Do you believe in truth? You may think you do but in reality you may not actually believe in truth yet you think you do. Can truth even be known? Is there such a thing as truth? Do you even care about truth?
From history we know that false ideas about truth can lead to false ideas about life. In many cases of history these false ideas about truth gave apparent justification for some really immoral behavior. If you can kill the concept of truth, you can then kill any true religion or any true morality.
Take the 77,000,000 people who died between 1923–1976 from the believes that Mao Zedong had about truth. Do you think those who died through Mao Zedong’s truth believed in Mao Zedong’s truth?
What about Joseph Stalin’s truth? From 1929 through 1953, 43,000,000 people died due to Stalin’s truth believes. Do you believe that those people who died believed in the truth Stalin held?
Then there’s the immoral truth that Adolf Hitler held that killed 20,946,000 Jews, Polish and others between 1933–1945. Did these people who died believe Hitler’s truth? (1)
So truth exists and cannot be denied. Denial of the truth was the basis of the millions of people above dying for the false truths of Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and the many other tyrants who have done the same thing throughout history.
Skeptical About the Existence of Truth?
You can say that, ‘something true for me is not true for you.’ Well, is that statement true for everyone? Think about it for a moment. How can something be both true and false? Nothing can be both true and false. So to say, something is true for someone and not for another defies logic because something cannot be both true and false at the same time. Either Christians are right or not. Either atheists are right or not. Both Christians and atheists cannot both be right.
Now you say that, ‘truth cannot be known.’ If truth cannot be known, how do you know that truth cannot be known? To say that ‘truth cannot be known’ is a self-defeating statement because it is making a claim as a known absolute truth statement. Making that statement is saying that you know the truth about truth which is that truth cannot be known. If truth cannot be known, how can you know enough to say that truth cannot be known, if truth cannot be known? So from this we know that truth can be known.
You now say that ‘something can be only meaningful if it’s empirically verifiable or true by definition.’ My reply to you is that your statement excludes itself from being true as it is neither true by definition nor is it empirically verifiable.
You see, when you say to someone that they are wrong, you are saying that you know the truth and that they do not know the truth. For example if you say that there is no truth, you are actually saying that you know the truth. If you know the truth, it means that truth exists which defies logic of truth not existing. Also, if you think you cannot know about the real world, how do you even know that there’s a real world out there and in saying this, you are saying that you know something about the real world which is you know that you cannot know about the real world. So if you know something about the real world you have just nullified your statement about not being able to know anything about the real world because you know something about it.
Okay, okay I hear you loud and clear. You are saying that there are two kinds of logic; ‘logic BOTH AND,’ and ‘logic EITHER OR.’ Christians say that it is either Jesus Christ OR hell. You say that it is Jesus Christ AND many other ways that can get you to heaven. You may be saying that it is not Jesus AND nothing else.
I’ll make this quick and simple to prove to you that only “logic either or” is the only logic. Which logic must one use, “logic BOTH AND” OR “logic EITHER OR” in making a decision? You see, there is only “logic EITHER OR” because to ask the same question this way, “Which logic must one use, “logic BOTH AND” AND “logic EITHER OR” in making a decision?” is not logical. Christians AND atheists AND other religions cannot all be right. It is either Christians OR atheists that are right as they are mutually exclusive in their believes. Either Christians OR other religions are right as they are mutually exclusive in their believes.
Just How is Truth Known?
The self-evident laws of logic called first principles is where we begin to learn the truth. First principles are not proved by any other principles thus their name. First principles are inherent in the nature of reality and everyone intuitively knows them even if they have not explicitly given any thought about them. Without the first principles we could not learn anything.
The Law of Noncontradictions and the Law of the Excluded Middle are two self-evident first principles used to discover all other truths. Above I already gave examples of the Law of Noncontradictions and from those you can see the value and reality of it.
The Law of the Excluded Middle takes away any third alternatives leaving either one or the other. For example, God either exists or God does not exist. Another example, Jesus arose from the dead or Jesus did not rise from the dead. Yet another example, atheists are either right or atheists are wrong.
Using these first principles alone cannot tell us if a proposition is true or not. Take for instance the following logical arguments:
- People are mortal.
