Tag Archives: relativeness

Relative Truth

I’m sure you have all been told that it is wrong to judge another culture through the lens of your own experience. The theory goes that truth is relative to any culture’s morals and history. I understand that but I have to say I think that sometimes gives us the easy way out when we see suffering in another culture. It’s easier to say “Oh, we don’t understand the culture, I’m sure that in their country that’s acceptable”.

I have a story to tell you.

Yesterday, the doctors and nurses were so busy inside the clinic that some of us (Deb, Hallie, me, Michelle, Sarah (she was great!)) were outside doing vitals.

Hallie and I looked at this sweet Rwandan woman who brought her 4 year old son and her 4 month old daughter to the clinic. We checked the temperature of mom and son and then lifted up the baby’s shirt to check her temperature under her arm. Both of us did a double take. This little one had pea size sores all over belly, she had them on her neck and both sides of her head.

We did what anyone would do.

We found the closest doctor.

Is this small pox? A severe reaction to something? Is it contagious? Pretty soon all five of our doctors were standing and checking out our little girl with more questions than answers.

Where is Dr. Manu???

He’s the Rwandan doctor who will be the lead when we leave. He gets the keys when we lock the door. He came over, took one look and said, “oh, that is traditional medicine. Whenever she gets a fever, her mother has no way to help her so they go to see the medicine man. He will heat the tip of a knife and then burn her so that the fever will leave”.



Everything in us runs right up the brick wall that is the ultimate question.

Is there an absolute truth or not?

Dr. Manu said that the major problem is that the sores get infected and that infection will probably kill her. Dr. Manu said that he would talk with the mother and try to explain the problem.

This mother loves her baby. No question about it. She doesn’t have the tools to help her child and so she’s doing everything in her power to save the one she loves. Problem is that this solution is not good in any culture. The baby is in pain and she may die.

Pray that her mother hears Dr. Manu and continues to bring her daughter in for treatment. If she can get antibiotics and no more burns she’ll probably be fine.

So here is the question. Do you believe in relative truth or absolute?

There are a few things that I know are wrong. Child slavery is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Hatred is wrong.

There are a few things that I know are true. Forgiveness is true. Love is true.

Christ for me is true. What about you?

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