truth”

  1. If a person’s desires and worldview are in conflict with absolute truth, guess which one needs to change?

    The world needs people who will change themselves to fit absolute truth, and not those who try to change absolute truth to fit themselves.

  2. Not sure of which and whose or what ‘absolute truths’ the author speaks.

    Also the analogy to gravity is not relevant, because gravity can be quantified, measured and proven, which isn’t true of absolute truths.

  3. Why is it true that absolute truths can’t be quantified and measured? Are you absolutely sure?

  4. “Not sure of which and whose or what ‘absolute truths’ the author speaks.”

    Therefore, you are part of the problem!

  5. Gravity and absolute truths are more alike than you realize.

    Gravity is very difficult to quantify and measure directly. Can you show me gravity? Can you point out a unit of gravity to me? Can you point to “a lot of gravity” versus “a small portion of gravity?”

    As with moral absolutes, we tend to see the effects of gravity more than the item itself. As we see the effect of gravity make an object fall and hit the ground, we see the effect of moral absolutes bring down the person who takes an innocent life, steal property that belongs to someone else, etc.

    Of course, there are factors which can block, mitigate and interfere with the natural consequences of both gravity and moral absolutes being carried out (a net to catch something dropped can prevent gravity from taking it all the way to the ground, or a gust of wind can prevent gravity from bringing a feather to the ground, or a jet engine can prevent gravity from bringing an airliner down for a long time–just as a lack of witnesses, a corrupt legal system, or a criminal who evades capture can prevent the effects of moral absolutes from being carried out).

    Another similarity between gravity and moral absolutes: you may be able to elude their effects for a long, long time, but in the end, they WILL win.

  6. Brian, I am referring to the absolute truths as set forth in the Bible. I know this will be difficult for you, being that you do not accept the Bible. That is the problem, people don’t accept absolute truth, because they have no reference for it. So all truth, any truth is relative. Why isn’t it ok to murder or steal, then? If there are no standards, then there are no standards! Anything goes…I reject this philosophy.

  7. The ancients Greeks believed that Mt. Etna in Sicily was the home of the god Vulcan who belched smoke and fire if unhappy with the mortals. They believed this as an absolutue truth, as much as religions today believe they now know the absolute truth .

    How can the absolute truths the Greeks believed in or the absolute truths that Christians now beliveve in be measured or quantified by man ?

  8. Can I point out a unit of gravity to you. Well it is slightly complicated , but the standard unit of gravity is measured in newtons and g’s, which comes from complexed physics that exactly measures gravitational pull.

    ‘Lots of gravity versus a little gravity and can I point to them ?’ Yes. It is easy to calculate today . The gravitational pull of say….Jupiter( lots of gravity) can be calculated and compared to the lesser gravity on the moon( little gravity ). How do you think we can get to the moon if we can’t measure with units the varying, both great and small, gravitational effects the space vessel goes through ?

  9. Well I guess the Jewish people are also part of the problem, because they don’t believe in the absolute truths that you believe in . For instance, many believe it is an absolute truth that Jesus was God and the Jews don’t believe that is an absolute truth. At least I am in good company .

  10. I do know and understand the biblical reference for absolute truth, but as you know, I happen to reject the reference . I happen to be a non-believer , but feel like you, that things like murder and incest are wrong.

    When man began standing upright and lived in small, nomadic groups, survival was tough and survival of a group is all what the survival instinct is all about. If this small group began murdering and incesting each other, then their survival would be greatly effected and diminished.So the ones who had these qualities of murder and incest were driven out or died out and perished and the others survived and learned and taught that murder was wrong for survival sake.Common sense stuff. Man then developed his own codes, which with time, different beliefs and religions popped up and guess what- most all believed murder to be wrong.

    That is why in almost all cultures and religions that man feels murder and incest are wrong. It is about breeding and instinct. Same reason man doesn’t try and raise an aggressive and murderous group of Longhorns ! They won’t survive !

  11. You can believe in things you think are absolute truths, but like everything, if they are proven false or are inconsistent with other demonstrable facts, they aren’t truths (absolute or otherwise) are they?

    Are the truth claims of the ancient Greeks consistent with with what we see of the world? Is there any evidence that the truth claims of the ancient Greeks are accurate and true?

