What is truth? Can one’s belief affect the truth? Is the truth really out there? All this talk of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, seems medieval to many people today. A philosophical position called deconstructionism says that all claims about truth are really masks for those who just wants power. Deconstrutionsim has a point: Many claims about truth are motivated by power. In fact, people have been known to twist the words of the Bible in order to justify their cruelty toward other people.
Take, for instance, your car’s gas tank. A statement about your tank might be, “My gas tank contains gas”. Truth would be the fitting relationship between the statement and the actual contents of your tank. This is not tyourself atement as a belief: “I belief my gas tank contains gas”. Your belief will not affect the contents of your tank or the ability of your car to start.
The truth about whether your tank is empty, however, would. If your belief corresponds to the actual contents of your tank, then your belief is true. Moreover, the truth about your tank can be known. Try to start the car. Dismantle the car and check. The truth or falsehood about your tank’s contents is simple enough for a child to understand.
Some true beliefs are hard or currently impossible to verify. An example is, “Those who trust in Christ will be raised from death at the end of this age”. However, the ability to verify it does not determine whether a statement is true.
“Things might be true but not currently provable”
You believe many things not because you have personally verified them, but based on authority. Perhaps you are not a particle physicist, but you believe that all matter is composed of invisible particles called electrons, protons, and so on. That’s fine. Reliable authority is a good source of true beliefs. However, because authority is fallible, it is possible to have authority without truth.
Sometimes authorities lie, they lie so well that it sound like the truth. Your experiences with authorities who lie may have led you to mistrust all authorities who make claims about truth. However, the dishonesty of some authorities does not mean it is foolish to believe anything on authority. Understand that the Bible presents ultimate truth, not as a set of propositions but as a Person.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life”. (John 14:6)
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. (John 8: 12)
According to the Bible, ultimate Truth and Reality is alive, personal, and eager to be known by you. The idea that anybody has the authority to declare truth to you may feel scary. But He who is True is also committed to your good. He is no selfish dictator. And while many things are true or false, right or wrong, whether you like it or not, many other things are up to your personal preference.
So, if you’re feeling queasy about the idea of “truth” and “right”, suspend judgement for a while. Start reading the Bible, look for the reasons why the author believes God is the standard of truth, about reality, right and wrong. Find the truth for yourself today!
Blessings and Love ??