T Nation

What Is Truth?


Thanks to Vroom and his companions, I am starting this thread to gather your ideas to this one question. This question was asked by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to Jesus Christ just before He was sent to the cross. It really is the question of the ages.

The question simply is: "What Is Truth?"

What is absolute truth? Is there any such thing as absolute truth? Where does truth come from? Who determines what is true? Is all truth just relative -- what is true for you, is good for you, but not necessarily truth for me, etc?

To begin, as many of you probably know, I am a Bible-believing, born-again Christian. My faith is in the God of the Bible and His Word. God is the source of absolute truth and He has placed within us the ability to know moral truth through our consciences.

Is it any wonder that the English legal system (which is also the basis for our legal system) is based upon God's moral law as given in the Hebrew Scriptures (The Old Testament)? Why would that be?

I want to emphazise that ALL opinions are welcome here. Unlike Vroom's thread on his "four principles," where they absolutely do not want to hear from people of faith -- well at least not from Christians -- I welcome all opinions for discussion.

I think we can learn much from each other, and I will admit my faith in God is strong, but I would appreciate your thoughts on this important question of What is truth?


Steveo, you tard, this is a good and interesting topic. It's just not the topic I was trying to discuss in my thread.


The ten commandments are just a reiteration of old, obvious laws that were around since before humans. They're abvious laws of nature, most of them.


Hey Vroom, whatever. You and everyone's opinions on this topic are welcome. However, please read your own thread and how I was treated when I asserted my faith. It is my opinion that you cannot have a discussion on moral, ethcial and truthful issues without a disussion of absolute truth, which has to come from somewhere.

Anyway, no problem. I want darken your thread, but some of the comments after my last post were really nasty.

Anyway, if you have something to add to this discussion, then bring it on.


In this context, truth is a difficult concept. We even have to get stuck in the fact that if two or more people are perceiving reality, they may in fact perceive it differently.

Even religion is open to many different interpretations, even by those that really are well-meaning and pious individuals. How can mankind ever really know truth?

This is doubly difficult since all accounts of any divinely inspired truth are filtered by an account given by one and accepted by another. By design humans simply can never achieve perfection, and so any initial truths given in this way must inherently be clouded.

It may be impossible for humankind to ever truly know any absolute truths... even though they may at times be shared with us.


I accidently responded in Vroom's 4 principles thread. Here is what I posted:

"Steveo, are saying that there are only atheists and Christians in the world? You also said that only those who know God can find truth - does this mean that Buddhists, Hindus and other devout, spiritual people cannot find the truth? Steveo, this is discrimination of the worst kind."

By implying that all non-christians are athiests, you are the one who is disrespectful of people of faith (faiths other than yours). I saw the Dalai Lama speak this winter, and when asked why Buddhism is the best religion, he responded that there is no best religion. He said that religion is like a medicine, and that some medicines are best for some people, and other medicines are best for other people. When religion turns into elitism, it stops being about love and acceptance and instead becomes about hate.


Perhaps it would be because it isn't...

English common law originated from a combination of Anglo-Saxon and Norman law while the island of Britain was in fact, quite Pagan. It was obviously later influenced by Christianity over time, however, it is mostly based on custom and usage.

As for the idea of absolute truth...I would find it quite comforting.

Please prove ANYTHING to be absolutely true.


Truth is whatever you or I or anyone believes. I have no problem with christian beliefs. What I despise is that christians feel it necessary to try and impose those beliefs on others. This is a fact it can't be disputed.
I find it hilarious that a christian is upset about not being able to state his beliefs. The christians have in fact a terrible track record as far as tolerance is concerned.



Please be careful to quote me accurately. I never said that there were only Christians and atheists in the world. I do believe there are those of Faith and those not of faith (which are by definition atheists -- "non belief in a diety).

Also, I don't think I disrespected anyone. I do respect all people and their right to hold what they believe. I don't have to agree or accomodate those beliefs, however. That does not mean I don't respect them or their right to hold them.