    Meanwhile, the truth claims of Christianity are completely consistent with the world around us. Many of those truth claims (historical and scientific) have been verified by modern science, and none have been disproved. In fact, the truth claims (moral, historical, scientific) of Christianity provide a better, more consistent explanation for the world around us than does the modern religion of evolution.

  12. Well, what if I don’t like these survival beliefs and think that because my neighbor is old and consuming too many resources anyway, I might as well eliminate him for the greater good of the tribe? And really, most groups DIDN”T think incest was wrong until the last hundred years or so. Look at the British monarchy. Look at the Amish. Those are NOT universal standards based upon the “survival” of humanity system.

  13. As far as the quantifiable nature of gravity, it really wouldn’t matter if you could measure it or not. It still exists. If the scientific community finds that they have a better way to measure gravity it doesn’t change the fact that it is. The affects are still the same no matter how you measure it.

  14. I am asking you if you can show me gravity. It seems you cannot show it to me, that you can only define it using measurement concepts which examine the effects of gravity, not gravity itself.

    Moral absolutes are difficult if not impossible to point to, as is gravity. Nevertheless, we can look at them and measure them by their effects.

  15. They don’t believe in all the absolute truths Christians do, but we share most of them.

    It was in the Jewish faith and Scriptures that we learned of the Creator, and from there that we learned of his holy and perfect nature, as well as the standard of all right wrong which is based on his nature and character.

    Most Jews today fail to also recognize that Yeshua of Nazareth was the messiah promised in the Torah, and that the sacrifice he made of his own human life takes the place of the animal sacrifices for sin laid out in the Torah. In fact, many Jews DO recognize these truths.

    Regardless, the absolute truths we know as the Natural Law were essentially all revealed in the Torah.

  16. As an atheist, your assertion that murder and incest are wrong is an illogical one, and it is not based on absolute truth.

    Your assertion that murder is wrong is, at best, based on convenience and practical considerations. There is simply no basis whatsoever in the atheistic, random universe to assert that murder is wrong. Why should it be “wrong” to end the life of a being that is nothing but an accident in the first place? A being that has no eternal soul, whose life was ended by a being with no eternal soul–neither of which face any eternal accountability or existence, but will only make worm food upon their death? And if the murdered being possessed resources the murderer would find beneficial, the assertion that the murder could somehow be “wrong” is even more absurd! The murder was a good thing, because now the murderer has more resources with which to protect and ensure its own continued existence.

    In reality, the modern atheist assertion that murder is wrong is conveniently borrowed from the Christian worldview for convenience and practicality’s sake. The same is true of the atheist’s belief in science, the laws of science, logic and reason. Because in a random universe which came about accidentally without cause or purpose, there is reason whatsoever to expect an orderly universe (where the laws of science can be expected to be the same from one moment to the next, or from one place to the next). The odds of an ordered, logical universe coming into being from a purposeless, accidental universe are incalculably low. Therefore, to even have a basis upon which to argue for your atheistic universe, you have to borrow from a worldview where order and logic are an expected and required component of the universe, based on the fact that God is himself a God of order, logic and consistency.

    Developing touchy-feely codes and blah blah blah sounds nice, but it is illogical in the atheistic worldview. But here’s another question: why does it “sound nice” at all? In a random, accidental world with no moral absolutes and no eternal accountability, why should something like a made-up code of morality (that may often run counter to the survival instincts of a particular organism) even “sound nice” in the first place? Why should a random, accidental beast that happens to be intelligent even care if something “sounds nice” at all?

    Here is the answer: because that Natural Law, that moral absolute which is stamped on to the twisted heart of every human being created in the image of God realizes somewhere deep down that there IS an absolute moral code, and that we are accountable to it.

  17. Well, let’s not get into all these discussions again, but I was merely initially responding that at least man can measure gravity down to the exact specifics and write them down for all to see and know and learn about, which isn’t true of absolute truths which seem to be a more vague concept to man than gravity, since we can’t even measure these truths or even write them all down like we can with gravity. That is why I said I believed the analogy between gravity and absolute truths to be a faulty one. I don’t find the argument that since both gravity and absolute truths are invisible to man, that they are somehow comparable. The author makes a good point, but just uses a bad analogy

  18. ” Well, what if I don’t like these survival beliefs and think that because my neighbor is old and consuming too many resources anyway, that I might as well eliminate him for the greater good of the tribe ”

    Good question . The truth is that through the ages, in most cultures and religions and non-religions, man discovered that the aged HAVE GREAT VALUE to the the tribe that helps them survive. You know, things like wisdom and experience etc etc . Again, your initial assumption is that man would see the aged as non-beneficial to the tribe, which if you look at cultures in the past and present , is not the case.

