What is Truth? Is there Truth?

John 18:37-38 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

The question Pilate asked is the question that many people are asking. With everyone telling you something different you wonder if there is any truth and if there is can you really find it. Some say that you cannot really discover truth but as we will see that is not the case.

Pilate had truth standing right in front of him and he missed it because he was blinded by the worlds philosophies and confusion. People miss it today as well because people are not looking for the truth or they are just too busy to stop and really ask and ponder the difficult questions about life. It is not until something comes a long like a death or near death experience that people pause to discover what life is all about.

Most people believe we have a spiritual side to us and that we go somewhere when we die, but that no definite assurance of what lies beyond this life can be known.

People utter the phrase “What is true for you may not be true for me” as a way out of really trying to discover what may be true about our spiritual lives especially after we pass from this earth. Many people use the elephant illustration that talks about blind men walking up to an elephant and telling what they believe it is. One thought the tusk was a spear. One thought the trunk was a snake. One thought the leg was a tree trunk. One thought the tail was a rope and one thought the side was a wall. So people have repeated that over and over again describing how our spiritual lives our and how we are either right in some aspect or all wrong on some degree. The goal is to make it as though all the religions have their veiw but are not correct on every aspect. The reality is that even in the illustration it is known they are touching an elephant so the story itself says that the truth is out there and someone holds the truth and it can be known. So if someone could explain to the blind men what they are touching then they could come to a full understanding of the truth.

Myths about Truth

Myth One: Thinking you know the truth is arrogant and intolerant

Response 1: Truth is discovered not invented

We too can see the truth in religion. Unfortunately, many of us who deny there’s truth in religion are not actually blind but only willfully blind. We may not want to admit that there’s truth in religion because that truth will convict us. But if we open our eyes and stop hiding behind the self-defeating nonsense that truth cannot be known. Then we’ll be able to see the truth as well.” (Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, pg 49)

The Law of Gravity might have been named and discovered but it always existed. It was always a truth that what comes up must come down but the truth of that was discovered by Isaac Newton. So if that truth always existed and just not named or discovered why can we not believe that God can show us the truth? Christians believe that God has continually given us the truth through Jesus Christ , His word and His creation. The evidence has always been clear that God has been describing who He is and how the world operates.

 

Response 2: That is not how life works

We expect truth from every area of our lives including our Children and Spouse . We expect Truth from our Doctor,  our Mechanic and the airline we are flying on.

To say that you are arrogant for knowing the Truth is just a tactic to keep from facing the truth or from discovering what the truth really is.

2 + 2 = ________ If you answered 4 then you are arrogant. You are not arrogant for saying the answer is 4 you would be correct. There is a difference between being correct and arrogant.

The reason most people shy away from having a stance anymore, especially in the area of our spiritual lives,  is because horrible tragedies have been done to others who did not agree with their stance. Just because some people took their correct views and used them for evil purposes does not mean that we should not claim the truth.

“Arrogance doesn’t come from having convictions about the truth; it comes from having the wrong convictions about how to treat people who don’t share it with you. Humility doesn’t come from not having any convictions; it comes from having the right convictions about the importance of gentleness and respect.” (J. Budziszewski, How to stay a Christian in College, pg. 82)

1 Peter 3:15-16 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

 

Myth Two: The important thing in life is not having truth but searching for it.

Response: Really?

I have seen an episode of bearing sea gold and I am pretty sure that it is not the search for gold that keeps them going but actually finding it. We might think this sounds good to all be on a journey of discovery but if it leads to a dead end or to the wrong conclusion than it will only leave you empty and unsatisfied with life.

Myth Three: Faith hinders the search for truth because it gets in the way of reasoning.

Response: Everyone accepts some things by faith

The Christian community takes criticism because people think science is not by faith. Scientist believe matter is all there is and that is always existed. How did they come to that conclusion? What is the scientific experiment that helped them come to that conclusion? They cannot scientifically prove that hypothesis so they have to accept it by faith.

So to be told that faith hinders the search for truth is wrong because everyone practices a level of faith in their research.

 

Myth Four: There isn’t any truth or if there is we cannot find it

Of course when people say there isn’t any truth many times they are saying that it is difficult to know who is telling the truth and would rather not worry about it. It could be because they are so busy just going through life that they do not want to be bothered with such a question that may cause more unpleasantness in their life. What most people mean by this statement is that there is no certain way that you can know for sure you have found truth especially dealing in  matters of the afterlife.

Response 1: To say there is no truth is a truth claim

If someone says there is no truth then ask them if that is true.

If there is no truth then why do you call the police when someone steals your car? Your truth may be it is bad to steal but someone else’s truth may mean it is alright to steal on certain occasions. Situational ethics is what people claim when they want to bend their own beliefs to fit their desires at this time.

Response 2: Then why study anything?

If there is no truth then why should you go to school? Why should any Teacher or Professor who believes this stand in front of a class and teach? Your math teacher teaches not on the basis of nice thoughts, but on facts, and facts they believe to be true.

