Looking at Truth

Brian Kuehmichel

Sept. 2010, Updated August 18, 2013



What is truth?

Truth matches its object, corresponds to facts, tells it like it is, matches reality, is not tricky or deceptive. Truth is part of and the basis for ontology.

"Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water." Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


Truth is Knowable

Mankind builds its base of knowledge in science, chemistry, physics, medicine, accounting, business, education and many other facets of life upon one very important foundation. That foundation is truth. The basis for all communication whether in relationships of barter, business, friends, family or marriage is truth. Thus truth is inherently understood to be knowable and by searching can be found.


Truth possesses certain qualities. These are summed by the following:

1. Truth is certain. This implies that the assertion "There is no truth!" is an illogical assertion of certain truth. Likewise when someone asserts "truth is there" that also is a certain truth. Either way truth exists.

2. Truth is distinct and clearly states something meaningful.

3. Truth is consistent and non-contradictory.

4. Truth is impersonal in its application. Truth does not care who is affected by its being revealed.

5. Truth is enlightening for it reveals something to us about our self, others and the world around us.

6. That truth is intentional and separates reality from conjecture.

7. Truth is liberating for as much as a person entirely unknowing of any truth cannot make any rational decisions for there is no basis upon which the decision can be defended. Thus truth enables a person to make a decision of value, defend it and be at peace with themself about the decision.

8. Truth is eternal. No matter how many examine it or how often it is examined the same reality is conveyed.


Absolute Truth is a Logical Necessity.

You can't argue against the existence of absolute truth logically. To argue against something is to establish that it exists. Absolute truth cannot be argued against unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. What really becomes the question is the certainty of something being the truth or the confidence by which it is held. Thus the philosophical positions about the nature and certainty of truth itself by various types of "truth" seekers. The reality is that there are some objective and absolute truths such as light, matter, gravity, cause and effect, order, structure, thoughts, words, relationships, concepts, ideas, et cetera by which we operate as human beings on a daily basis.

For detailed articles on this subject see: References 2, 3, 4.


Types of Philosophical Truth Seekers

Skepticism wants you to doubt everything — except what they're offering!

"There are various forms and degrees of skepticism about truth. Complete or extreme skepticism consists in the denial that there is anything true or false. This is tantamount to denying that there is knowledge of anything, either with certainty (or beyond the shadow of a doubt) or with probability (or beyond a reasonable doubt or with some lower degree of doubt)."1 It follows that such extreme skepticism about truth and falsity entails the denial of anything knowable.

1. "In the first place, the extreme skeptic refutes himself. The individual who asserts that there is nothing either true or false must confront the question whether that statement itself is either true or false. If it is true, then it is also false; and if it is false, then skepticism is itself denied. What does one do with a person who answers a question of a verifiable sort by saying both Yes and No? Walk away, for there is no profit in continuing the conversation."1

2. "In the second place, when the extreme skeptic argues for his position with his opponents, does he not claim a degree of correctness for his views that essentially establishes his view as truth? Can he then be skeptical about objective truth?"1

3. "In the third place can one be an extreme skeptic in conducting one's daily affairs, in contracts, agreements, barter and exchange with others, and so on? No one can honestly espouse extreme skepticism in one's practical and social life."1

Denialism is choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth: "[it] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism

Denialism wants the opposite to be true — opposites cannot both be true!

Pluralism stands in opposition to one single approach or method of interpretation.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralism

Pluralists do not want you to be able to claim something as true or certain since that implies other substitutes are false.

Agnosticism believes that certain truth cannot be known to exist.

That means that agnostics do not believe there is truth in the sense that they withhold judgment (cannot? or will not? decide) as to whether truth exists.

1. Now if agnostics are certain that "truth cannot be known to exist" does not that directly assert a certain truth all by itself?

2. When agnostics hold firmly to their belief does not that imply they really know but do not want the "certainty" of conviction which will then falsify their position?

