Apologetics for the Masses #334 - What is Truth?

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What is Truth? 

 

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Just one thing to mention here:

I will be speaking in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this coming Wednesday evening (September 12th), at Holy Family Cathedral.  They have a dinner at 5:30 PM and then the talk begins at 6:30.  If you live in the general vicinity of Tulsa, I would love for you to come on down and bide a wee...

 

Introduction

     I plan on doing the next few newsletters on natural apologetics - apologetics we can know by the "natural" light of reason, without any divine intervention.  This kind of apologetics is useful when talking with folks of an atheist/agnostic/materialist frame of mind, as they don't care what the Bible says and give no credence to any kind of religious authority. 

     I am going to start with the question: What is truth?  Is there even such a thing as truth? This is based on the first of the newspaper ads I've run over the past year:

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/assets/newspaper_campaign_1-cacf66e4eaf8274df34bf819bbd3abd3d45267cde02594a9d9ccb146b342ce5f.pdf  

     I will follow that up with "The Case for God," "Faith vs. Science?" and then the "Case for Jesus."  I hope they prove useful to you...

 

What Is Truth?

     “What is truth?” Pontius Pilate, 33 A.D. (John 18:38).  Pontius Pilate asked that question in response to Jesus saying He had come to “bear witness to the truth.”  People in our country, in our society, are still asking that same question today: “What is truth?”  

     In fact, people have been asking that same question for the last 2000 years, and even longer. There is, of course, absolutely no problem with asking the question. It’s good to ask questions like that.  Rather, the problem today is that too few people care enough about the answer to even bother asking the question, much less make the effort to find the answer to the question.  Not enough people are seeking the truth.  Either they don’t care about truth, or they deny that there is such a thing as truth, or they just flat out hate the truth because it tells them things they don't want to hear.

     “There is no such thing as truth, either in the moral or in the scientific sense.” Adolf Hitler

     Was Hitler right?  Is there no such thing as truth?  Many of today's so-called "philosophers" will tell you that Hitler was indeed right...that there is no such thing as truth.  In fact, a large number of people - philosophers and non-philosophers alike - will tell you there is no such thing as truth. Or, rather, that there is such a thing as truth, but it is relative.  One person's "truth" may not be another person's truth which may not be another person's truth and so on.  So they will admit to relative truth, but not objective truth - something that is true for everyone, regardless of any given individual's opinion about it.  Well, let's talk about it and see if that makes any sense whatsoever.

     First, we notice that the statement about there being no such thing as objective truth, is a self-refuting statement.  If that statement is true, then it is true for everyone, which means it is an objective truth.  And, if it is an objective truth, then it is false to say there is no such thing as objective truth.  So, this is a self-refuting statement.  Therefore, the position that there is no such thing as objective truth is demonstrably false.  Which means, objective truth does indeed exist.  That is simple logic...simple common sense. 

     Then, in philosophy, there is a foundational principle known as the Principle of Contradiction.  This principle states that something cannot be, and not be, at the same time.  For example, either a either equals b, or a does not equal b.  A cannot both equal b and not equal b at the same time.  One of those two propositions has to be true.  They can’t both be true and they can’t both be false.  It is either one or the other.  I am either writing this newsletter to you, or I am not writing this newsletter to you.  It can’t be both.  You are either a human being or you are not a human being.  It can't be both.  The Earth either revolves around the sun or it doesn't revolve around the sun.  It can't be both.  So, the Principle of Contradiction is an objective truth, an objective philosophical truth. 

     Then, there is undeniable mathematical truth.  2 + 2 = 4.  True.  10 x 10 = 100.  True.  The angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees.  True.  If there is no such thing as truth, we cannot do mathematics...we cannot do science...we cannot do engineering.  We can’t build roads, or bridges, or buildings, or cars, or smart phones, or anything else for that matter, because all of those things depend on the existence of truth.  Which means, that all these people who deny the existence of objective truth, depend on the existence of objective truth to do just about everything they do in their daily lives. 

     If you ever have anyone tell you that we can't really know for sure what, if anything, is true or not - even whether we really exist or not - or what reality truly is, ask them if they would be willing to walk out onto any nearby interstate or highway in the dark of night to see if the cars and trucks traveling down that road really exist or not.  Of course, they won't do it, which means they are full of malarkey.  They don't really believe the garbage they are spouting.  They know it is true that the cars on that road are real and they know it is true that they would cease to occupy space, or at the least suffer greatly, if they were to walk out onto the real interstate and encounter those real cars and trucks in the dead of night. 