  19. Some people might believe the aged have value, perhaps even value greater than the resources they consume (and I would argue that this recognition stems from the Natural Law).

    Others, however, might see things differently and consider it beneficial to throw them off a cliff once they reach a certain age or level of infirmity, so that they do not consume valuable resources they cannot replace with their effort.

    Would you consider this second group’s practice of throwing the elderly off a cliff “immoral?” If so, on what basis would you determine their practice to be “wrong,” especially when that practice enhances the survivability of the remaining human animals or group of human animals?

  20. ” Others, however, might see thing differently and consider it beneficial to throw them off a cliff once they reach a certain age or level of infirmity……”

    OTHERS MIGHT ? Pure strawman, because these ‘ others’ of which you speak DON’T and never have throw the elderly off a cliff. It is wired into the DNA of man not to do so. Look at the non-Christian cultures like the Chinese, or Indian or Pygmy or Aborginal cultures etc etc and throughout time and history , these ‘ others’ of which you speak do no such a thing. You might as well have said that Jews MIGHT eat their children.

    There is no more evidence that man MIGHT throw the elderly off the cliff than there is evidence that Christians would eat their pinky finger for breakfast. This of course begs the question of if we look at cultures past and present, the truth is they don’t and haven’t throw elderly off the cliff, so why do you think they haven’t then?

  21. Bob, we can’t see gravity only because we don’t have the scientific means yet to do so. It is like the color spectrum ,where our vision can see only a minmal range of all the colors. Science now has devices that can see and record the entire color spectrum, thus with aid, we can see all the color spectrum. Gravity is no different. We can’t see photons either, but in time we will. You can never say that about absolute truths which will which never be seen or measured. Heck, ask two religious people to list these so called absolute truths and the list would not be the same. The truth is ‘absolute truth’ is a vague concept because we don’t even know what they all are..

  22. No it isn’t a strawman because in the atheist universe, there is no reason not to throw the elderly off the cliff.

    You claim it is wired into the DNA of man not to do so. WHY? Do you even realize that the statement you made indicates action and design–something that can’t happen in the atheist universe?

    You see, once again the atheist has to borrow from the Christian worldview in a vain attempt to make sense of his own universe. In your universe, there is no reason whatsoever that the elderly should not be tossed off a cliff when they can’t carry their own weight anymore.

    The fact that all the cultures you mentioned DO place a an irrational (in the atheist worldview) value on the elderly is evidence that the Christian worldview (which says the Natural Law of God is stamped on the heart of all human beings) is the operational value of the world.

  23. The same could be said of moral absolutes, or the Natural Law: we only lack the scientific means to see and measure them. Yet there is considerable evidence of their existence, as I pointed out re: throwing the elderly off a cliff and the universal recognition that this is wrong. There can be no absolute truth in an atheistic universe, yet even atheists argue for absolute truth when its absence might mean life or death for them.

  24. Actually, being that I am the author and you have stated that gravity AND absolute truths are both concepts that are not able to be seen with the naked eye, I would assert that my analogy, even by your assertions is perfectly legitimate and appropriate.

  25. You don’t give up easy. That’s good. The other way to look at it is never make an argument based on what the human naked eye can see, because it is so pathetic in actually seeing what is really true and real, why would one want to rely on it when making analogies. !!

  26. If there is no reason at all for the atheists not to throw the elderly off the cliff, then why aren’t and haven’t the hundreds of millions of them in places like Russia, China and Japan, where Christianity doesn’t influence their societies, busy doing it ? It should be as rampant as the mere flipping of a coin if what you say is true and yet it is not

  27. Remember when I said that the fact that this seldom if ever happens is evidence of the Natural Law rather than of an atheistic universe?

