What is Truth?
What is truth?
This is a question that has been asked for thousands of years. And people’s answers to this question are as varied and numerous the stars in the sky. But is there an answer to the question, ‘What is truth?’ Does it even matter if we answer that question? Can we all have our own truth? Can you have your truth and I have my truth?
Objective truth, subjective truth, and relative truth
What is Objective Truth?
Objective truth is that truth that is grounded in reality. Objective truth is true regardless of human opinion, observation, feelings or desire. For example, the Pacific Ocean is larger than the Great Lakes. Objective truth is what science tends to focus on. Objective truth is true no matter what humans believe or say. It is objective truth that the earth is a sphere even though for thousands of years people believed it was flat.
What is Subjective Truth?
Subjective truth and relative truth are very similar, and some would say that they are the same thing. These are truths that are based on the subject’s perspective, opinions, feelings, or beliefs. From the perspective of someone standing on the earth, the sun is small, even though objective truth knows that the sun is massive compared to the earth. Subjective or relative truth is where the idea of ‘your truth- my truth’ comes from. If my view of reality differs from yours, we may then extract different truths from our differing viewpoints.
Can different truths be true?
This is where this debate usually starts to heat up. No one would argue that it is possible to have differing opinions, feelings, or desires on virtually every facet of life. My wife says chocolate ice cream is the best, and I say anything with caramel is the best. That is our subjective reality. There is no conflict because it really doesn’t matter what we prefer – we can both have what we want.
It starts to become an issue when a moral element is applied to the conversation. It is when truth is dealing with what is right or wrong, good versus evil, or good versus bad that truth becomes vitally important. My preference of ice cream flavors is morally neutral. There are some things that are not morally neutral, like murder.
Many people my age grew up believing that sex outside of marriage was morally wrong. But, for me, that was a subjective truth – it was what I was raised to believe. It was not based upon an objective truth that existed outside of human opinion. After I grew up, my opinion on that topic changed and it was no longer wrong to me.
As I changed, so did my opinions, desires, feelings, and viewpoints – my truths changed. And if I had continued down that pathway they would still be changing and not for the better. Deep down I sensed I needed something more solid than the shifting sands of relative truth – I needed and desired objective truth. I did eventually come to understand that there was an objective moral truth that sex outside of marriage is wrong.
Is there a source of objective moral truth?
Is there somewhere someone can turn to determine what is morally right, good, and true? Yes, it is God’s Word. God is in all ways morally good, right, and true. He inspired the writers of the Bible to record His words to help us know Him and to know objective moral truth.
Does it matter if ‘my truth’ is true?
Most people are living their ‘own truths’. Why shouldn’t you do the same thing? We believe the Bible is objective truth. In God’s Word we learn that He created us to flourish from within a relationship with Him and in accord with His revealed objective moral truth. A quick glance around our culture will reveal that those living their ‘own truths’ rarely flourish. We can also see growing conflicts between groups with different truths. The peace, prosperity, and flourishing that most people desire elude them because the ‘truths’ they cling to are not true.
The old TV show X-Files had the tagline: “The truth is out there!” The truth, objective moral truth is not ‘out there’. It is not something that has to be searched for. It is easy to find. It is in a book. If you want to know the truth, the truth that doesn’t change with the culture, or with your changing feelings, or based on public opinion, open the Bible. On its pages you will discover the truth that will set you free to flourish. The truth matters!
What is truth at CCFV?
Because we believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word and the source of all objective moral truth, we teach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible. Our goal is to help you understand what God said. We try not to tell you how to live or what you should do or don’t do. The truth, rightly understood, will guide people toward right living. Click the link if you would like to watch a message from a recent series. Watch a teaching from CCFV!
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