- John is a person.
- Therefore John is mortal.
The conclusion from the self-evident laws of logic tells us that John is mortal. Seems true enough however let’s go a bit further and make a valid argument which isn’t true.
- All cows have three heads and live under water.
- O’Betsy is a cow.
- Therefore O’Betsy has three heads and lives under water.
Logically this is a valid argument but we all know that this isn’t true. The premise we started with that all cows have three heads and lives under water is false. So logic only gets us so far in finding the truth because if we start with the wrong premise, we’ll still not find the truth.
Induction (not just for race cars)
The method of drawing general conclusions from specific observations is called induction. Induction is commonly equat
ed with the scientific method. Induction is different than deduction. Deduction is what was done above with the lining up of premises in an argument and arriving at a valid conclusion. The process of finding out if the premises in an argument are true usually requires induction.
Again however, we cannot consider all conclusions based on induction as absolutely certain but we can say that they are highly probable. Examples of this are; you cannot be absolutely 100 percent certain that gravity makes all objects drop because you have not observed all objects being dropped, and you cannot be absolutely certain that all men are mortal because you have not observed all men die because there may be someone somewhere who has not died or will not die in the future.
If inductive conclusions are not certain, can they be trusted? Yes however to only varying degrees of certainty. Since no human being has infinite knowledge, most of our inductive conclusions can be wrong. There is one important exception called, ‘the perfect induction’ where all particulars are known. An example of this is when you look at a white page in a book with black letters and make the perfect induction of, ‘all the letters on this white page are black.’ The certainty comes from you observing the white page with black letters on it thus verifying that the page is indeed white and the letters black.
Without complete or perfect information we often have enough information to make reasonably certain conclusions on most questions in life. Since virtually everyone has been observed to die, we can conclude that all men are mortal and the conclusion be considered true beyond any doubt. We can conclude too then that gravity affects all objects and not just some. Therefore we can be sure beyond a reasonable doubt but not sure beyond all doubt.
Most of everything we know we know by induction and in fact, we also arrive at most decisions in life by induction. You used induction intuitively to investigate the truth of the premises in the above argument to determine that O’Betsy isn’t a cow with three heads because cows you’ve seen have only one head and cows do not live under water. From what we eat to our choice of friends we decide through observation and induction. Do you know with 100% certainty that the liquid in the can of Coke a Cola you are about to drink is not poison? No, however you rely on prior experience with the trustworthiness of the Coke Company and concluding that there is actually Coke a Cola in the can and not poison. Do you have perfect information about the people we meet? No, again we make a conclusion after spending some time with them and finding out more about them. Yet can we know 100% that they are trustworthy? No, we can only generalize from our limited number of experiences with them and make a conclusion that may be highly probable but is not certain. This is the case with many decisions we make in life.
How is Truth is Derived about God Known?
Can observation and induction help us investigate the ultimate question: “Does God exist?” Yes, it can because we can use induction to investigate God the same way it is used to investigate other things we cannot see; by observing their affects.
“Hold on a minute!” I hear you saying… how can we observe and investigate (as claimed by most Christians, Jews, and Muslims) an invisible and immaterial God? We use our senses to help us gather information about God, that’s how. We cannot observe gravity as we can only observe its effects. We also cannot observe the human mind directly yet only through its effects. It is from these effects that we make rational inference to the existence of a cause.
Have you ever seen the wind, rain or other natural force write a blog posted to the web? No, because you’ve only known people to do it. So even though you didn’t see me type this blog, you have reasoned that this blog was written by at least one person and have concluded that it was posted as a blog by someone. The fact that you are now reading this blog is a case in point that a blog is an effect that results from some preexisting intelligence i.e., an author. You know that the argument is valid because of deduction and that it is true because the premises are true which you have verified through observation and induction.
Just as a blog requires preexisting human intelligence, are there any observable effects that seem to require some kind of preexisting supernatural intelligence? Are there effects that we can observe that point to God? Yes, there is and it is the first effect which is the universe itself.
“So What?” You Say… Who Cares About Truth Anyway?
