Have you ever tried to debate moral principles with someone who doesn't believe they exist? If you have, you know it's an exercise in frustration. In our anything-goes society, even mentioning that there might be such a thing as a moral absolute truth is a good way to get branded intolerant, anachronistic, and a killjoy. And the more frustrated we get with this state of affairs, the more likely we are to turn the stereotype into a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, our frustration can easily turn into anger, and our anger can begin to look very much like the arrogance that we're already accused of harboring.
The goal that Christians need to strive for, argues scholar Art Lindsley of the C. S. Lewis Institute, is "absolutes without absolutism." In his excellent new book, "True Truth: Defending Absolute Truth in a Relativistic World," Lindsley writes, "Just as a need to relate truth to all areas of life does not make us relativists, so believing that there are some moral absolutes does not make us absolutists. … Absolutism might be defined as being synonymous with a cluster of characteristics: arrogance, close-mindedness, intolerance, self-righteousness, bigotry, and the like." These are characteristics that many people already associate with Christianity, unfairly. And so these are the very characteristics that Christians need to work especially hard to avoid. After all, as Lindsley reminds us, the most fundamental doctrines of our faith – our fallen state and our desperate need for a Savior – are doctrines that make for humility, not pride.