What Is Truth?

Discussions pertaining to scripture and theology from a philosophical approach.

What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:36 pm

Pilate speaks!!! :o :shock: :P :twisted: lol I imagine this may have been tackled in a previous post on here at some point. If you Admins know of one please paste it on here. I am just thinking of all the variety of nuances within Christianity which claim to know the truth, who is Jesus. But, so many differences exist as well. Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. He asked God to sanctify His disciples in the truth, declaring *Thy Word is truth* How do you all make sense of this?? Is truth knowable in an absolute sense ever for us, or ist actually mostly relational and the more we experience the truth of God & Jesus relationally the more it will set us free?? Look forward to all your responses.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:36 pm

If I had to define "truth" with a single word, I would offer the word "reality."
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Cindy Skillman » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:19 pm

JESUS is the truth. Pilate asked, "What is truth?" while the only truth the world will ever know stood before him in the flesh. We don't, and we can't know the truth without knowing Jesus.
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Daniel (Da Pilgrim) » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:28 pm

I would say truth is more relational than absolute. If it were absolute then there wouldn't be various denominations believing different variants of the truth.
A good friend of mine is writing a philosophical exploration of a progressive and relational understanding of truth within and from Scripture. He says truth has a cognitive and relational aspect to it and we can fall into the trap of treating them as a dichotomy, when both are important and can be held together. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the topic headings of his series. I think you may find it helpful!

Here is the first of seven articles.
[url]
http://thebenevolenthecklers.blogspot.c ... pture.html [/url]

EDIT :

Sorry, I should have said "I would say truth is more relational than absolute... when acknowledging the notion that we have such a small and subjective experience/view of the gigantic universe our Creator has put together". In other words I cannot say that it is impossible for someone (like God) to know truth absolutely, but from our perspective it is extremely difficult to discern anything with certainty with absolute surety. Go where the evidence leads! Seeking God builds a deeper and fuller relationship with Him, but doesn't mean everything will be completely understood :)
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” - C.S. Lewis

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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:24 pm

To me, the truth is right before our very eyes. There is only one way to life , and that is by following the word of God, which is everything Jesus said and did. As we can see through observation of our own lives, the lives of others, and the world around us ,when we don't follow the word of God, it all falls apart.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:33 pm

Cindy and Daniel- thanks so much for those replies. Jesus definitely IS truth and is relational in having us know Him as truth.

LLC- my question to you is, what if we do not have a way to know the word of God so we can follow it?? Also, don't we always fall and stumble throughout life even whe nwe are following Jesus as we see Him because we are fallen humans?? Do you see our ability to grasp Jesus to be limited by our humanity and He will accept us fully even though we may never get to the point you are saying about keeping life from all falling apart??
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:37 pm

Robert, I would say that it helps to know Jesus, and what He said and did, in order to know the right way to live according to God. It saves us a lot of pain and grief in the long run if we should trust and live by His word. But even many who know the word of God ( the elect) are deceived or perhaps they fall asleep at the wheel per say. There are other ways in which we may come to know the truth. As Romans 1:19 says : " because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them." God has given us a heart and a mind, as well as eyes and ears. Again, as Romans 2:15 states, the conscience bears witness, as well as the works that we do (John 5:36). If the things that we do are not bringing joy, happiness, prosperity, etc. to our lives or the lives of others but instead are causing pain, destruction, etc. and wreaking havoc, then this is an indication that our ways are not good. We know how it feels when someone treats us badly. Why would we do this to someone else? Other people can also give testimony. Those that have "been there, done that" can tell you their stories whether to the good or bad. Observing how others live, for example-the life of an alcoholic, drug addict, etc., reveals a lot.

In answer to your other questions, I think one of the reasons God came to earth was to show us the right path by way of example, to make it simple and easy to understand. I don't think God ever expected us to be perfect. There is only One who is perfect and that is God Himself. But, yes we can follow what Jesus said and did, for He told us to do so ( Matthew 28: 19-20). This is righteousness, according to God, for us as humans.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:34 pm

Daniel- I browsed through the blogsite you shared. Great stuff mate :D ;) It really does have a lot to say about the discussion on this thread. I especially liked the post where the author talks about trhe way we read scripture as needing to be more than cognitive. We are definitely highly influenced by Greek thought as well as the Enlightenment still in our culture today. I think a lot more needs to be explored about how we know truth, which is Jesus, in ways other than with our intellect. It is a lil tricky to navigate because we must go through our minds in order to process whatever we are experiencing.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby maintenanceman » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:42 pm

Daniel (Da Pilgrim) wrote:I would say truth is more relational than absolute. If it were absolute then there wouldn't be various denominations believing different variants of the truth.
A good friend of mine is writing a philosophical exploration of a progressive and relational understanding of truth within and from Scripture. He says truth has a cognitive and relational aspect to it and we can fall into the trap of treating them as a dichotomy, when both are important and can be held together. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the topic headings of his series. I think you may find it helpful!

Here is the first of seven articles.
[url]
http://thebenevolenthecklers.blogspot.c ... pture.html [/url]

EDIT :

Sorry, I should have said "I would say truth is more relational than absolute... when acknowledging the notion that we have such a small and subjective experience/view of the gigantic universe our Creator has put together". In other words I cannot say that it is impossible for someone (like God) to know truth absolutely, but from our perspective it is extremely difficult to discern anything with certainty with absolute surety. Go where the evidence leads! Seeking God builds a deeper and fuller relationship with Him, but doesn't mean everything will be completely understood :)


Hi Daniel,
The tree of good and evil unfortunately somehow made truth a challenge... I have to disagree (respectfully) that God does (some how not) know all truth, and wants the best for all of His creation. I'm not sure I understand that the creator can not know the created creatures endeavors, but hey... that's what we are here discussing!

I think there is an absolute... we need to search and find it ... If possible!

Thanks,

Chad
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:56 pm

Yes, I would also have to say that there is an absolute truth. In the beginning, God established His laws and ordered all things, including the ways in which man should walk in order to live and have life on earth. God's word ( all that Jesus said and did) being that truth by which we should live. Take theft and murder for example, are these ever right? Man does these things, but it is neither right nor is it ever the right way to live.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:48 am

I think theft can sometimes be right. People under a vicious autocrat have stolen the autocrat's food in order to stay alive, or have stolen it in order to feed others.

Murder can never be right by its very definition: "immoral killing of human beings."
Killings in "just" wars are not considered to be murder by society, nor killing by an executioner carrying out the legal death sentence given to a person.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:17 pm

Paidion, The absolute laws of God, those that Jesus stated, apply to every human being. As in your example of the vicious autocrat, it is the autocrat who has broken the law of God and has taken that which did not belong to him, namely the life, liberty and property of another. Being that this autocrat has become a law unto himself in which there is no just law to appeal to, and one's life is in jeopardy; then if one takes back that which was rightfully his to begin with in order to avoid starvation, I would say that this would be the correct thing to do. Theft is still absolutely wrong according to God.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:15 pm

Jesus is Truth, as He declared Himself to be. My question is- how do we determine how to interpret what that means??? I think we want everything to be plain clear easy to understand but as our entire history of life shows, it has been anything but. Did Jesus mean truth is relational so by trusting Him we know truth?? Did He mean it as authoritarian??? Both??? How does our being *broken vessels* very weak and prone to stumble, affect our ability to know,feel,act on and with truth???
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Daniel (Da Pilgrim) » Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:27 pm

Excellent questions Robert!

Chad, you said "I think there is an absolute... we need to search and find it ... If possible!"

Interestingly I would have to agree with you, though you disagree with me?!?! ha ha. Maybe I will rephrase what I said. I do believe there is absolute truth, however I am not certain that we can Know it 100% in the scientific sense that people expect to know everything these days. Science is bogus because it results in infinite regress, and instead of describing fundamental causes it describes an endless chain of symptoms. Science observes patterns, not causes. Personally, I think science is more or less just a method for providing evidence for subjective conclusions. The key question which Robert posed (and yourself) is "Is it possible to Know truth". Obviously in the scriptures it says we can to a degree know, but I am not certain that this means in a reductionistic sense eliminating all possibilities of error. Biblically, we can "know" based on evidence and the work of the Spirit, which provides us with conviction and faith about the Word of God.