  28. ” The same could be said of moral absolutes or the Natural Law: we only lack the scientific means to see and measure them”

    Bob, how can you see or measure the concept of ‘ Thou shalt honor thy mother and father ‘ or measure and see the idea of ‘ freedom’ . You are incorrect in stating science just lacks the ability to measure moral absolutes like freedom etc. It can’t ever be measured by science and you know that. You can’t see or measure concepts like an omnipotent God, evil etc

  29. Bob, the Chinese have had a civilization for thousands and thousands of years which operates having never heard of or not believing and outside of the Christian concept of Natural Law which you believe comes from God. Are you saying that God’s natural law somehow still drives them not to throw the aged off a cliff. So you are saying that God has instilled this Christian natural law into the Chinese without them even knowing the concept ?

  30. If you honor your father and mother, you will typically enjoy a longer and more fruitful life than if you dishonored them. Those who refuse to honor their parents usually ignore what they have been taught by them, resulting in: problems getting and keeping a good job, brushes with the law or outright incarceration, dangerous behavior that can shorten or end their life, and so on.

    In other words, we can’t measure the Natural Law directly itself (just as we can’t really measure gravity directly), but we can measure its results and measure the effect it has on other things.

    Jesus used similar language when he was trying to describe the concept of being “born again” with a new and regenerated spirit to Nicodemus: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” In other words, you can’t see this process of spiritually being born again, but you can see its effects (this the other Biblical teaching that “You will know them by their fruits.”)

    Just because some things are beyond our direct perception or ability to measure directly does not mean they don’t exist.

  31. The Natural Law (sometimes referred to as the Tao, or the Way) is the universal code of right and wrong that is imprinted on the soul of every human being regardless of the point in history they were born, the location on the globe, or the dominant belief system of the people into which they were born. Its universality is why I say that the fact that few if any people groups throw their elderly off a cliff (as would be sensible in an atheistic universe)–this is “initial programming” we are all born with.

    Think of it like a basic computer from Dell where, for the most part, every computer comes with the same basic operating system (Windows). Ever PC/person comes with the operating system that says murder is wrong, theft is wrong, etc. Now just like a PC user can add new software and plugins and tweaks to a computer that can force the operating system to do things the manufacturer never intended, so we humans can add programming (especially as children) that can distort or even mostly obliterate the design and function of the original programming (false religions, false belief systems, etc). But that original programming will usually still be there, just buried under all the new programming and tweaks (just like the conscience we’ve tried to bury and ignore, but just won’t quite go away).

    So in your example of the Chinese who for most of history lived disconnected from Judeo-Christian articulation of the Natural Law, yes, the Natural Law was imprinted on them at birth. However, differing values adopted by their people group over the centuries have been loaded onto the operating system of their lives, so that while the basic programming remains (including the recognition that murder is wrong), even though there may be parts of that original programming that are now distorted due to additional programming being loaded by the culture. For instance, while most people (regardless of Judeo-Christian influence or not) realize it’s not okay to beat the crap out of your wife for petty offenses, the programming of Islam teaches that it IS okay, so some Muslim men do so. They’ve run an unauthorized program, one contrary to the one they were built with.

  32. Bob, I think there is a misunderstanding. I did not mean to say that because we can’t directly measure moral absolutes that they don’t exist. If I implied that, I didn’t mean to. I can’t measure my love for my wife, but it sure exists. I, nor anyone else, just will never to be able to directly measure such a thing.

    And you commented that we can’t really directly measure gravity. Not true. It can be directly and precisely measured to the tee or else we would have no space program.

  33. I could have read into what you were saying and extrapolated something that wasn’t there; if so, I apologize. Normally a materialist philosophy goes hand in hand with an atheistic philosophy, and materialists discount what cannot be physically measured.

    I’m pretty sure we can still only measure the effects of gravity rather than the phenomenon itself, but you and I might be arguing over technicalities and semantics. I think we’ve gotten our points across to one another.

  34. I finally understand from whence you come. Your Tao and PC analogies gave me a more objective view of your stance. Natural Law is innate or imprinted at birth. It seems then that the only difference between our beliefs is that you believe this Natural Law comes from God and I believe Natural Law comes from millions and millions of years of evolution that has genetically forged and imprinted our human tendencies to what they are now. We both believe man is born with good tendencies or what some call morals. Either way, to me, all people and societies have more in common with each other than differences.