The Truth About Truth

By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)

Is Truth What Works?We live in an interesting time in which many seem to reject the notion of absolute and objective truth. In fact, many consider it an arrogant thing to acknowledge both that there is an absolute truth and that we are capable of accessing it. We will be told by many that “there is no absolute truth!” Or, people will say that “truth is relative”, “what is true for you is true for you but not true for me.” The truth about truth however, is that this is not at all how truth works. Let us consider a few truths about truth so as to un-muddle this muddled view of truth.

First, it is important to understand that truth is discovered, it is not invented by the imaginations of individuals. Truth is not what we make it to be or how we may want to define it. Such an idea is silly and self-refuting. For instance, the truth that the earth is a sphere was not invented by human minds, but rather, discovered. There is truth out there to discover, and those truths are true even prior to our discovering them to be true.

Secondly, truth transcends culture. If something is true, then it is true for everyone everywhere regardless of their geographic location. If it is true that 4+4=8 in Puerto Rico, it is also true that 4+4=8 in Italy. Even the truth that I am now very cold is true everywhere. For someone in Italy, it is true that I (Eli Ayala) am experiencing the sensation of coldness. Hence, truth does not become untrue if we change geographic location. This would entail that what appears to be “relative truths” are in fact absolute truths.

Thirdly, truth is unchanging even if our beliefs about truth may change. With regards to the earth, people may have believed it was true that the earth was flat, but the truth that it is a sphere has always been true regardless of what people believed about the earth throughout history. Our beliefs have no bearing as to what is actually true. For instance, I may not “believe” that I have cancer, but, if it is the case that I do have cancer, then my belief about the situation does not change the truth of the situation.

Our attitudes have no bearing on the truth as well. If a person who is a jerk professes a truth, the fact that he is a jerk with a bad attitude does not make what he professes false. In like fashion if a humble and kind person makes an assertion, this fact does not make the assertion more true, since a jerk can profess something true, and a humble and kind person can be in error.

With regards to apologetics, if it is true that God does not exist, then Christianity is false even if I still wish it to be correct. The apostle Paul even stated, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Indeed, Christianity would be false if Jesus did not rise from the dead. However, if God exists and raised Jesus from the dead, then Christianity is true, and this is the case regardless of how one might feel about it.

This is why in Christian apologetics, we argue for the truth of the Christian position. And because Christianity is true, anything that is the negation of Christianity is false. And because the truth of Christianity has profound impact upon how we see the world and live our lives, its central message is of utmost importance, and it is for this reason, we proclaim the truth of the gospel and the Lordship of the risen Christ, and we do so within the context of a society which in many cases deny truth altogether. The church has its work cut out for it, but we do not engage the world on our own, but rather we go forth in the Spirit of Truth that is able to accomplish his purposes in the darkened world in which we find ourselves.

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