Partial Truths: Vote for your favorite (Chapter 8)

In “Jesus Among Secular Gods: Ch. 8, Pt. 1: Love the Truth,” Shawn and Ivy read Vince Vitale’s list of worldviews and the partial truths they contain. Then Ivy asked the following questions:

  • Which one or two “isms” most interested or challenged you? Why?
  • Which partial truth most appeals to you and why?

Ivy mentioned that answering these questions can help us see what we find beautiful in the gospel, and it can help us see where we’re weak. How does your answer help you see the glory of the gospel?

Scientism: The partial truth is that science explains a lot. But we forget that it cannot explain itself, and it cannot explain many of the most important things in life.

Relativism: The partial truth is that refusing to see things from another’s perspective is dangerous and lacks love. But we forget that this relies on there being an objective perspective according to which those different from us are valuable and worthy of respect.

Pantheism: The partial truth is that the divine is everywhere and that union with the divine is our destiny. But that union is not the union of sameness but the union of relationship.

Pluralism: The partial truth is that no worldview has a monopoly on truth. But we mistake this for all worldviews being equally true.

Humanism: Human persons were indeed made for greatness. But greatness results from divine grace and strength, not human self-reliance.

Hedonism: Pleasure is good. But it is not all that is good.


Thanks for challenging me to think about this.
I’m not familiar with the source material your referring to but I do enjoy Vince’s work.

I would pick two. Scientism and Relativism. I used to try and hide in these two a lot.

Scientism gave me a lot of “answers” and helped me explain why I behave the way I do. But… the answers (Big Bang) really take as much faith as anything else. So much for that. The explanations for my behavior like psychology only went so far and left me wanting. Example, if people with a chemical imbalance just need medication then why are they still sick and then need more meds in a vast majority of cases? Answer? People are more than the sum of their parts “can’t live by bread alone”.

Relativism reminds me of Taoism and Buddhism. Both, in my limited study, tend to say things are not necessarily good or bad. They tend to say we should accept everything, call things never good or bad but just things. But if that’s the case then anything goes. I don’t like the idea that anything goes. In our limited broken form we can fall prey to confusion all to quickly with out objective right and wrong given by an all knowing God.


Levi, thanks for sharing your insight on these! If you’re interested in the source material, the list of partial truths comes from pages 207-208 of Jesus Among Secular Gods by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale.

I appreciate your comment about the confusion that results when we reject the objective standard of right and wrong that comes from God. This reminds me of something Ravi said earlier in the book.

The discussion in the public square is now reduced to right or left, forgetting there is an up and a down (p.14).

I’m still thinking about what partial truth appeals to me the most. I can easily say which lie fools me most often–humanism’s premise that we can accomplish the good we desire in our own strength.

I found Ivy’s follow-up question of “Why?” quite challenging. Why do I rely on my own strength? Because I don’t trust God. But then that pesky “Why?” came back at me. Why don’t I trust God? There have been times when I didn’t feel like God came through for me, but I know His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). I haven’t gone through the agony that many other people have suffered. Why don’t I trust God?

I finally had to answer my question with a simple statement: “I have no good reason.” Just verbalizing that is helping me hand my worries back to God one more time and trust Him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)