I am of the opinion that unless we determine to teach absolute spiritual principles to our children, we will lead them to chaos and confusion and subsequently to hell instead of heaven. One of the founding fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin, was so determined to lead a Godly life that he carried a personal book that listed thirteen virtues - Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquillity, Chastity, and Humility. I sense the average young person in America, and particularly our Indian children, are struggling to find out what truth is and who they should follow. Because God created human beings and wrote eternity in their hearts, there is always an inquiry in their minds as to what is right and wrong. However, without clear guidance one is not able to find the truth because our conscience is defiled by sin.

The term "absolute" signifies a condition of perfection, completeness, non-relativity, and unconditionality. The German philosopher, Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) referred to God as "the absolute." "Absolute' is an attribute of God and as such He is independent of His created objects and persons. This is the reason that Christians believe that God is absolute, that He created us, and that He wants us to obey Him and His commandments. They also believe that God gave instructions to His creation through His Word - the Old and New Testaments. It is the responsibility of those who are His creation to carry out His desires as described in the Book (The Bible).

The opposite of Absolutes is Relativism. The doctrine of relativism undermines authority structure. It leads to confusion. For instance, in some states of America a pregnant woman can be charged with "child abuse" if she uses illegal drugs, but there is no law against aborting that same child. A school nurse cannot dispense a pain reliever for a headache without written permission from the parents, but a pregnant student does not need any permission from her parents to abort the pregnancy and kill the child in her womb. The question is who calls the shots. The answer is that in this society we are finding fewer and fewer people who will boldly tell others to follow certain absolute precepts because each one is "right in his/her own eyes." The fifth century Greek philosopher Protagoras of Abdera (480-410) introduced the concepts of subjective truth or judgment. According to Protagoras, man can derive truth for himself by subjective judgment. That means what is right for one may not be right for another and vice versa. Each one does what is right for himself. "His famous formula that man is the measure of all things, "is indicative of his relativism which ultimately rests upon his theory of perception according to which we know only what we perceive but not the thing perceived.

I remember growing up in a home of Judeo-Christian and Pentecostal values. Whatever our parents told us, we accepted without question. Those "precepts" that our parents gave us not only helped us in our moral and ethical convictions, but also helped us not to be confused between right and wrong. We were taught to observe our "no's" always as "no's" and our "yes's" as "yes's." They taught us 'absolute' truths. I knew there was a clear distinction between relativism and absolutes and my conviction was that absolutes are God-given rules and regulations that I should obey. We must encourage our parents, Sunday School teachers, youth sponsors and directors, and our pastors to teach our youngsters spiritual absolutes. We must teach them such truths; the God of the Bible is the only true God, that he has created the heaven and earth; that man has sinned and come short of the glory of God, that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world, and that He is coming to rule on the earth. We should teach our children values such as respecting parents and elders, honoring those that deserve honor, submitting to each other in the fear of the Lord and so on. We must tell our friends that promiscuity leads to broken trusts, broken marriages, unwanted pregnancies, incurable diseases and death. We must tell them that illegal use of drugs leads to the breakdown of individuals, families, societies, and even nations.

We must guard our freedom in this society through the teaching of spiritual absolutes. The following equations helps us to understand the value of absolutes and the danger of relativism: Freedom + True Christianity + Absolutes (Biblical Values) = Creativity and order; Freedom - Biblical Values + Relativism = Chaos and confusion. I believe that our young people are faced with the consequences of the second formula. Unless we direct them to the first formula, we will lose them. I pray that the Lord will help us to bring order and Christian solidification among our Indian community, especially among our new generation. There was a time when Americans were influenced by the teachings of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. But the growth of teachings of relativism is a threat to this society. When we lose the ability to understand the difference between do's and don'ts (precious precepts), we also lose the ability to develop men and women with strong convictions and moral values. One of the most powerful spiritual absolutes is found in Deu 6:1-6: "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, {2} so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. {3} "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. {4} "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! {5} "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. {6} "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart."

Samuel Mathai Ph. D.