I am not talking about respect in this thread. Perhaps you should go to Vroom's thread on the Four Principles.

What I am after is the answer to Pilate's question: What Is Truth?

I agree that there is no superior religion. Religion is man-made. I think that all people who espouse a strong religious belief may be seeking truth honestly -- and I do respect that. What I would say, is that even devot Buddists, Muslims, etc. who wish to find truth, may not find the Absolute Truth. The fact that there are many opinions and religious beliefs in the world, doesn't mean that (what I will henceforth call "Capital "T" Truth = Absolute Truth)that "T"ruth does not exist. It is up to us to find it.............


OK -- so you belive that truth for you is good for you and truth for me is good for me and your truth is as good as my truth, etc. Then what about moral truth. Does anything go here as well? If someone, for example, has sex with a minor and believes that it is moral to them, we should just wink at it and not prosecute? After all, if there are no moral absolutes (i.e. "T" ruth) then how can we judge someone in such a situation?

Of course we do this all the time, so your assertion of "moral relativism" is kind of problematic, don't you think?


We do it all the time in the field of mathematics. Formal proofs of mathematical theorems are a form of absolute truth, as long as those proofs are for all cases and conditions.

Here's a good one -- you exist right now at this time is absolute truth. Otherwise, we could not be having this discussion.

Again, just because man has myraid opinions about everything, does not NECESSARILY mean that there is no such thing as absolute truth.


We are finite dealing with infiniti.

Chuck Norris is infiniti.


Why must one be religious in order to be seeking truth?


History has shown that the concept of a "minor" has been very relative over time.

Maybe you should find an example of something that has actually been absolute if you want to decry moral relativism?


You don't.........

......you can seek truth without "religion." I am just wondering where do you find it (the "it" being absolute truth).

That is the question of this thread.


Now that's dangerous......

....you know what I mean. By minor we mean in the USA under 18. My point is that just because that might be OK with some (i.e. "their truth") does not prevent us from locking them up.

Actually, Vroom, I think that was a good example of exactly what I am talking about.


Here is your quote, from which I inferred you were dividing the world into Christians and atheists:

It is the height of egotism to assume that only your religion can reach the Aboslute Truth. Fundamentalism, whether Christian or Muslim, is inherently exclusionary. Jesus was about love and acceptance, not hate and intolerance.


Not to be all mystical or goofy, but I think that absolute truth is something to be sought after, desired, and all of that stuff, but never realized.

That doesn't mean it should not be sought, but good luck finding it. Its the foundation of the philosophy that life is a journey, which I do believe. Based on the idea that God is the universal truth, and there is a bit of God in all of creation, I guess we are supposed to find the goodness in everything. Sometimes it's more obvious, and sometimes you have to realy look.

Now is when someone usualy pipes in with a "why do bad things happen to good people?" diatribe.

They are just too lazy to look for something that isn't as obvious as the nose on their face, or look past that momentary pain or pleasure to realize that what they are currently experiencing is a very small part of a very big universe.

They have found all of the proof they need, and have determined the truth as they believe it to be. Their journey is over.

Just my take.


Are these proofs not resting on basic assumptions made within the sytem of mathematics? Mathematics is all nice and neat because it is supposed to be that way...we made it that way...and for good reason, it is an extraordinarily useful tool. Can you prove to me that 2+2=4 without making a basic assumption?

How do you know that I exist? Couldn't I be just a figment of your imagination? Or in a more modern theme just an incredibly complex computer program spitting out responses to your posts?

Descartes...evil trickster...Cogito ergo Sum...

I never said anything about opinions. In fact, in the other thread I asked a question about physical fact. Something is traveling towards me at .9c and away from you at .9c, we measure different legnths for this object (using the same technique and equipment)...which one of us is correct?


I am torn between believing that the universe is just a physical manifestation of my metaphysical self and that humans were enlightened/created/altered by aliens who will soon come back to enslave us.

Not much I can do except to lift weights and hit on college girls.