“Without truth, there is only manipulation.” -Os Guinness
“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” -Jesus (in John 8:32)
None of us want to believe something that is false. We certainly don’t want to be manipulated by false rhetoric, advertisements, reporting or information. We are all constantly processing the information we receive to determine whether to believe it or not. The more our world has advanced in technology, the more we are bombarded with information and the harder it seems to discern truth from lies. Yet the importance of distinguishing what is true or false permeates all areas of our lives from our relationships, our goals, our health, consumerism, politics and, most importantly, our belief system.
So, what is truth and why is it important that we know the truth? There is subjective truth and objective truth. Subjective truth is based on someone’s personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. I might be of the opinion that someone is boring and you might find them to be very interesting and fun. The truth of who they are has nothing to do with our differing opinions of them.
Objective truth is not influenced by personal feelings, but is based on measurable facts. Objective truth measures truth and correspondence, holding that any declarative statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees with factual reality. Two opposing facts cannot contradict each other and both be true. I can say gravity does not exist all I want, but if I jump off a tall building, the fact that it does will prove itself true! The fact that the world is round was true even when many people on earth believed it to be flat.
Truth corresponds with reality; so it is when we use subjective truth to determine objective truth that confusion and chaos abound. If there are no objective truths, there will be no objective standards by which to live; then, people begin to think it is okay for each person to live however they want regardless of how it affects the people around them. This is called moral relativism. Many people are drawn to this as it means that each person can do whatever they want, because everyone gets to choose for themselves what is true and right. While this view seems to promote tolerance and civility, it does so at the expense of logic and ends up creating disunity and chaos instead. We see this mindset and the results playing out in our country today.
Since we have progressively blurred the lines in our country between subjective (opinion) and objective (fact) truth, how can we determine what is really true? I believe this quest for truth must start with determining the truth of the origin and purpose of man. When Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, promoting the evolution of species by natural selection as truth, permeated our schools and universities, it was in direct opposition to the moral truth that man was created in the image of God, giving each life meaning and value. We must have something concrete and unchanging from which to measure; otherwise, truth keeps changing—how can we ever know what to believe? When we acknowledge that God is the creator of everything and that He does not change, we then know where we can go to discover and know truth. Moral, ethical and objective truth can be found in God’s Word. It logically flows that the creator of everything is the one to establish the truth of everything.
Many believe, including me, in the validity of God’s Word and that it is our guideline for truth. However, don’t believe something is true just because I or anyone else says it is true. Make the effort to determine what is objectively true yourself. Since we have determined that there have to be objective truths, make the effort to discover them. Falsehoods (lies) keep you in bondage; the truth sets you free.
Strategies for knowing what is true and what is false:
– Be aware of what beliefs are being espoused and taught around you. Research and understand their foundation and their validity.
– Understand why you believe what you believe.
– Be aware of what our youth are being taught in our schools and universities today; they are our future.
– Examine your own heart and your actions to determine if you really want to find truth or if you would rather just believe what makes you feel good at the moment.
– Search for truth. Don’t believe something just because someone else said it’s true. Teach your children to do the same.
– Be able to back up why you believe what you believe. Is what you believe subjective truth or objective truth?
– When listening to or reading social media today, do some research to determine what is true and what is false.
– Read God’s Word and discover for yourself the truth of its claims. Don’t disregard it if you are not willing to read it.
I hope the discovery of truth becomes paramount in your life.