Musings on Culture, History, Science, Youth and Religion
Friday, April 15, 2011
A Great Opportunity-- What is Truth?
As I wrote earlier, I was given the opportunity to write three short blurbs for the Smart Faith Apologetics conference. I had an amazing time writing these, and have said I would post them here. The last question asked "What is Truth?" My response is below:
What is Truth?
Truth is when a statement corresponds with reality. Or, in other words, truth is the way things really are. Finding out the truth is one of the most important things anyone can ever do. No one wants to live in a lie. If you were really (I mean REALLY) dumb, would you want everyone to pretend you were the smartest person in the world? Even if this wasn’t true? Wouldn’t it be hurtful that they didn’t want to help you become smarter, but they instead lied to you about life? When we know the truth, we can determine the best way to live.
But doesn’t everyone have different truths? What if I think one thing is true and you think another thing is true? Can’t we just believe what we want?
Actually there are two different kinds of truth. There is subjective truth and objective truth. Subjective truth is truth inside of me. It is about preferences. I prefer chocolate, you prefer strawberry ice cream.
Objective truth is truth outside of ourselves. It is about the way the world is. It isn’t about preference, it doesn’t change no matter what anybody thinks about it. The earth is round even if I pretend or don’t believe it isn’t.
Claims of religions are claims about objective reality. These claims may be true or false, but they are claims about the real world. For example, Christianity claims Jesus Christ is God. Well, he may or may not be God, but this fact doesn’t change based on my like or dislike of him. Or, Mormonism claims there are many gods, and this does not change based on my preferences either.
Since religions make objective claims about the world, evaluating the evidence for and against each religion becomes very important. If there is a God who loves you and me and he asks us to live in a certain way, there may not be a more important journey for anyone’s life. To understand and know the truth is the most important thing in the world.
In 1943, C.S. Lewis published The Abolition of Man. This was a landmark work for the 20th century. In it, Lewis builds a case for a moral law, which he calls the Tao. All humans find themselves striving to obey this natural law. I believe this law has largely been ignored to the detriment of society. This is my attempt to help remedy the situation.