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Truth

 

Our society and culture are undergoing some monumental changes in regard to our perception of truth.  If you would like to read a worthwhile commentary on these changes, check out, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek

 

Does truth exist?

Those that say, “There is no truth” are making a self-negating statement.  If there is no truth, there is no reason to believe the statement they made is true.  Around and around we go

 

What is the truth?

Secular:

That which corresponds to its object

That which describes an actual state of affairs

 

Christianity:

Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. (John 14: 1-5)  Right and wrong and its expression, the Law, are established by the nature of God.  Jesus, as opposed to the law with its forms and practices, is the reality to which these things point.  He is the Lamb of God.

His word and commandments are truth.  (John 17: 17)  Since Jesus is the truth, his commandments and judgments are necessarily true.

 

Is truth relative?

Those who say all truth is relative of course are making their own statement relative and hence unreliable.  Truth is not relative neither is it personal.  The idea, “True for me, but not for you,” may be catchy, but it is not how the world really works.  The police, bank tellers and the IRS have a different take on the matter.  “Two plus two equals four” is the same in the west or the east.  Murder is wrong in New York or Berlin.  False ideas about truth give rise to false ideas about life.

 

Is truth knowable?

We expect to know truth in all areas of our life.  We expect truth from our doctors, courts, food label and all areas of life.  Of course sometimes we don’t get the truth but that is not because it is not knowable.

 

Is religious truth knowable?

Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  God gives us sufficient evidence in His word and in creation to arrive at the truth, yet there is sufficient ambiguity to allow those who would disbelieve, to do so.  The Scriptures tell us that a time is coming when the evidence will be incontrovertible.

 

Why do some accept or reject Christianity?

We would hope that decisions about the truth of Christianity would be made on an intellectual, rational basis with an open mind and heart. carefully examining the evidence.  We have found the evidence adequate to believe in God, Jesus and His word.  This is not to say there are no perceived intellectual problems, such as the problem of evil and scientific objections.

There are some emotional problems, the exclusivist of Christianity, the doctrine of hell and the hypocrisy of Christians.  Unfortunately many decisions are on this basis.

Then there are volitional issues.  We often accept what we believe religiously just because our parents did.  We want to.  Faith based upon the faith of our parents is no faith at all.  Some one has aptly said, “God has no grandchildren, only children.”  Volition can work the other way also.  Many reject the word of God simply because they do not want to be bound by the morality therein.  Julian Huxley, one time a leading Darwinist, said,  “The reason we accept Darwinism even without proof, is because we didn’t want God to interfere with our sexual mores.”

 

What is a self-defeating statement?

It is a statement which if accepted denies itself.  “There is no truth” is such a statement.  If there is no truth, then the statement is unreliable.

 

What is tolerance?

Tolerance does not mean acceptance of every religious belief as true.  Tolerance acknowledges that every one has a right to choose and hold their belief, but also acknowledges that others have a right to respectfully disagree.  It is not intolerant or insensitive to question religious beliefs that are put forth as “truth”.  If beliefs are not presented as truth, why bother?  Questioning motives is an entirely different matter.  If we judge a person to sincerely hold an incorrect position, it is not insensitive to say they are deceived.  We should never condemn as; first, we are all “works in progress”.  It is not over until it is over. Second, we condemn ourselves, as we are sinners.  Third, condemnation is in the providence of God alone.

 

What is pluralism?

Pluralism is the unsubstantiated idea that all religious views are equally valid and should not be questioned.  The real idea, I believe, is that all religious ideas are invalid therefore none is more desirable than any other.

 

What is the parable of the elephant in reference to truth?

The primary idea is to show that truth in religion cannot be known.  The world’s religions are likened to six blind men who examine an elephant.

Thus we are told that truth is relative to the beholder, truth is subjective not objective.  This all seems well and good until we consider the one observing the six blind men.  His perspective appears to be objective.  He can see that the blind men were mistaken.  Why can’t the blind men have an objective perspective also?  They could, if they could see.  Many who deny truth in religion, are willfully blind, less they see and are convicted. 

 

Is there an eastern and western logic?

Reality is reality, whether in the east or the wear.

 

What is the basis of Hume’s skepticism?

Empiricist hold that all meaningful ideas are true by definition or based on sense impressions.  Since (according to Hume) there are no sense experiences for the metaphysical (beyond the physical), the metaphysical should not be believed because they are meaningless.  Hume’s ideas can be summarized by the so-called “principle of empirical verifiability.”  A principle can be meaningful only if true by definition or if it is empirically verifiable.  Since the “principle of empirical verifiability” is not true by definition and it is not empirically verifiable it cannot be meaningful.

 

What is Kant’s philosophy concerning truth?

The structure of your mind and senses forms all sense data.  Therefore you can never actually know the thing itself. According to Norman Geisler Kant falls into the same error,  “He contradicts his own premise by saying no one can know the real world while at the same time, he claims to know something about it, namely that the real world is unknowable.”  Dr. Geisler also explains in his book, the second logic error Kant makes.  Check it out.  As C. S. Lewis said, we need good philosophers to respond to all the bad philosophy we hear and read.

 

Are miracles possible?

Geisler and Turek break down Hume’s argument to syllogistic form:

Unfortunately for Hume and his followers the third statement is not necessarily true.  There are a number of one-time occurrences, which we accept as true.

If Hume believed his own argument, he would disbelieve his own birth because it only happened once.  Hume:

 

C. S. Lewis points out, if there was “uniform experience” against miracles then they would be impossible.  But we can only know they are impossible if we know all reports about them are false.  And we can only know that all reports are false only if we know that miracles have never happened.  This is circular reasoning.

 

God Bless.

Arland  Pafford  

 

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Last Update   09/26/12