Your religious studies professor claims that he does not intend to undermine Christianity or any other religion. He simply wants to find out the actual, historical truth. Did Paul really write that letter? Did the apostles actually write those gospels? How many people actually authored Isaiah?
It sounds good, right? If the Bible were truly authentic, would it not stand up to the scrutiny of thousands of “objective,” honest, genuine, non-Christian academics? Of course not! Why? Well, we must first ask what the word “objective” implies.
Objectivity is the antithesis of subjectivity. A subjective belief is based upon personal, anecdotal experience. It is a belief which reflects and is interpreted through his or her worldview. So, what is objective? Well, scientists would want to say that objective truth is based upon empirical data. However, all empirical data must be gathered, studied, and understood by a subjective human being. Have you ever wondered how people could believe the Earth was the center of the universe? The answer is simple: subjective interpretation of the world.
Your religious studies professor might say that objectivity means historicity. If it happened, then it must be objectively true. However, when your profs read the prophets and find that they predicted the future and described miraculous events, your profs do not even consider that such miracles and prophecies might be historical. Instead, they interpret the Bible through their naturalistic worldview: “There is no such thing as prophecy, so all prophecies must in fact be historical reinterpretations of past events.” They might also say, “There is no such thing as a miracle, so any books including miracles must be mythical.”
Do you see the problem? They interpret the Bible through a subjective lens. But they might respond, “What have I to gain by denying the Bible’s miracles? Your whole religion hinges upon the book’s historicity, of course you must defend it and deny my well founded viewpoint.” They, however, face the same dilemma. If the Bible is in fact true, then their careers are ruined, their lives debunked. They would need to rescind all their academic work, and radically reform their lifestyle around the Bible’s moral and theological convictions.
The postmodernists read this and agree. Objective truth does not exist! While they rightly see the subjective nature of humankind’s “objective” endeavors, they swing too far in the opposite direction.
Christ said, “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Objective truth exists in the unchangeable person of Jesus Christ. As humans made in God’s image, we can also know and understand truth.
The problem is sin. When we sin, we attempt to remove ourselves from the objective authority of Christ by claiming our own subjective wisdom as truth. On the cross, Christ turns man’s upside down idea of “objectivity” right side up. By his blood we learn that he in fact is the truth.
Therefore, scientists are not wrong to seek objective truth, and claim that they understand it. However, they are wrong to claim that the objectivity of their truth claims lie in the empirical data they collected–it lies in Christ’s unchanging character.
Religious studies professors do not wrongly seek after truth, but they subject history to their own irrational assumptions about reality, and thereby distort the truth.
Apart from Christ, no one is objective. By his grace–to all humankind–he heals our understanding of humanity and himself.