Saturday, October 29, 2016

What is Truth? The Answer to the Age-Old Question

Historical and Philosophical Perspective
In the Christian scriptures, the roman ruler Pilate is quoted as asking the age-old question "What is truth?" in John 18:38. Through the years, many have claimed they have "the only truth". I want to caution you to beware of people who claim there is only one truth - and especially to be aware of the human tendency to believe you are always right.


It is a fact of life that truths we once held dear change. Whether because of age and experience, or whether it is because we learn more, change is a fact of life. Likewise is our understanding of a subject. We have seen this in the world of religion especially. Martin Luther, the world-famous reformer of Catholicism into Protestantism was himself in doubt on his deathbed as to his statements on the book of James. He had held, through many lectures and books, that faith needed no works, and was infuriated over the book of James.

Nonetheless, his deathbed doubts didn't reform Protestantism. It is unknown to most that he even had such doubts, and that is probably for a very good reason. People didn't like the implications.

Truth In Your Own Life
The same can happen if you hold a religious view as "the ultimate truth." You end up disregarding everything that contradicts your opinion. Not necessarily from a conscious standpoint, but simply because you are in a safe "comfort zone" when you know what you believe.

This is one of the primary reasons why thinkers are a hated people. Philosophers and thinkers have no preconceived ideas. That is why they are thinkers. They dare to think.

In a similar way, many Christian groups have preconceived ideas about the Bible. When faced with new views, many react with negative sentiments because it causes insecurity to even consider being wrong...

Why is it we humans are afraid of change? Simply because our comfort zone is built using little boxes in a jigsaw puzzle. If some of those boxes change shapes, we are somehow afraid it will destroy the whole puzzle. Instead of just realizing we just need to readjust the complete image, people react in the opposite way.

This is caused by exactly the same dynamics as why habits are so difficult to remove. We get set in our beliefs, and if we are not careful we might end up losing the first joy of affirming what we know. If we set ourselves a goal of always searching whether these things are really so, we will be much more open to change in the future.

So the answer to the age-old question "what is truth?" is to say there are no absolute truths, but there are assumptions as to what that truth could be - but that we are willing to examine whether we are right at all times. That would make us less defensive when our beliefs are challenged.

No comments: