We need to define truth because if we start off with wrong or bad definition everything following will be flawed. We expect truth in almost every area of life (from our spouse, doctor, medicine bottle, news, etc.), but we don’t like truth regarding the area of morality. Yet, this is a very important part of life. I will get to the moral side of truth later, but for now here is a definition of truth.
The dictionary definition falls a little short, saying: The true or actual state of a matter. To add on to that: Truth is that which conforms to reality, that which really is, the absolute. Truth is an absolute, unchanging standard—something that is always right. A standard is a measure (like a ruler or tape measure) we use to judge, or reason, or make everyday decisions. Real truth does not change, if it does change it is not true. Or, to say it another way, truth is “telling it like it is.”
Here are some truths about truth from I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (it was just too good not to reprint in its entirety):
- Truth is discovered, not invented. It exists independent of anyone’s knowledge of it. (Gravity existed before Newton.)
- Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, and at all times (2+2=4 for everyone, everywhere, and at every time).
- Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change. (When we began to believe the earth was round stead of flat, the truth about the earth didn’t change, only our belief about the earth changed.)
- Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincerely they are held. (Someone can sincerely believe the world is flat, but that only makes that person sincerely mistaken.)
- Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it. (An arrogant person does not make the truth he professes false. A humble person does not make the error he professes true.)
- All truths are absolute truths. Even truths that appear to be relative are really absolute. (For example, “I, Frank Turek, feel warm on November 20, 2003” may appear to be relative truth, but it is actually absolutely true for everyone, everywhere that Frank Turek had the sensation of warmth on that day.)
Here is a ten minute explanation of truth by Frank Turek:
The truth is very narrow. It cannot be different one day and change the next.
Next time I will explain why Government cannot define truth. If you have questions please post the question or email me. I will try to answer your question.