Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Value of Absolutes

Read the prior message in this series: "The Nature of Truth"

Until our conscience is informed by truth based on absolutes, we are destined to wallow around in the quagmire of post-modern relativism and situational ethics. Unless we operate from absolutes, we'll continue to be distracted and divided by preference and conviction. Without absolutes, there is no measure for right or wrong. Without absolutes, all opinions are morally justified.

In a world of absolutes there will still be differences of opinion, differences in convictions, and differences in culture that impact how and why we choose to believe and behave the way we do. There may also be passionate disagreement on what the true absolutes really are. This is why the most important question after "What is truth?" is "By What Standard?"

Read the next message in this series: "By What Standard?"

[Aside: The comment below by JRae led to an interesting exchange of ideas which is posted as a 5-part set of linked blog entries on "Being a Truth Seeker."]

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Nature of Truth

Read the prior message in this series: "What is Truth"

If truth is defined as conformance to reality, it assumes an objective reality "out there" with which to conform. My truth seeking adventure is all about discovering this objective reality, both the natural and supra-natural. (Methodological materialists un-necessarily rule out the supra-natural by definition. This is an arbitrary and mistaken approach to seeking Truth.)

Rene Descarte's famous cogito ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am" in Latin) expressed his methodology of following the path of doubt all the way down to the bottom. He systematically doubted everything until he got to the end of the line. The one thing he discovered he couldn't doubt was that he was doubting. After hitting this bottom he proceeded to build up an entire worldview starting from cogito ergo sum. DesCarte started from the basic axiom that he was a rational being capable of logic and perception.

Being a bit of a skeptic myself, I start here too. We can go a long way from this point on just two basic axioms. My friend Dr. Tom Pittman eloquently outlines his logical path in his essay on "What's Really Important." As Dr. Pittman points out, moral absolutes provide a compass to truth. Without such absolutes we pretty much lose hope of knowing anything at all. Perhaps this is why atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared God dead and eventually went insane. Once you give up absolutes, nihilism is the logical outcome. At least Nietzsche was being consistent with his (mistaken) beliefs. Apart from moral absolutes, life is meaningless. (Read the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes for a great treatise on the meaninglessness of life.)

Unfortunately, even if we agree on the necessity of absolutes, we run into trouble past this first step. All of us have our own perspectives and opinions. We each interpret reality through our personal experiences and beliefs. That is the best we can do alone. This is why I say the quest for Truth is not a solo venture. We must work through this interpretation of reality problem in community with other truth seekers.  We may disagree on some of the particulars, but if we have the same basic assumptions we should be able to find unity in the truth. If we agree to disagree we either have different basic assumptions, or we're not being honest.

Absolute truth is offensive to many people because tolerance has supplanted truth as the highest virtue in our post-modern society. My intent is not to offend. I hope to prove that absolutes are not only necessary, but the only rational path to discovering truthful answers on the meaning of life. I hope to persuade you to reject relativism and embrace Absolute Truth.

Read the next message in this series: "The Value of Absolutes"

Monday, January 24, 2005

What is Truth?

Read the prior message in this series: "Introduction"

"What is Truth?" Pontius Pilate asked Jesus this question in John 18. It may have been a rhetorical question or even a dismissive retort, but ironically Pilate was looking in the face of Truth Incarnate. What a missed opportunity!

Pilate may have been too worried about his own predicament to carefully consider the answer to his own question. The Jews had him in a pickle. If he let Jesus go he would be accused of disloyalty to Caesar, but if he gave in to the Jews clammoring to crucify Jesus, he would be condemning an innocent man. He tried to wash his hands of the incident, but church tradition tells us this event plagued him the rest of his life.

I hope to learn from Pilate's mistake. I never want to be too busy or too caught up in my own problems to miss the Truth like Pontius Pilate did. Too much is at stake. And, I hope to convince you it is worth your time and effort to slow down long enough to really ponder the answer to this deceptively simple little question.

So, what is truth? The best and most concise definition I've heard is "conformance to reality." But what does that really mean? Is this just philosophical mumbo jumbo? How does this little philosophical question of "What is Truth?" make any difference in my life? Well, that's what I'm hoping to show you as this blog progresses.

Read the next message in this series: "The Nature of Truth"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to the new blog format for I started this web site in February of 1999 before blogging was really a thing. The blogosphere had not yet fully developed, and if you wanted to participate you had to do it yourself. But it wasn't long until blogging services emerged, and being a Google fan, I moved a lot of my content to Blogger in 2005 because I was tired of maintaining my own web site. I've had hosted with Blogger ever since.

As you might expect from the blog title, discovering truth is an essential part of my life. You might even say discovering truth is the most important part of my life. I strive to discover truth, apply truth, and live by truth in every area of my life. It is my highest value. Discovering truth is not a solo venture. I value my community of family and friends who join me on this life-long journey of seeking and discovering truth. I invite you to join me in this quest by reading along and engaging with comments in this blog format.

Read the next entry in this series: "What Is Truth?"

If we know the truth, the truth will set us free!