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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Truth is Determined, Not Discovered.

We live in an age that is characterized by denials of the reality of truth. To our postmodern apologists, “truth” is not discovered, but rather is determined by each individual. In other words, truth is not truth for everyone; it is only truth for a particular person or cultural group. It is not uncommon to hear statements like “you have your truth and I have mine.” Consequently, we are told that, since absolute truth does not exist, we must not condemn or judge anyone negatively who holds to a different set of values. We are to “tolerate” all views, since there is no one view of the world that is right. Those who claim to be “right” in their view of the world are demonized. They are the bigots of this world. (In other words, we can tolerate all views, unless those views are completely intolerant!)

Logically, this kind of thinking is nothing but nonsense. And I mean that in the true sense of logic. There is a fundamental principle by which all logical thinking conforms; it is inescapable. This principle is known as the “law of non-contradiction.” This says that no two contradictory statements can both be true at the same time and in the same exact sense (A is not non-A). This is inescapable because should people try to deny it, they would be confirming it through their denial. How so? If you were to say, “The law of non-contradiction is false,” you would be arguing true verses false; but any argument about that which is true or false necessarily employs the law of non-contradiction. Without this fundamental principle, you could not draw any conclusions about reality; you could not say that anything is true or false. To argue against it is to assume that it is a valid principle.

Further, when one denies the reality of truth, that person necessarily assumes that some truth exists; otherwise he/she would not be in a position to say that something exists or does not exist as a part of reality. When we say that one thing is false, we necessarily are saying that something else (i.e., the opposite) is true. So once again, to deny the reality of truth, one must assume that some truth actually does exist. That is why a denial of truth is pure nonsense. It forces one to be self-contradictory. If someone says that there is no such thing as “truth,” we would respond by asking, “Is that a true statement?”

“Truth” is a statement or expression that corresponds to its object. When speaking of reality, a statement is true if it corresponds to reality. And reality, as does truth, exists independent of our perceptions. In other words, truth is truth whether we accept it or not; reality is real whether or not we believe it. The existence of truth is therefore undeniable. Anyone who argues otherwise is engaging in logical nonsense.

This is the same problem when one argues against “absolutes.” “There are no absolutes” is a self-defeating and illogical statement. Just ask, “is that an absolute statement?” and you’ll see the point. If it is an absolute statement, then it contradicts itself; if it is not an absolute statement, then it is false. Either way, it is false.

So now the question is not “does truth really exist?” but rather “which world view best corresponds to truth?” In order to answer that, we must have some idea about what reality is. This may not be an easy pursuit, but at least when we accept the existence of truth and reality, we are in a position to actually search for it.

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