It really comes down to what we mean by "KNOW"? Obviously there is absolute truth out there, but accessing it can be a hard task. That is why I believe a relational view of truth is more useful for a Christian. That seems to be the way that Jesus interpreted the law.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:11 pm

Daniel wrote:It really comes down to what we mean by "KNOW"?


If Joe knows his wife in now in their house, then the following three statements must be true:

1. Joe believes that his wife is now in their house.
2. Joe's wife, in fact, is in their house.
3. Joe has sufficient evidence that his wife is now in their house.

Number 3 is the stickler. How much evidence is "sufficient" evidence?
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:16 pm

Cindy wrote:JESUS is the truth.


To say, "JESUS is the truth," is tantamount to saying, "JESUS is reality."
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:13 pm

Hi all- Wanted to come back & add to this a bit. I think a distintion has to exist between God & Jesus being absolute truth & our ability to comprehend and know it in full detail. All scripture is interpreted right?? So does God in His wisdom make it so we accept different interpretations without going into error??? When Jesus said * Thy Word is Truth* He leaves a lot of ambiguity does He not?? I interpret that there was death before sin occurred, mainly animals,dinosaurs,plants. A few hold no death occurred before sin because all was perfect before then. Is there a way for us to definitively say one is true??? I believe Truth is absolute & not relative but it seems for us as finite humans, God doesnt make it crystal clear for us to grasp that. What say ye??
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby St. Michael » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:19 pm

You can recognize truth by it's beauty and simplicity - Richard Feynman (Nobel Laureate in Physics)
I do not say we are called upon to dispute and defend the truth with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show by our lives that we stand on the side of truth. ~~ George MacDonald
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Daniel (Da Pilgrim) » Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:38 am

Robert, there should be a "like" function on here :) I enjoyed your comment...
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:56 pm

"Truth" is tantamount to "reality."
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:24 am

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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:50 am

LLC wrote:Paidion, The absolute laws of God, those that Jesus stated, apply to every human being. As in your example of the vicious autocrat, it is the autocrat who has broken the law of God and has taken that which did not belong to him, namely the life, liberty and property of another. Being that this autocrat has become a law unto himself in which there is no just law to appeal to, and one's life is in jeopardy; then if one takes back that which was rightfully his to begin with in order to avoid starvation, I would say that this would be the correct thing to do. Theft is still absolutely wrong according to God.


Are you sure that the laws of God are absolute—that they are meant to apply when there is a moral conflict. For example, is it wrong to lie in order to save a life? I say it is morally right to do so. For moral imperatives can be placed in a hierarchy. (This theory of morality is known as hierarchalism). Those behaviours near the top of the hierarchy take precedence over those lower down. For example, the moral imperative to save a life takes precedence over the moral imperative to refrain from lying.

Menno Simons (after whom Mennonites are named) lied to save his own life. An official who sought to kill him, caught up to his carriage one day and asked the driver whether Menno Simons was in the carriage. Menno was himself the driver. Menno shouted down to the occupants of the carriage, "Is Menno Simons down there?" Someone shouted back up, "No." Then Menno turned to the official and said, "No. Menno Simons is not down there."

Strictly speaking, Menno did not utter that which was false. Nevertheless he deceived the official into thinking that he was not in the carriage. And that's what lying is—deceiving. One can say what is true, and yet lie (if he is saying it to deceive). One can also say what is false and yet not lie (if he does not know it is false).
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:42 pm

Paidion, good point. Romans 5:13 says this: "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." One has to wonder what this means. Could it be just another way of saying all is fair in love and war?
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Sat Mar 26, 2016 4:27 pm

If "sin" is defined as "transgression of the law", then where there is no law, there is no sin.
In Canada and United States, if you drive through a red light (because no one at the intersection is coming from either left or right, and you are caught, you will be fined. But I understand that in Britain you can do this with impunity, since there is no law against it. So driving through a red light in Britain (if no one is coming from the left or the right) will not be counted against you.

