Relativism and Rap: Finding Truth in Christian Music
It is a common complaint among Christians that most modern “Christian” music has little spiritual meaning. Many sound like pop songs that talk about Jesus like a hot girlfriend and are both silly and heretical. That does not mean that we should abandon Christian music entirely. It is a powerful vehicle for conveying the truth about God and should be used well. This requires Christians to be discerning about what artists and albums we support. We should expect our artists to produce music that is both theologically correct and theologically serious. If the message of the song can be contained entirely in the phrase “I love Jesus” it is probably not worth the effort it took to record. A well produced Christian song should educate its listens about God.
One of the best examples of this is the song Truth by Lecrae. Although rap is not a genre usually associated with deep theology, Lecrae shows that it can be an extremely effective means of presenting a moral argument. In this song he confronts both moral relativism and the theological problem of evil. He begins by addressing those who claim that there is no such thing as objective truth. Lecrae exposing the logical incoherence of this position saying that if you claim all truth is relative “that means you believe your own statement; that there’s no way to know what’s really true. You’re saying that that statement is true.” Lecrae argues that it is impossible to maintain that there is no truth since the attempt to make the argument is in itself an attempt to establish truth.
After dismissing the claims of relativism, Lecrae spends a verse discussing the consequences of this philosophy. If there is no such thing as moral truth, there is no real purpose to life. The only possible purpose would be to pursue our own happiness:
Y’probably believe that you exist for no other reason
Than Self-satisfaction, hedonism and pleasing things
Life’s about you getting’ yours and bein’ happy
This type is life is ultimately empty and unfulfilling. Lecrae helps his listeners to think about this emptiness in order to encourage them to seek a life connected to the moral truth that he earlier proved must exist.
Finally, Lecrae addresses one of the common objections to the existence of a good God: the problem of evil. Many people struggle to understand how a good God could allow evil to exist in our world. However, Lecrae argues that this evil is a necessary result of evil men and women being given free will. “If we want Him to stop evil, we gotta be consistent, we can’t just pick and choose. That means you and I would be eliminated right? Because we think evil stuff.” He reminds his listeners that evil in the world is humanity’s own doing and that, in spite of humanity’s failings, we have been redeemed by Christ.
This song is an excellent example of what Christian music can be. It addresses serious philosophical issues in a manner that could convince someone who is not already a Christian and it remembers the ultimate redemptive power of Christ.