At work, the other day, I had a discussion with a coworker, which centered around a discussion of The DaVinci Code. We discuss metaphysical or spiritual aspects of life quite often, but I engaged fully, this time – because he was not quite sympathetic to the specific claims made in The DaVinci Code, but sort of asking questions about themes in it – namely, Mary Magdalene’s supposed “marriage” to Jesus, and etc. That didn’t take long, as I explained the history of those claims, and who had made them – but that got me thinking – “what does he really think about the Bible?”

So, I asked him – “What do you think – is the Bible what it claims to be?” His answer, predictably, was to ask “in what way” – because, really, I wasn’t very specific. Have I ever mentioned that I don’t do apologetics in the real world very often? It’s my own shortcoming, and a result of the insular lifestyle I tend to lead. Well, anyway, I began to explain that the Bible claims to be the actual words of God, to man. His response was that it likely wasn’t the whole truth, but maybe part of the truth.

Well, my immediate response was to ask, in effect, that if it isn’t *the* truth, then what is? Is it found in the Mormons, or in Islam? Where? His response was, (also in effect), that truth was found in an individual person. Which, (also predictably), led me to ask – so, if truth is found in each individual, doesn’t truth always change?

What followed was, to me, an odd exchange. His point seemed, to me, to be that all morals are relative, and that what is true to one person is not true to another – and that the “belief” that it is true is what directs morality. My responses followed the pattern that if this is the case, then what Hitler did, or Hussein did, can be credibly justified by their belief that it is right. That was one aspect of the conversation. The other aspect was an attempt, on both parts, to explain exactly what we meant, when we said what we did. I don’t know if I understood him rightly, but by the end, he agreed with me that there is a concept of moral truth that over-arches what we believe to be true – but I don’t know if that was what he thought to begin with, or if it changed his mind. It’s hard to tell. I conceded that some moral decisions are situation dependent (such as killing someone – murder versus self-defense, or war), but that the basic principle remains the same.

It was a good exchange, but not anywhere near the “cut-and-dried” exchanges I’ve had in the past. He agrees that there is a spiritual world, that the physical came into being as the result of a non-physical force, and that there will be an eventual heaven and hell. However, it seems to me that he doesn’t think that the Christian way is what it says it is – the only way to an actual eternal existence in Heaven. We disagreed about the existence of an original or natural sin – but following a consistent moral code is very important to him. I enjoyed the discussion – as well as prior discussions we’ve had about the insufficiency of the limited-to-the-physical atheist/materialist viewpoint; but I’m not quite sure how I’d expand on this from here. Acer is what I’ll call him, since he uses that pseudonym online – and I had a lot of fun talking with him. (He may even read this – he knows about my blog :D) I’m not sure, exactly, what he really thinks, though. I’m not precisely worried about offending him by talking about Christianity – but I don’t want to badger him, either, or try to “win an argument”. That’s not the point. I’m a bit belligerent by nature, and I don’t want to be considered a bully. I also don’t want to lose the grip on the conversation by being too timid, either. I care about him, and I want to make sure he’s on the right track – not to become improperly judgemental and accusing. Speak the truth, in love…

It was interesting, and a bit scary – but I’m not quite sure how to handle it from here. Keep in mind – this is a friend from work, who reads this blog occasionally – so if you have comments, keep this in mind. (and Acer… if I messed anything up in our conversation, or I didn’t understand anything well enough – let me know!)