Friday, July 23, 2004

What is Truth?

That's a question for the ages, a question most people have pondered at one time or another. Philosophers have devoted untold weighty tomes to the subject, and Pontius Pilate made this inquiry of Jesus.

My definition is simple: Truth is that which is known to all humans, undebatable in its surety; the seed of certainty that God has planted in each of our hearts; the spindle upon which the whole world turns, and our anchor in times of puzzlement. We can rely on it, just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Just as sure as God loves us, and involves himself in the affairs of humankind. That is truth. I hope my feeble definition sheds a little light.

That said, I've often heard the secular argument that truth is simply what "society" has decided to live by. But one finds no satisfaction in this belief, since it brings unsolved problems to the table, and dredges up more questions than it answers.

For example, why did society choose certain mores, and reject others? If society runs more smoothly utilizing these beliefs, what is the explanation for this? And if, indeed, time and practice proves these rules good and useful, are they not at least tethered in truth?

To dig a little deeper, and to choose a different angle of attack against this rationale, let me make one important point very clear. There is no such thing as "Society."  This is a simplistic misnomer. Humanity is not cobbled together in one grand community. Humanity finds itself fractured into numerous societies (plural), separated by geography, religion, culture, language, and other factors. These individual societies differ drastically, yet all find certain beliefs collectively true.

Just to use one illustration, no human subgroup anywhere believes in the general virtue of murder. A universal denunciation of this sin exists amongst all racial, national, and regional groups.  Should we believe--as the secularists do--that this is a colossal coincidence, or should we accept that mankind has the ability to know and comprehend truth, that this is a perfect example of that understanding?

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