Have you experienced a comment such as, “Well, 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 are true for me,” or “Christianity may be true for you, but it’s not for me.” We can get all kinds of questions about the truth and also lots of statements about the truth.
So, what is truth? How do you define it? It is something we face several or many times every day, and it applies to most things we are concerned with.
Here is one definition: “in accordance with fact” or “agrees with reality.”
It is also defined as “that which corresponds to its object” or “that which describes an actual state of affairs.” There are many more when you look for definitions in Webster’s Dictionary.
Dr. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek in their book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” provide some things about truth which we might not consider but need to be considered. 1. Truth is discovered, not invented. Example: Newton did not invent gravity, he discovered it. 2. Truth is transcultural, which weans that if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, and at all times. Example: 2 + 2 = 4, always. 3. Our beliefs might change, but truth does not. Example: People used to believe the earth was flat until they discovered it is round. 4. Truth is not affected by the one who denies it. It remains true.
There has been a statement made by those who dislike the truth. The statement is, “The truth is, there is no truth.” How can that be? The last four words in that statement, “There is no truth,” if that were true, then how can the first three words be true? It obviously can’t. They are self-defeating.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler in his book “Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America,” has one chapter titled the Post-Truth Era in which he quotes Ralph Keyes saying deception has become commonplace at all levels of contemporary life. Mohler says of Keyes, “He has pulled together an enormous body of evidence, all pointing to the pervasive rise of dishonesty in American life.”
Here are some of the “euphemisms for deception” which Keyes points out. He says, ”We no longer tell lies. Instead we ‘mispeak’, we ‘exaggerate’, we exercise poor judgment.” Keyes points out terms such as “poetic truth,” “nuanced truth,” “alternative reality” and “virtual truth” are used. He said terms like “euphemasia” “credibility gap” and Winston Churchill’s “terminological inexactitudes” are included.
Mohler quotes San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown as saying, “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t lie on their resume.” He also says Keyes reported an investigation by the General Accounting Office revealing 28 federal officials who did not actually hold the college degrees they claimed.
Mohler finishes the chapter of his book with, “As a culture, it’s about time we faced the truth about our acceptance of untruthfulness.”
How important is the truth? Is the doctor’s opinion after investigation of illness? Or bank accounts? Or contracts? Or lawyer’s and judges’ decisions? There are many of these kinds of things where truth is very important.
Where do we find truth? The president? Congress? TV? Newspapers? Speakers? Others? Our culture today has made this a serious question. I know of one source to be completely trustworthy — the Bible.
Do you remember when you and a friend were together and a subject of some kind came up upon which we had different views? The discussion on the topic could be thorough and interesting, but we could still be good friends. That might not happen today. We now have a growing problem called “the new tolerance.”
Today, instead of friendly discussion upon a subject of different views, we hear such comments as this: “No one has the right to tell me what is right and what is wrong,” or “I can’t tell you what is right or wrong, you must decide that for yourself,” or “It’s wrong to try to impose your morals on somebody else. We seem to have several forces in our culture which simply say, ‘this is the way it is going to be.’ ”
Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler in their book “The New Tolerance” say, “The result, of course, is the death of truth. Truth no longer exists as an objective reality in the world of the new tolerance, which means, in turn, that morality is dead as well.”
I’m sorry I can’t say this article is all in fun, but, from my reading, I find these topics are growing and need to be controlled. I hope these problems will be considered and controlled.
Arris Johnson is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.