This question has been around for a long time. What is truth? You might remember Pilate asked that question of Jesus many years ago. Today, we have a number of other pertinent questions related to that same question.
Truth has been seen by many, all of them giving the definition in various ways. Aristotle felt truth relies on the actual existence of the thing that a thought or statement is about. Therefore, if you tell it like it is, then it is true. St. Thomas Aquinas said, "Truth is defined by the conformity of intellect and thing; and hence to know this conformity is to know truth."
G.H. Moore, a contemporary philosopher, said it another way: "When the belief is true, it certainly does correspond to a fact. And when it corresponds to a fact, it certainly is true. And similarly when it is false. And when it certainly does not correspond to any fact; and when it does not correspond to any fact, then certainly it is false."
One more philosopher, Bertrend Russell, said it very well. He said, "The first truism to which I wish to draw your attention is that the world contains facts which are what they are whatever we may choose to think about them, and that there are also beliefs, which have reference to facts, and by reference to facts are either true or false."
The above references to the truth are from Josh McBowell's book, "The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict."
We have a problem that is rampant in our culture today, which argues against truth.
It is called "relativism." To quote again from McDowell's book a definition of relativism by another philosopher, Trueblood, it is "there is no objective standard by which truth may be determined, so that truth varies with individuals and circumstances."
Mortimer Adler, philosopher, said: "We may differ in our judgment about what is true, but that does not affect the truth of the matter itself."
We have all heard statements such as, "It may be true for you, but it's not for me" or "Don't force your values on me. Just because they are true for you doesn't mean they're true for me." The one which really strikes me is the one that says, "The truth is there is no truth."
That one can't make sense at all because if you believe the last four words of that sentence ("there is no truth") how can the first three words ("the truth is") be true?
In the year 2005, David Kupselian manager of World Net Daily, one of the world's largest news websites, produced the book "The Marketing of Evil." This book, endorsed by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a globally recognized Presbyterian minister and holder of five graduate degrees, with these words: "This is a remarkable book. Here, between two covers, author David Kupelian dissects and exposes the brilliant and malign techniques employed by merchants of evil who sell us corruption disguised as freedom." '
The book covers a number of topics including such topics as gay rights, church-state separation, selling sex to children, destroying marriage and several others.
I have chosen the topic of abortion to show how the issue of truth versus lies have been and are being now used to sell a topic.
It was during the 1960s when there was both legal and moral condemnation of abortion that a handful of dedicated activists launched their campaign for changing pubic opinion and also to change the nation's laws. Their original slogans began with "freedom of choice" and "Women must have control over their bodies,"
Dr. Bernard Nathanson said, "I remember laughing when we made those slogans up. We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion."
Nathanson was a co-founder of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and a principal architect and strategist of the abortion movement.
Nathanson is quoted as saying, "Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the lactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure to the media repeatedly was 1 million. Repeating the big lie often convinces the public."
"The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 to 250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.
"Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization."
How important is truth? How effective is truth or a lie? And, how do we know and discover the difference? I believe that we need to be very alert because, as we all know from what is happening in our culture today, we need to stand up for what is true. I believe the story above demonstrates our need for truth.
Quotations above were fron Kupelian's book, "The Marketing of Evil."
Arris Johnson is a member of The Hays Daily News Generations advisory group.