I believe that it is. But what does this mean?
To begin, I do not mean that only in Christianity is there truth. Nor do I mean that one can only understand truth if one is a Christian. Rather, I mean that only in Christianity do I find love that is fully true and fully “for me” and truth that knows me, affirms me, critiques me, and yet offers me back to myself as more the self I long to be than any other.
My imagination, reason, emotions—all of my faculties and what it is for me to be human and “me”—and my experiences with and of God point to love and truth as being at the core of human existence. In other words, they are the most essential elements for and within the existence of human beings.
Now this is a big claim, I know. And beyond questions about a) the exact nature of love and truth, and b) my response to those who don’t value truth and love as I do, there is another issue: isn’t personal experience rather too limited a basis for one’s beliefs?
For I have not arrived at this conclusion based on an existential comparison of various religions—I have not been a Jew, a Hindu, a Muslim, etc. and then compared such with my experience as a Christian.
No, my claim is not that my experience is more real / meaningful than that of others, but that a) love and truth are more essential to right human existence than all else, and b) that love and truth have their origin in the Christian God love and that in relationship with this God we experience the fulfillment of love and truth in our lives.
So my personal experience must be commensurate with who God claims to be. Only then will there be reciprocity between my truth, as truth-for-me, and God’s ultimate truth, or Truth.
In other words, examining a religion’s truth claims is crucial, because we can only expect from a religion what it claims to offer. And for me the biblical truth claims are radically different from what I perceive elsewhere:
- God created us to be in loving, truthful relationship with us and so that we might be likewise related with God, the earth, our fellows, and ourselves;
- We do things that sunder those relationship, which we call ‘sin’;
- God chose a people (Israel) and made an arrangement with them (a covenant) for the purpose of dealing with sin and its result, which is separation from God and ultimately death (more on this later). By Israel keeping the covenant the whole world was to come into right relationship with God;
- However, Israel instead viewed the covenant as a matter of national pride (rather than national responsibility) and distorted its laws, which broke the covenant;
- Jesus came to fulfill the covenant by living as Israel was to have lived and by accepting the consequences of Israel having broken the covenant (i.e., death) upon his person, so that Israel was not destroyed;
- Fulfilling the covenant did not simply result in continuing the old testamental norms but inaugurated the far grander reality of the Kingdom of God, whereby all of existence is able to be reconciled to God through Jesus;
- This “new way” meant that the whole world could now be in right relationship with God, and that God was not simply our sovereign (as with Israel) but our father (as Jesus taught a revolutionary new way to pray: “Our Father who is in heaven . . .”);
- So Christians are essentially characterized in two ways, as reflects who God is: as servants who offer obedient service to God the sovereign (i.e., being beholden to God’s t/Truth) and as children who love God, even as God who is our true Father loves us (i.e., being in love with God, who loves us and is love).
The point is this: love and truth are integral to God’s nature (and to the relationship that God desires with us), yet they are likewise quintessentially human (as essential to becoming fully the creatures that we are meant to be, through being in right relationship with God).