     “Well,” folks will say, “of course there is mathematical and scientific truth, but there is no such thing as moral or philosophical truth.”  Oh, really?!  Well, I've just demonstrated that the Principle of Contradiction is an objective philosophical truth.  It is true for everyone everywhere.  Now, in regard to moral truth, let's see if people really believe there is no such thing as moral truth...that there are no moral absolutes.  The question I always ask people who put forward that proposition is this: Was Hitler right?  In other words, if morality depends on one’s feelings, or on what a particular group of people arbitrarily decides morality should be, then how can you say Hitler was wrong, when he did what his “feelings” told him was the right thing to do?  It was Hitler's truth that some 6 million Jews should die in the concentration camps.  So, if we can't impose our moral "truth" on anyone else, and there is no such thing as objective moral truth, then how can you say that Hitler was wrong?  You can't!  At least, you can't without being labeled a hypocrite.  Yet, you will have to ask a whole lot of folks who don't believe in objective moral truth before you will find one of them that will have the guts to say Hitler was not wrong to do what he did because it was his truth. 

     “People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth.  They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them.”  St. Augustine

     That is what is really going on in our society today.  People deny truth, they talk around truth, they try to relativize truth because they don't want to be bound by the truth.  They want to live in a way that is contrary to truth, so their wills override their intellects and their consciences.  That is why they are so angry.  Truth is rebuking them...constantly...day and night.  They have no respite from the truth.  There is something deep within telling them what the truth is and that they should live according to the truth, but they don't want to accept that.  So they rebel against their own nature.  They are at war with themselves. 

     And what St. Augustine said is especially true when it comes to moral and religious truth.  Moral absolutes are denied and rejected.  Morality is said to be purely subjective and entirely dependent upon what any given  individual “feels” is right or wrong.  The Ten Commandments no longer hold sway as objective moral standards, they have been replaced by one’s purely subjective feelings.  

     And the religious beliefs of many are now no longer based on ancient truths and teachings, rather they are bound only by each individual’s imagination and, within Christianity, man-made traditions and each person’s private interpretation of the Bible .  A new interpretation - a new belief.  A new belief - quite possibly even a whole new denomination.  Who’s right...who’s wrong?  What is the truth?  Who decides?  What does it matter?  After all, it's all relative...right?  It all depends on what I feel.  In our society, feelings = truth.  What I "feel" about morality, is true...because I feel it.  What I "feel" about religion, is true...because I feel it.  What I "feel" about my sexual identity, is true...because I feel it.

     But do feelings really equal truth?  Let's use a recent highly publicized situation as the basis for an example to demonstrate that feelings do not equal truth.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the "Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner Murder Mystery":

     If Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner “feels” that “she” is really a woman, does that make it true? Many in our society today would say, "Yes."  But, consider this: If Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner were to commit a crime...let’s say murder...and suffered a cut on the hand during the commission of that crime, when the crime lab analyzed the blood found at the crime scene, will they determine that the suspect they are looking for is a man, or a woman?

     I tried to put that example in the newspaper ad I linked to above.  They rejected it.  Wouldn't let me do it.  Why not?  Because the folks at the newspaper knew they would get hammered by all the folks that believe feelings = truth.  Those folks tend to be rather irrational in their behavior.  Which makes sense, because they are rather irrational in their thinking.  And they also wouldn't put it in their paper because the answer to the question is beyond dispute.  The crime lab would say that a man committed the murder.  It would say that Bruce Jenner committed the murder, not Caitlyn Jenner. 

     But, how can that be?  Bruce Jenner is now a woman.  I mean, he had the operation.  He's taking the hormones.  He wears dresses and makeup and his hair is long.  He "feels" like a woman.  So, he must be a she, right?  Well, not according to science.  Which is rather ironic, because all these folks who take issue with those who believe in God and who deny objective truth and objective morality and constantly crow that believers are un-scientific; yet, all the while, it is they who actually deny science in so many ways and in so many instances.  Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is a man, regardless of what anyone "feels". 

     So, ask anyone who believes in all of this "transgender" nonsense the question about Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner leaving blood at the scene of the crime, and see if they say the crime lab would say that a man, or a woman, committed the crime. 

     Truth is truth, and no matter what anyone "feels," it is still the truth.  You can deny it.  You can hate it.  You can refuse to accept it.  You can rage against it.  But the truth will win out in the end. 

 

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week!

 

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Apologetics for the Masses