We tell people that there is no right or wrong and then get upset when they do something we find wrong. We have a double standard

Myth Five: Truth is whatever you sincerely believe

The majority of our society has bought into the idea that you can just believe whatever you want as long as you believe it wholeheartedly. Stephen Colbert on his hit show “The Stephen Colbert Report” demonstrated that with his comments and his made up word called “Truthiness”

“It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but no their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything… Truthiness is what I say is right, and nothing anyone else says could possibly be true. It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel It to be true.” Stephen Colbert from the Colbert Report October 17, 2005

Response: Truth is absolute regardless of what I believe

People that are in mental hospitals sincerely believe they are superman or batman but that does not make it true.  Facts are what makes something true not the way you feel about them.

 

Myth Six: Truth is what you accept or whatever works.

Communitarianism: is the belief that whatever a society determines as truth is truth.

The Vikings agreed that the earth was flat and Hitler and the Germans agreed that the Jews should be killed. Each one of those societies believed something that was false but they all accepted it as truth.

Response: Truth applies to all cultures at all times and all places

The earth was round no matter what the Vikings believed or what they agreed on. The killing of millions of Jews was wrong for Hitler and the Germans regardless if they believed it to be better for society. A society cannot determine its own truth because truth is the same no matter what culture you are in.

“ To ask whether a statement is true isn’t to ask whether it works but whether it’s accurate, whether its factual, whether what it says is so. (J. Budziszewski, How to stay a Christian in College, pg.92)

Why Should I care about Truth?

1)   For our Sake

When you read the Bible do you seek out what it is saying to you or are you looking to see how you can justify your life?

This is the danger when we say things like “This verse means to me” or ” I Believe this verse really means”. There is a danger in studying God’s word and not allowing the truth to come out but only what we want out of it. This is happening in our culture more and more as people are trying to make the Bible fit our cultures whims rather than letting it speak for itself, whether the culture agrees with it or not.

“Most Christians are not looking to the biblical text in order to know the truth; they are actually looking for “their truth”. …The problem is that many people simply hear the truth through their own “filter” which, strongly influenced by a postmodern culture, tells them that all truth is subjectively and personally determined.” The Unshakable Truth, Josh and Sean McDowell, pg. 42)

We have to make sure that we do not allow the deceptive philosophies of this world to sneak into our churches or our lives. We have to guard ourselves that we do not make scripture say something it is not saying especially when it is to ignore a sin that is clearly described in the Bible.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

2)   For the Sake of Others

Our concern should always be about others and our society needs those who call themselves Christ followers to be the ones who stand firm in pointing people to the truth. We learn the truth so that we do not fall into traps but also so we can help them see the errors of their ways.

Also, everyone who hears about Jesus Christ does so with some background and ideas that cause them to see God and or Jesus in a distorted way. Whether it was another Christian who did them wrong, a church that mistreated them or if it is just what they know about God through the media.

As a Christian telling others that the way they believe is wrong is not accepted because it is no longer tolerance to disagree but tolerance means that I have to accept every belief system as true.

Recently there was a controversy over Chik-fil-a comments about their view of marriage. According to our societies way of thinking then the comments should have just been accepted at face value for what they believe. Instead they were faced with criticism.

Dan Cathy We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

So why are Dan Cathy statements not accepted as what he truly believes? If there is no truth then why should people get upset at another’s concepts of marriage?  Why do people even care what the Bible says?

One of the things in our society is sneaking into Christianity and that is I do not want anyone telling me how to live. One of the most famous verses used against Christians is in Matthew 7.

 Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

People throw this verse out when they do not want to talk about their lifestyle and how it is wrong. The reason they do not want to be judged because if they are not judged then they feel better about what they are doing and can continue to do and live how they wish regardless of the outcomes.

Judging was first about not judging motives and had nothing to do with actions. Verse 5  says that we can point out others problems but only  after we treat ourselves. So the very passage that says do not judge is actually saying we should help people who have areas in their lives that are a problem.

These verses are not saying to not judge outward actions but only the motives of someone. We do not know what people are thinking but by their actions we can judge if what they are doing is wrong. We do this with our children, our employees and even our neighbors. The Bible does not say it is wrong to not correct someone who cannot see the splinter in their own eye, the Bible is saying to focus on your own problems first so you can better help them with theirs.

We have a responsibility to those around us to tell them the truth but we need to do it in such a way that they know that we are only saying it because we love them and want what is best for them.

Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

3)   Truth is a person

John 14:6-7 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John 14: 16-18 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.

It has been and always will be about a relationship with Christ that people need. To have no truth means there is no sin, to have no sin means you do not need a savior.If Sin disappears then Grace disappears. When people say that there is no truth then they take away the need for Jesus to step in and save them. When people do not see that they are in danger that it becomes a even more treacherous situation.

Truth matters because Jesus is the Truth and for people to be in a right relationship with God they have to know the truth of Christ.

Christianity is about the death of Christ for our sins. (Romans 3:25) which is activated when we Repent of our sin (Luke 5:32; Acts 3:19) which means we are Free from God’s wrath (John 3:36; Romans 5:9) because we are justified before God (Romans 5:16) bringing us to Reconciliation with God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

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