Happy Friday everybody! I hope your week was a good one. From my last two blogs we left off with two basic questions:
- Why do you believe what you believe, and is there evidence that would support it?
- What is truth and can it be known?
So let’s talk about some of the post-modern concepts of truth and see if they hold up. First, we must start with a definition:
truth / tro͞oTH (noun)
1. the quality or state of being true.
“he had to accept the truth of her accusation”
synonyms: veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty;
2. that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. That which is not false or a lie (noun): the truth
“tell me the truth”
synonyms: what actually happened, the case;
3. a fact or belief that is accepted as true. (plural noun): truths
“the emergence of scientific truths”
synonyms: fact, verity, certainty, certitude; law, principle
Non-truths about Truth
Now for some of the post-modern concepts of truth:
There is no absolute truth. All truth is relative.
Do you see the fatal flaw in this statement? It is actually built on what it says doesn’t exist! The statement itself is what is called, “an absolute statement.” Put another way, it is saying, “There ABSOLUTELY is no absolute truth. All truth is relative.” Ask yourself, “Is that ABSOLUTELY true?” If you say, “Yes, I believe that”, then you have contradicted yourself! As a matter of fact, if you REALLY believe all truth is relative, then it must also apply to that statement and you cannot force your “relative truth” onto others!
No one can really know truth.
Once again, I ask you. Is that statement true? If you say “yes”, then once again, you’ve contradicted yourself. If this statement IS true and you say you know it is, then once again, you claim to have something that you say no one can have….KNOWN TRUTH! Are we having fun yet? The intent of this blog is to make you think about what you say you believe and see if it holds up. This is because the TRUTH is, as stated in a previous blog, everyone living by what is right in their own eyes is not freedom: it’s chaos! The problem begins with this little wrinkle:
People tend to get offended when their particular set of beliefs and values are crossed by another individual or group and eventually insist on the idea of “you really need to believe and do what I do.”
In the modern Americana political party system, this has manifest itself through the following example:
A politician takes a general concept, let’s say, education. He or she then devises a plan or policy concerning education. When another politician disagrees with the PLAN concerning education, he or she is usually demonized as being AGAINST education. This is untrue: they are NOT against education; they are simply against that particular PLAN concerning education!
The same is happening sociologically among citizens now as well. People have aligned with different political groups: democrats, republicans, libertarians, etc. People have aligned with different religious beliefs: Atheist, Baptist, Catholic, etc. And each group today is becoming more and more polarized so that each is starting to label the other as “a problem and danger to liberty and society”, and this is a dangerous place. Do you know why? It is dangerous because once you go there, you are cracking the door open to oppression, violence, and even morally justified killings.
Jesus’ Days – Days Not That Unlike Our Own
Did you know Jesus was “put away” because his beliefs and ways were not consistent with the present religious climate of his day? We are told that sinners and publicans loved him….but the religious hated him…to the point they concocted a way to paint him as a THREAT to the safety of the community so that they could have him eliminated! You know the story. And it in the context of his “trial” that the issue of truth came up. Lets look at it again:
Joh 18:33-38 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? (34) Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? (35) Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? (36) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (37) Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the TRUTH. Every one that is of the TRUTH heareth my voice. (38) Pilate saith unto him, WHAT IS TRUTH? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
Even the Roman procurator couldn’t find fault in Jesus. But what’s most interesting to me is Pilate’s question: “What is truth?” But did you notice what’s missing? He never really sought for the answer to his question: he simply dismissed it. People often talk about truth and wanting to know the truth, but then, when truth is standing right before their very eyes….they dismiss it.
Objective vs. Subjective Truth
There is subjective truth; but there is also objective truth. The difference?
Objective truth: “It’s 68 degrees in this room.”
Subjective truth: It’s cold in this room. (to which another might reply, “I’m rather comfortable.”)
You see, the Problem with Jesus has ALWAYS been, WHO HE CLAIMED HIMSELF TO BE! Even his enemies KNEW THE TRUTH about what he was claiming. They even tried to stone him for it!
Joh 10:31-33 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (33) The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Even today, this is an issue. Jesus never claimed to be just a good man or teacher – He said he was our Creator come to us in human form…he became one of us…and he became one of us to atone for a problem we all have…sin. It’s the underlying sickness (along with pride) that cause us all to war with one another and fight and fail to get along. And in stating He was our Creator, he also stated that he came to show us THE TRUTH…Objective truth, not subjective truth! About what? Life, us, Him, this place (the earth, outer space, the universe, etc), and places that exist in dimensions we struggle to even grasp (eternity, heaven, etc). He also came to let us in on where we are in this world and age and where things are going to go from here. And He said it’s critical that each and every one of us know the truth, because lies can (and will) destroy us. Regardless of whether or not you believe what I believe, I want you to know something about my mandate:
Rom 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
I want peace as much as the next guy. I don’t like what I’m seeing with these groups hating, destroying, and killing and JUSTIFYING themselves for their actions. But I also don’t like our devolving into the chaos of “every man doing what is right in their own eyes” either, because in the end, somebodies belief system is always trumping (no pun intended) another. Killing for truth or living as if there is no truth are equally bad. READ WORLD HISTORY!! This is not good! It’s time to wake up and ask the same question Pontus Pilate asked about Jesus:
What is truth?
But it is also time to do something Pontus Pilate DIDN’T do…
Honestly and objectively seek to find out the answer.
Until next time. Have a great week!