Now that we have a definition of truth: That which conforms to reality. Let us address why Government cannot define truth.
Often how truth is measured depends on one’s worldview. A worldview is the basic assumptions one has to understand the world (Who am I, why am I here, and where am I going?). Or the lens we use to interpret information. Secular Humanism, Marxism/Leninism, Cosmic Humanism (New Age), Islam, and Christianity are the main views which influence the United States.1
Some people say there is no absolute truth, but saying there is no truth is a self defeating statement because it is stating an absolute. We must have standards which align with truth. If there is no standard we cannot have justice (we cannot judge anything by a standard). We cannot have laws (because you may not believe the law is true). And we cannot have a government because what government says might conflict with someones personal choice of right and wrong. The majority opinion would not carry the day. Each individual would be left to do what they want. Society would fall into chaos.
You may be asking, “Why can’t government or society make or set the standard of truth?” Answer: Both society and government are made of people (this is why blaming society for problems is a cop-out, but I digress). People can’t be the standard of truth because, people change their minds. People have different standards, different opinions, different thoughts, and different reasons. In addition, no person, group, or government knows everything. In other words, they can be wrong. They can only set a standard based on what seems right at the time. There is no way people can set up or chose the standard of truth. Slavery was the law of the land wasn’t it? Child killing (abortion) is the law of the land, right?
Government and society are made up of people. This is why government and society cannot be the standard of truth. If you say that may be true for you but not true for me, you are stating your opinion, not necessarily the truth.
Let’s look at this from the other side. If there is no absolute truth, nothing is right or wrong, every choice is morally neutral (morality actually does not exist). If this is the case, there are no consequences. Murder is not wrong, it just is—an action of one person towards another. The same goes for giving food to a starving person, slavery, and all the other good and bad moral issues we know about. If there is no truth, Hitler and Mother Teresa are no different. Truth is not an opinion, it is the same no matter what we think about it. We don’t even have to like the truth or agree with it, but not liking or not agreeing with truth does not change it.
Next time we will examine how the conscience bears witness to the existence of truth.
If you have questions please post the question or email me. I will try to answer your question.
1 For more on this topic read Understand the Times by David Noebel.