Truth or Consequences pt 1
Even skeptics have faith. They have faith that skepticism is true. Likewise, agnostics have faith that agnosticism is true. There are no neutral positions when it comes to beliefs. As Philip Johnson so aptly put it, “[i] one who claims to be a skeptic of one set of beliefs is actually a true believer in another set of beliefs.” It is kind of like atheists who are naturally skeptical of Christianity turn out to be true believers in Atheism, Christians, who are naturally skeptical of Atheists are true believers of Christianity. “And never the twain shall meet.”[ii]
I shall propose that if an Atheist is presented with actual evidence and impartial facts, they really need a lot more faith to maintain their atheistic beliefs than Christians do in order to maintain theirs. We will start by discussing these particular points:
- Truth about reality is knowable.
- The opposite of true is false.
I am starting with the concept that a person does not know or even believe in truth. If the prevailing view of our current culture is right – that there is no truth– then we are rather stuck, in a bind. However, if there is truth, and that truth can be known, then we can go on to investigate the truth through a wide variety of concepts. If this line of reasoning is sound, it necessarily disproves other religions where they differ from the Bible. This does not mean that all other religions are completely false or that they have no truth. Nearly all religions have some truth. I am simply saying that if the Bible is true, then any particular claim that contradicts the Bible must be false.
Being a Christian I sincerely believe that we ought to live our lives based on truth. Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living.[iii] I believe that unexamined faith is not worth believing. Christians are not supposed to just have faith. Christians are commanded to know what they believe and why they believe it. We are commanded to give answers to those who ask (1Peter 3:15 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect). We are to provide defense in conceptual arguments against the Christian faith (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ). Using reason is part of the greatest commandment, which, according to Jesus, is to (Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”)
I believe that the evidence I have presented on Facebook postings and in my blogs shows that the Bible is true beyond a reasonable doubt however, no amount of evidence can compel anyone to believe it and belief requires assent not only of the mind, but also the will. (For a better understanding please read: https://iamnotanatheist.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/weight-of-evidence/ ). While many non-Christians have honest intellectual questions (which has led to worthwhile discussions and a new found respect for the others point of view on both sides), I have found that many more non-Christians seem to just have a built-in resistance to Christianity. It is not that they do not have evidence to believe, it is that they do not want to believe.
Many atheists, incorrectly believe, that accepting the truth of Christianity would require them to change their thinking, friends, priorities, lifestyle, or morals, and they are not quite willing to give up control over their lives in order to make those changes. They believe that life would be easier and more fun without such changes.
There is a difference between proving a proposition and accepting a proposition. I might be able to prove Christianity is true beyond a reasonable doubt, but only you, the nonbeliever, can choose to accept the proof. I can provide complete and total absolute proof that God exists, and Jesus is the son of God, but if you, the nonbeliever, honestly will answer no you will not believe it, then your resistance to Christianity is emotional or volitional not merely intellectual. No amount of evidence will convince you because evidence is not what is in your way. You are. Only you know if you are truly open to understanding of the evidence for Christianity.
If the Bible is true, then God has provided each of us with the opportunity to make an eternal choice to either accept him or reject him. In order to ensure that our choices are truly free, he puts us in an environment that is filled with evidence of his existence, but without his direct precedents – a precedent so powerful that it could overwhelm our freedom and prevent our ability to reject him. God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling.
In general, we demand the truth for just about every aspect of our lives that affects our money relationships, safety or health. Despite our demands for truth in these areas, many of us say we are not interested in the “truth” when comes to morality or religion. So why is it that we say, “that may be true for you but not for me.” Or rejection of religious and moral truths is off on volitional rather than intellectual grounds – we just do not want to be held accountable to any moral standards are religious doctrine. That allows us to blindly accept the self-defeating truth claims of politically correct in the intellectual’s who tell us that truth does not exist, everything is relative, there are no absolute, it is all a matter of opinion, you ought not to judge, religion is about faith, not facts.
To resolve our cultural schizophrenia, we need to address four questions concerning truth:
- What is truth?
- Can truth be known?
- Can truths about God be known?
- So what? Who cares about truth?
It is a truth can also be defined as “that which corresponds to its object,” or “that which describes an actual state of affairs.” Contrary to what is being taught in many public schools, and by most of our politicians, truth is not relative but absolute. If something is true, it is true for all people, at all times, in all places. All claims about truth are absolute, narrow, and exclusive. All truths, including religious truths exclude their opposites.
There are several other facts about truth:
- Truth is discovered, not invented it exists independent of anyone’s knowledge of it.
- Truth is transcultural; it is something is true it is true for all people, in all places, at all times.
- Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change.
- Beliefs cannot change a fact no matter how sincerely they are held.
- Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it.
- All truths are absolute truths even truths that appear to be relative are really absolute.
Contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible. We can believe everything or anything is true, but we cannot make everything or anything true. We have to be careful in identifying something that has become routine in our postmodern culture, and that is self-defeating statements. The self-defeating statement is one that fails to meet its own standard.
What I find absolutely amazing is that parents all over the world are paying thousands of dollars in college tuition so that their sons and daughters can be taught the “truth” that there is no truth, such as: “all truth is relative”, “there are no absolutes”, and, “it is true for you but not for me!” These so-called modern mantras are false because they are self-defeating.
Ideas have consequences. Good ideas have been consequences, and bad ideas have been consequences. False ideas about truth lead to false ideas about life in many cases the sauce ideas give apparent justification for what ends up being immoral behavior. If you eliminate the concept of truth, then you eliminate the concept of any true religion are any true morality. The elimination of truth and morality and religion has been going on for some 40 years now, and unfortunately, we as a nation in the world are suffering the consequences.
Truth exists it cannot be denied. Those who deny truth make the self defeating truth claim that there is no truth. So we will continue to explore the concept of truth or consequences in following posts.
[i][i] From the audiotape “Exposing Naturalistic Presuppositions of Evolution,” at Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 1998 Apologetics Conference. Iape AC9814. Posted online at www.impactapologetics.com.
[ii] Twain derives from the Old English twegen, meaning two. The phrase never the twain shall meet was used by Rudyard Kipling, in his Barrack-room ballads, 1892: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” Basically meaning two things which are so different as to have no opportunity to unite.
[iii] quoted in Plato, Apology, section 38.