You care about truth in morality regardless of if you say you do or not. Your actions speak louder than anything you say you believe. Take for example you may claim that lying is not wrong. How outraged would you be if someone treated you immorally through their lying to you which caused you to loose everything you owned because through their lie they took it from you?
Truth matters to you also in morality matters because success in life is often dependent upon the moral choices you make throughout your life. Included in these matters are choices regarding sex, marriage, children, drugs, money, work, and so forth. The choices you make can either prosper you or ruin you.
Also truth matters in all laws. Laws legislate morality and the major question is just, “Whose morality will be legislated?”(2) Think about this for a moment. Laws declare one behavior right and its opposite wrong-that’s morality. Whose morality should be legislated on issues such as abortion or euthanasia? These issues will directly impact the lives of you and me and millions of others. Just think back to the start of this blog about the laws which killed all of those millions of people per the false truths of Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and understand that the death of you and/or a loved one could come through a false truth put into law.
There is no doubt that what we believe to be true about morality impacts our lives. The 1857 Dred Scott decision mattered in the United States in that the United States Supreme Court made blacks property of their slave owners and not citizens.(3) It mattered to the Jews that the Nazis believed that they were an inferior race to the Aryan race.(4)
What About Truth in Religion?
Truth in religion can impact us more profoundly than truth in morality. If the Holy Bible is true and you are not following the teachings in it, you are in big trouble if you chose to not follow it. If the Holy Bible is true, everyone’s eternal destiny can be read within its pages. If the Holy Bible is not true, many Christians are wasting their time, energy, money and some lives by their going to hostile areas preaching the gospel. If other religions like the religion of Atheism for example, then we all have no reason to not lie, cheat and steal whenever we want and whatever we want because there is nothing more than what we have with no eternal consequences. Or say if the Qur’an is true then Christians and atheists are in trouble. So in either way, religion does matter.
But let us forget for a few minutes, eternity. What temporal implications of religious teachings around the world are there that impact us today and in our near future? Saudi Arabia text books for school children describe Jews as monkeys and Christians as pigs.(5) It is stated that in the Qur’an it says that people who do not convert to Islam (infidels) should be killed which is a type of Jihad. Is it true that there is a god up there named Allah who wants Muslims to kill all non-Muslims? Does religious truth matter? Think about 9/11 and see that it does matter. Wouldn’t it be better to be teaching the religious truth that God wants us to love our neighbor? (Romans 13:9)
Getting back into the United States with examples, the Saudis may be teaching that Jews are monkeys and Christians are pigs but here we teach through a one-sided biology curriculum that there really is no difference between “any” human being a pig or monkey. If we are just merely products of blind naturalistic forces with no deity created special significance then we are nothing more than pigs with brains, right? Does atheistic religious “truth” matter? When the children being taught this carry out the implications of it, it does. Instead of producing good citizens who see themselves and other people made in the image of God, we produce criminals who see no meaning or value in human life. Ideas have consequences.
A Positive Side
Mother Teresa helped improve conditions in India by challenging the Hindu culture religious beliefs many had there in her teaching the Christian principles of caring for the poor and suffering. Does that religious idea matter? Ask the millions who lives were touched by her willingness to teach them Christian values. Does the religious teaching of karma matter? Ask the millions still suffering and find out for yourself.
The Bottom Line
Our lives are greatly affected regardless of what the real truth is concerning religion and morality. Our lives are affected today and perhaps even in eternity by it. To you who says, “So what? Who cares about truth in morality and religion?” I say to you that you are ignoring reality and are skating on thin ice which is getting thinner each moment you continue to be apathetic with your thinking about truth.
You owe it to yourself and to others to find out the real truth because truth matters. Do not just blow off the truth. Use this blog post as your starting point to learn more about God. You can use the FAQ page on http://findingtruthtoday.com as a means to help you find the truth.
Remember, no one here on earth knows everything and everyone will die sooner or later. It is your choice to learn and accept the truth or not. Take responsibility for your life and actions; learn and accept the truth today. You deserve the best. It’s your choice. I suggest you make a well informed choice and that you choose wisely where you place your faith.
Romans 13:9 – For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Much of this blog post was derived from this book:
Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist