In our world today, truth has been turned upside down. People are clamoring to find the truth to know who and what they can trust. No one wants to be lied to–not even a pathological liar likes being lied to. We’ve had conflicting reports through media from so-called leaders and scientists regarding COVID-19. People are delivering conflicting information which does not allow us to make informed decisions, further putting our health and our lives at risk. How can we trust media, scientists, government? How can we know what’s true?
More than any other time in our lifetimes, we need to learn how to think critically for ourselves and how to research to find the truthful answers we need. When searching to know if a matter is true, understand there are governing laws we need to know about. Let me start with the Law of Absolutes.
Many people today believe and make the claim truth is relative. They believe truth can be what the individual chooses. What they may not realize is in the process of discovering truth, the burden of proof for any claim is on the claimant. When helping people who believe truth is relative give proof for their claim, we can ask them, “So are you saying there’s no such thing as absolute truth?” When they say “Yes” our job is to then lovingly walk them through the falicy of their faith–their belief that truth is relative.
To say, “There is no such thing as absolute truth” is making a statment based on the law of absolutes. A person who believes truth is relative cannot use the laws of absolute and still be credible. Since no one wants to live their life on the basis of a lie, learning how to help people examine what they believe and why, is a very loving thing to do.
As with anything, examination is required to get to the truth. Again, no one would willingly base their religious beliefs which govern their life on lies. However, I assert unless we examine what we believe and why, we can easily be deceived and unaware of our condition. It is after all the nature of deception that the victim is unaware. And since most religions believe our faith in this life determines our eternal life, it is extremely important to make certain our religious beliefs are based on truth.
How can we know if a matter is true? There are several proof tests we can use. In the same way that we are subject to various laws of physics, we are subject to other natural laws. Since I’ve already touched on the law of absolute, let’s next consider what is known as the Laws of Rational Thought. They include:
The Law of Non-Contradiction (A is not non-A): Opposite truth claims cannot both be true. For example, if an atheist believes God does not exist and a theist believes God does exist, it is impossible for both to be right.
The Law of Excluded Middle (either A or non-A): This asserts that it is either A or non-A, but not both. God cannot exist and not exist. In other words, there is no middle ground; opposites cannot be the same.
The Law of Identity (A is A): This law simply states that something is what we say it is: A is A. When someone says, “I loved the book,” it is understood to mean a “book” (and not a duck or an automobile). Without the law of identity, there would be chaos and language would be incoherent.4
Additionally, concerning truth there is an absolute standard regarding any truth, though not everyone is willing to accept it. To confirm that a matter is truth, three essential characteristics must be in place at the same time:
- The truth is based in reality.
- Only one thing can be true and all opposing matters are false.
- The truth is universal.
As a mother of two, I had more than one occasion where my children sought to create a truth they preferred, generally in attempt to avoid a consequence they knew was “bad.” You can imagine the scenario that would cause me to say, “Sorry sweetie, but the chocolate crumbs on your hands and face provide evidence that you did eat the last of the cookies.”
What is the application of discovering truth in this cookie example?
- All the cookies are gone—the truth is based in reality.
- The cookies can’t both be in the jar and gone at the same time—one matter is true, all opposing matters are false.
- Based on the above and the precious child’s face covered with cookie crumbs, any mother in the world would come to the same conclusion—the truth is universal.
In this postmodern American culture, discovering the truth may be more difficult than ever, but it is still not impossible, nor does it require genius. We must rationally examine all truth claims. Every religion and philosophy has the responsibility of giving evidence for its truth claims, and such evidence should be available for believers and unbelievers—the burden of proof is on the claimant.5
People who choose to maintain beliefs based on their personal preferences, as opposed to objective, verifiable evidence, have a general sense they are operating with ideals contrary to most others. The only way they can alleviate this is to seek to change the beliefs of others. As in the example of my children and the missing cookies, they work very hard to substantiate their claims, seeking to convince others that their beliefs are valid and deserving of respect and should therefore bring no negative consequences.
One of the ways people seek to have their personal truth claims acknowledged by others is to attempt to alter reality in the minds of those who oppose their beliefs. Revisionism is one such tactic. Public school textbooks, for example, have been revised as a means to indoctrinate the most impressionable in society: our children.
Consider how evolution is taught in public schools today as fact, not theory, while the Creation account for the origin of humanity is taught as a fairy tale. Clearly this is not teaching with respect to individual intelligence or using sound logic and reason. What should be presented are the objective facts and evidence so that the student can decide. Instead, our schools provide deductive instruction that tells students what to think rather than offer inductive instruction that encourages people how to think.
In this postmodern culture that has elevated tolerance without wisdom, claims that truth is relative are made with few people prepared to challenge or debate the claim. Until we can agree that truth is objective and verifiable there can be no debate with relativists. Another way I like to say it, “You just can’t reason with crazy.”
Consider the following false objections that relativists make concerning absolute truth and the reasonable corresponding responses.
If truth is absolute, then no new truth would be possible. This mistakes the process of discovery with truth. People once thought the earth was flat when in reality it was a sphere. Truth is revealed or understood over a period of time. It is not altered with new information.
Absolute truth is too narrow. Any truth claim is narrow because truth by its nature means that anything that opposes it is false.
Absolute truth is dogmatic. Yes, it is, because the claim of truth excludes non-truth, which makes it reasonable to be dogmatic.
No one can know something is true. We can know if something is true based on the process of discovery. If we don’t understand the truth about a matter, it doesn’t alter the truth. Truth exists beyond our selves.
In conclusion, absolute truth stands on its own. Absolute truth is absolutely true no matter what evidence has been or is yet to be discovered. Truth corresponds to facts. Truth does not change just because we learn something new about it. Truth is not subject to our feelings or opinions rather, the converse is correct.
Man has the ability to think logically and apply reason using our intellect, and at the same time has an amazing gift of imagination. The danger is when one’s imagination clouds or impairs a person’s ability to remain grounded in empirical truth—that is, practical, verifiable evidence from experience and not theory.
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