3. When agnostics are certain that they cannot know then what agnostics present is simply ignorance. For if agnostics "cannot know" one basic thing with conviction how then can anyone be certain they "know" anything else?

Dogmatism believes that a certain set of positive statements are true, absolutely certain and authoritative.

1. Life functions in all of its realms as if certain truth can be known to exist.

2. The foundation of moral and physical truths come from outside of man for man simply discovers them but does not create, establish or intrinsicly uphold them.

3. In conducting one's daily affairs certain truth is used in contracts, agreements, barter and commerce with others, relationships between people, in jurisprudence, government records and so on.


The scientific method is only one way to learn truth.

[See: article on limitations of science] By definition the scientific method requires repeatable events. That means they must be examined and reexamined under the same circumstances until they are understood by those inquiring. "Replicability is a hallmark of truly scientific research, and meticulous record keeping is essential to replicability." "God, Science and Beauty" by David A. Noebel. Most events that occur day by day among and between people or happen to people by forces of nature do NOT fall under the "scientific method" and must be viewed by another more commonly used method. That method is called the "evidential method". The evidential method takes oral and or written communication (testimony) and other physical evidence (testimony) to reconstruct the details about a circumstance or event and to verify it (from its own contemporary world) beyond reasonable doubt. That is the basis of verifying any and all historical and contemporaneous events.

"[T]here is a standard by which all ancient books are tested today called Aristotle's Dictum which states we must listen to the claims of any and all documents under analysis and not assume fraud or error unless the author(s) disqualify themselves by contradiction or error." http://www.thewhyman.jesusanswers.com/about.html

To discern whether God exists or not we then need to look at evidence. There are multiple lines of evidence to consider and not any one alone is sufficent. But when rational arguments can be made using the many available kinds of evidence ... then it is for you the reader to honestly and seriously consider all of the facts and come to a defining conclusion. That conclusion establishes the basis of your faith in God or against God. "Neither evolution nor creation can be scientifically proved.... It is possible to build a case for either view, and the decision finally boils down to what one wants to believe." Dr. Henry M. Morris
[For more detailed articles please see the upper right column - Evidence Proving Scripture.]


Types of truth claims.

"Suspending judgment on claims should be reserved for those claims one knows nothing about, or can know nothing about, and for those claims for which the evidence is proportionate on opposing sides. It may be true that nothing is absolutely certain, but it is not true that all claims are equally probable." Robert T. Carroll http://www.skepdic.com/skepticism.html

Types of Claims About God

Some -isms

Atheism asserts there is no God.

God made no things.

Pantheism asserts God is all things.

God is the sum and substance of all things together.

Panentheism asserts God contains all things.

Briefly stated, in pantheism, "God is the whole"; in panentheism, "The whole is in, or part of God.

Theism asserts God made all things.

God made all created things external to Himself.


Types of Evidence for a Creator God

For extensive info see: Evidence for God

Cosmological

Teleological (purposiveness)

Aesthetic

Continuity

Fortuity

Intelligence

Philosophical

Revelation


Claims About God

States He is the Creator - What He has done.

God is an intelligent, rational, designer and producer of complex parts and systems as evident throughout the universe and on earth.

Creator of light and all forms of energy; atoms and minerals comprising the heavens and earth; mover of the symphony in the heavens, maker of all the life systems of: plants, microbes, creeping things in water and land, insects, fish, fowl, wild and domestic animals, and humans.

Creation is built upon the Knowledge of God - His knowledge of all things.

Wisdom, Discernment and understanding

Creative ingenuity and resourcefulness

Prophecies and promises
A prophecy is the future told in advance by God through a prophet. Isaiah 48:3-5 & 2 Peter 1:19-21

God is revealed by the Testimony He gives - Who He is and what He stands for.  See: GOD

Basis of Communication and Fellowship

Honest and real

Testimony either oral & written

Based upon the Character of God - How He operates in all events.

