Faith. Everybody has it, whether they realize it or not. You have to have faith to function in this world–faith that the chair will sustain you, faith that the sun will rise, and on and on. But what about possessing a confident, contagious faith that not only buoys you in life, but encourages others? What about being so certain about your life on earth and your eternal future that you were able to rise above any adverse circumstance you experience? It is possible. Not so sure? Read more and start on this journey of possessing a confident, contagious faith.
No one wants a faith that is based on deception. So, the first question to ask is: ‘Is truth absolute?”
Once I started on this journey to learn all I could about truth, there was no stopping me. I listened to religious teaching and talk radio all day long every day. I went to seminars. I enrolled at Biola University’s certification course in apologetics. Apologetics is an academic word that simply means “defending the faith.” If you want a more in-depth definition, it is a systematic argument or discourse in the defense of faith—any faith or doctrine. In the search for truth, we are subject to specific laws. In the same way that we are subject to various laws of physics, we are subject to other natural laws. These are known as the Laws of Rational Thought:
The Law of Non-Contradiction (A is not non-A): Opposite truth claims cannot both be true. For example, if an atheist believes God does not exist and a theist believes God does exist, it is impossible for both to be right.
The Law of Excluded Middle (either A or non-A): This asserts that it is either A or non-A, but not both. God cannot exist and not exist. In other words, there is no middle ground; opposites cannot be the same.
The Law of Identity (A is A): This law simply states that something is what we say it is: A is A. When someone says, “I loved the book,” it is understood to mean a “book” (and not a duck or an automobile). Without the law of identity, there would be chaos and language would be incoherent.4
There is an absolute standard regarding any truth, though not everyone is willing to accept it. To confirm that a matter is truth, three essential characteristics must be in place at the same time:
- The truth is based in reality.
- Only one thing can be true and all opposing matters are false.
- The truth is universal.
As a mother of two, I had more than one occasion where my children sought to create a truth they preferred, generally in attempt to avoid a consequence they knew was “bad.” You can imagine the scenario that would cause me to say, “Sorry sweetie, but the chocolate crumbs on your hands and face provide evidence that you did eat the last of the cookies.”
What is the application of discovering truth?
- All the cookies are gone—the truth is based in reality.
- The cookies can’t both be in the jar and gone at the same time—one matter is true, all opposing matters are false.
- Based on the evidence of a precious child’s face covered with cookie crumbs, any mother in the world would come to the same conclusion—the truth is universal.
In this postmodern American culture, discovering the truth may be more difficult than ever, but it is still not impossible, nor does it require genius. We must rationally examine all truth claims. Every religion and philosophy has the responsibility of giving evidence for its truth claims, and such evidence should be available for believers and unbelievers—the burden of proof is on the claimant.5
People who choose to maintain beliefs based on their personal preferences, as opposed to objective, verifiable evidence, have a general sense they are operating with ideals contrary to most others. The only way they can alleviate this is to seek to change the beliefs of others. As in the example of my children and the missing cookies, they work very hard to substantiate their claims, seeking to convince others that their beliefs are valid and deserving of respect and should therefore bring no negative consequences.
One of the ways people seek to have their personal truth claims acknowledged by others is to attempt to alter reality in the minds of those who oppose their beliefs. Revisionism is one such tactic. Public school textbooks, for example, have been revised as a means to indoctrinate the most impressionable in society: our children.
Consider how evolution is taught in public schools today as fact, not theory, while the Creation account for the origin of humanity is taught as a fairy tale. Clearly this is not teaching with respect to individual intelligence or using sound logic and reason. What should be presented are the objective facts and evidence so that the student can decide. Instead, our schools provide deductive instruction that tells students what to think rather than offer inductive instruction that encourages people how to think.
In this postmodern culture that has elevated tolerance without wisdom, claims that truth is relative are made with few people prepared to challenge or debate the claim. Until we can agree that truth is objective and verifiable there can be no debate with relativists. Another way I like to say it, “You just can’t reason with crazy.”
Consider the following false objections that relativists make concerning absolute truth and the reasonable corresponding responses.
If truth is absolute, then no new truth would be possible. This mistakes the process of discovery with truth. People once thought the earth was flat when in reality it was a sphere. Truth is revealed or understood over a period of time. It is not altered with new information.
Absolute truth is too narrow. Any truth claim is narrow because truth by its nature means that anything that opposes it is false.
Absolute truth is dogmatic. Yes, it is, because the claim of truth excludes non-truth, which makes it reasonable to be dogmatic.
No one can know something is true. We can know if something is true based on the process of discovery. If we don’t understand the truth about a matter, it doesn’t alter the truth. Truth exists beyond our selves.
In conclusion, absolute truth stands on its own. Absolute truth is absolutely true no matter what evidence has been or is yet to be discovered. Truth corresponds to facts. Truth does not change just because we learn something new about it.6 Truth is not subject to our feelings or opinions rather, the converse is correct.
Man has the ability to think logically and apply reason using our intellect, and at the same time has an amazing gift of imagination. The danger is when one’s imagination clouds or impairs a person’s ability to remain grounded in empirical truth—that is, practical, verifiable evidence from experience and not theory.
Your comments are always welcome.If you like this post, I invite you to read more from my blog and of course my books in the Faith to Live By series. It is my passion to help others discover and live in the same confident faith, based on objective, verifiable evidence, that I have found. With this you can have a confident and contagious faith that brings hope that is certain for you and others, no matter what!
Also, consider having me come speak to your church, civic group, or other organization. Helping others discover fresh wisdom and insights, and find joy and victory even in this fallen world, is my life’s purpose. Just use the Contact Us page on my web site. I’m truly looking forward to hearing from you.