Friday, September 19, 2008

Examining Truth

Everyone makes truth claims. Even one who claims there is no truth, makes a truth claim. The one who claims there are a multiplicity of truths, makes a definitive truth claim that truth is pluralistic. Someone who maintains that truth is subjective to the individual or the community also makes a truth claim about truth itself.

Why is it then that the person who posits the existence of ultimate Truth that corresponds accurately with reality is branded intolerant, close minded, or intelectually dishonest? An open mind is good until you find something true to close it around. If you find your lost keys under the couch you don't check under the chair next. This does not mean you don't continue to examine your own belief system, but you have to do that in the confines of the proper foundation of which to know anything at all. If your foundation is faulty you merely are arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Joe Boot adequately expounds, " We must be willing to get to the foundations of our experience. If we remain content to decorate the interior of the house of knowledge and pay no attention to the structure and foundation stones of that house, we will find that the dry rot of absurdity and the rising damp of unexamined assumptions are fatal to the structure." In contrast, if the structural foundation is sound, there is no need to keep it open to unsound additions, but instead to build upon the true foundation.

Some advocate a both/and type of reasoning to avoid exclusivity of truth. Whereas logic dictates an either/or reasoning (the law of non-contradiction). Truth by its very nature is exclusive of all non-truth. If it is true that God exist, then it cannot be equally true that He does not exist. This is impossible. If the Christian God exists, then it cannot be equally true that all world religions are also true for they are contradictory to the former. Just take the three main world theistic beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and you see major differences. No honest follower of either of these beliefs would posit that the other belief system can co-exist logically (the same person cannot believe all three belief-systems at the same time without living a contradiction).

The both/and advocate says truth must be “both/and” or nothing else. It cannot be either/or. Even the both/and proponent cannot get free from the “either/or” logic.

The problem of knowing truth isn’t one of the truth, but one of what the knower does with the truth. If the knower forces it upon those who don’t know or don’t believe by violence or manipulation then they have created an injustice. Jesus said that if a person says he loves God, but hates his brother, the truth is not in him. Jesus also said that if you know the Truth the truth will set you free, therefore it does not create oppression, but freedom.

Moreover, in Christianity knowing the one who is the Truth enables one to live a life of truth and love.

We must understand that the existence of one truth is not an outlandish idea. However, what one does with the truth they profess is of enormous importance. Truth is more than a philosophical construct. It is also an experiential reality.

Don’t be fearful of looking for one coherent worldview. Truth is knowable and He wants to be known.

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