Just and Right (love righteousness and hate iniquity)

Compassionate and merciful

Truthful and faithful

Universe is upheld by the Authority of God - His authority over all things.

King (duty and obligation to establish and administrate over principles of life) Deuteronomy 32:39 ("See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me.

I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.)

His creation is examined by the Authority of God - His authority as Judge (examination and judgment)

Executor and Restorer

God's concern for man is verified by Visits from God - What He is like.

Theophanies: to Adam (Genesis 3:8-21); to Abraham (Genesis 18:2-33); to Jacob, at Beth-el (Genesis 35:7,9);

to Moses, in the flaming bush (Exodus 3:2) and at Sinai (Exodus 19:16-24;24:10);

to Moses and Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:14,15); to Israel (Judges 2:1-5); to Gideon (Judges 6:11-24);

to Solomon (1 Kings 3:5;9:2;11:9; 2 Chronicles 1:7-12;7:12-22); to Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-5); to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

including the incarnation of Jesus (John 1:1 & 14-15, Matthew 1:18, 21-23, Luke 1:35, 2:6-13, 1 John 1:1-4 and Hebrews 1:1-3)

and the promised return of Jesus (John 14:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)


Belief in an ultimate creator.

Logically this follows:

A.  If God exists miracles will occur.

B.  A wise person bases their beliefs and choices upon the greater evidence.

Judaism with its miracles point to Jesus as the Christ.

Christianity is verified by miracles.


Miracles are acts of God

Miracles are often done through a prophet to confirm the prophet is speaking the word of GOD. The purpose of a miracle is to prove the authenticity of the prophet sent by God. The New testament records numerous miracles to establish and verify Jesus Christ is Lord over: nature (food, drink, wind and water), spiritual forces (demons and those possessed), health (paralysis, illness, genetic deformity, leprosy, etc.) and life or death itself (raised dead from hours to days later). Moreover, Jesus fulfilled supernatural predictions made by previous prophets to verifiy who He is.  —  (Check it out:   Messianic Prophecies & Evidence for God and the Bible)

Miracles satisfies these conditions:
Adapted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

1. It must be performed by God (and outside of human reproduction).

2. It must be contrary to the usual course of things (reverses or suspends usual processes or phenomena).

3. It should be impossible to contradict it (with event done before unbiased observers — they do not expect it).

4. It must happen at the hands of (or by the word of) him or her who claims to be a seer, a prophet, an apostle, or Lord of all.

5. It must be in conformity with his announcement of it (if any), and the miracle itself must not be a disavowal of the claim (results are just as stated and establishes any claims).

6. It must follow on his claim (and is not antecedent).
(The miracle comes in connection with the past or immediate message from GOD or through His mouthpiece.)

The New Testament is the most verified and reliable book of the ancient world.

Archeology and the Bible shows many validated people, cities and places. The New Testament shows the fulfilment of many Old Testament prophecies & Messianic Prophecies and includes prophecies spoken by Jesus Christ himself that were fulfilled during his ministry, false arrest, trials and subsequent crucifixtion.


Jesus used supernatural miracles to verify who He is.

Mary as mother knew who He was through virgin birth

Apostles accepted Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah during His ministry

Roman Centurion recognized who He was at death

Jesus death verified by modern medical authorities

Evidences of His resurrection

Evidence at the tomb

Touched by disciples

Ate with disciples

Spent forty days with disciples

Ascended in full view of disciples

Secular historians recognize Jesus See: Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Check it out:   Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ


References:

1. The Transcultural And The Multicultural, Mortimer Adler, p. 4, accessed September 2010

2. Truth In Religion: The Plurality Of Religion And The Unity Of Truth, Mortimer J. Adler.

3. Knowledge and Scepticism, Robert Nozick

4. Skepticism, Robert Nozick, p. 1

Resources:

1. Qualities of Truth, Jesus (as AJ), June 10, 2005 (suggests fifteen qualities)