I think Paul may have meant something along that line in his Rom 5:13 statement. Before the law was given, people were breaking what later became law. But it wasn't counted against them prior to the law.

In our day, "sin" is thought of as "immoral behaviour." With this concept of "sin" Paul's words have no meaning or do not apply.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:59 am

"Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain."- Charlie Chaplin


Speaking of truth and sin. A National Enquirer story says Ted Cruz has had multiple affairs. There is a BBC story entitled US Election 2016: Cruz blames Trump for 'tabloid smear'.

Image

Who is right :?:

    Ted Cruz :?:
    Donald Trump :?:
    National Enquirer :?:

Does that mean I shouldn't believe everything in respectable papers - like the National Enquirer :?: :lol:

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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby DaveB » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:13 pm

I think a good question is: What is Truth in THIS situation?

Not saying there is no 'True Truth" - but that the concept is often determined by the situation/language game/life experience etc.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby St. Michael » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:19 pm

the concept is often determined by the situation/language game/life experience etc.


That's an excellent point Dave and one that I agree with 100 percent. Truths clash and contradict. Reality is paradoxical. Truths do exist so it's not relativism.
I do not say we are called upon to dispute and defend the truth with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show by our lives that we stand on the side of truth. ~~ George MacDonald
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:47 pm

Paidion, I see what you are saying. Using the example of Jesus healing on the Sabbath, according to man, this was against their own self-imposed law. I was basically thinking more along the lines of God's laws. They do still apply to all men, believers or non-believers. Murder, for example is against the law of God. Should the murderer be killed in the process of bringing one to justice, this would not be considered a sin. For in the murderer's heart there is no law, or the law is being ignored.On a grander scale, where lawlessness rules e.g. evil dictators, or where all is in a chaotic state of war, I would say here again there is no law.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:11 pm

It's interesting how Philosophical News, Carm and Got Questions answered this:

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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Robert » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:11 pm

Hey Everyone- excellent comments shared so cool to read them all!!! @Paidion I would like you and others to expound more upon the idea behind Paul saying *where there is no law there is no sin* When God spoke to Cain about his anger and jealousy he had inside him after God accepted Abels offering over his, why did God say sin was lurking at the door but he must master it?? Also, in agreeing with you about how sin currently is mostly viewed as immoral behavior. How would you suggest we get back to a more comprehensive view of sin as paul intended and what would you say that is??
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:36 pm

They do still apply to all men, believers or non-believers. Murder, for example is against the law of God. Should the murderer be killed in the process of bringing one to justice, this would not be considered a sin.


LLC, the word "murder" means "immoral killing (of a human being)" and this is ALWAYS sin. God's law against murder always applies. No one who kills in self-defence or accidentally, would ever be said to have murdered.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby Paidion » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:47 pm

Hi Robert, you wrote:When God spoke to Cain about his anger and jealousy he had inside him after God accepted Abels offering over his, why did God say sin was lurking at the door but he must master it??


You will notice that the text doesn't say merely that God accepted Abel's offering over Cain's. Some people make the mistake of thinking that God wanted meat and rejected vegetables as an offering. The text says that God accepted Abel and his offering and did not accept Cain and his offering. Why did He not accept Cain and his offering? Because Cain was sinning. So God said to Cain, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do well, sin is lurking at your door but you must master it." Cain must cease to do evil and begin to do well consistently as Abel did. Then he and his offering would be accepted by God (even if they were vegetables). But Cain didn't change his ways. Out of his anger and jealousy, he killed his brother.
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Re: What Is Truth?

Postby LLC » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:51 pm

Paidion, From what you've said, it sounds like we both would agree that the law against murder is absolute. In applying this thought to the example you used in the case of Menno Simons, I suppose lying might be the same. He would be lying only to protect his own life against those who sought to murder him for no just reason. This could be considered self-defense.
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