America, 3/29/17. Border Walls and a Bigger military: Will This Make America Safe?
(Folks, I’m having trouble getting a Contact Form to work to allow feedback, so bear with me.)
So will a bigger military and border walls make America really safe? In a word, NO. America will never be safe, just, or prosperous until it finds and agrees on truth. Neither nations nor individuals can survive without truth. In these turbulent times, is anyone saying the truth? How would we know? This website will help you find truth.
But without knowing truth, you can do some pretty stupid things. See what these guys did!
(June 2014, Florida) Tour guide Lance Lacrosse is either incredibly smart or incredibly dumb. He’s made big bucks with videos gone viral that show his dangerous stunts. Stunts such as feeding alligators marshmallows that he holds between his teeth. And he’s even swum with the gators. It’s a good way to get attention and helps him make a living, but that living won’t last long if he doesn’t change his ways. (story from darwinawards.com/)
(16 July 2016, California) Sometimes you just gotta not follow instructions. Like when Pokemon says “Go Jump”. Two California men blindly followed app clues on July 13th, 2016 in the town of Encinitas. That led them to a 75-to-100 foot fall down a cliff. They both survived the fall with, surprisingly, only minor injuries only. (from darwinawards.com)
Now, when we look for truth the big question is what is morally true, right? We can agree on mathematical truth, like 2+2=4, right? It’s moral truth more than any other truth, that says how we live. Like, is divorce right? Self defense? The right to own property? Moral truths determine our beliefs about these. And what is true for individuals is true for nations.
And just as you have to respond to mathematical truth — you have no choice — you have to respond to moral truth.
From Christian philosopher Ravi Zacharias, rzim.org, copied: A Proposed Definition of Truth
“In defining truth, it is first helpful to note what truth is not:
• Truth is not simply whatever works. This is the philosophy of pragmatism – an ends-vs.-means-type approach. In reality, lies can appear to “work,” but they are still lies and not the truth.
• Truth is not simply what is coherent or understandable. A group of people can get together and form a conspiracy based on a set of falsehoods where they all agree to tell the same false story, but it does not make their presentation true.
• Truth is not what makes people feel good. Unfortunately, bad news can be true.
• Truth is not what the majority says is true. Fifty-one percent of a group can reach a wrong conclusion.
• Truth is not what is comprehensive. A lengthy, detailed presentation can still result in a false conclusion.
• Truth is not defined by what is intended. Good intentions can still be wrong.
• Truth is not how we know; truth is what we know.
• Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still a lie.
• Truth is not what is publicly proved. A truth can be privately known (for example, the location of buried treasure).
The Greek word for “truth” is aletheia, which literally means to “un-hide” or “hiding nothing.” It conveys the thought that truth is always there, always open and available for all to see, with nothing being hidden or obscured. The Hebrew word for “truth” is emeth, which means “firmness,” “constancy” and “duration.” Such a definition implies an everlasting substance and something that can be relied upon.
From a philosophical perspective, there are three simple ways to define truth:
1. Truth is that which corresponds to reality.
2. Truth is that which matches its object.
3. Truth is simply telling it like it is.
First, truth corresponds to reality or “what is.” It is real. Truth is also correspondent in nature. In other words, it matches its object and is known by its referent. For example, a teacher facing a class may say, “Now the only exit to this room is on the right.” For the class that may be facing the teacher, the exit door may be on their left, but it’s absolutely true that the door, for the professor, is on the right.
Truth also matches its object. It may be absolutely true that a certain person may need so many milligrams of a certain medication, but another person may need more or less of the same medication to produce the desired effect. This is not relative truth, but just an example of how truth must match its object. It would be wrong (and potentially dangerous) for a patient to request that their doctor give them an inappropriate amount of a particular medication, or to say that any medicine for their specific ailment will do.
In short, truth is simply telling it like it is; it is the way things really are, and any other viewpoint is wrong. A foundational principle of philosophy is being able to discern between truth and error, or as Thomas Aquinas observed, “It is the task of the philosopher to make distinctions.”
Challenges to Truth
Aquinas’ words are not very popular today. Making distinctions seems to be out of fashion in a postmodern era of relativism. It is acceptable today to say, “This is true,” as long as it is not followed by, “and therefore that is false.” This is especially observable in matters of faith and religion where every belief system is supposed to be on equal footing where truth is concerned.
There are a number of philosophies and worldviews that challenge the concept of truth, yet, when each is critically examined it turns out to be self-defeating in nature.
The philosophy of relativism says that all truth is relative and that there is no such thing as absolute truth. But one has to ask: is the claim “all truth is relative” a relative truth or an absolute truth? If it is a relative truth, then it really is meaningless; how do we know when and where it applies? If it is an absolute truth, then absolute truth exists. Moreover, the relativist betrays his own position when he states that the position of the absolutist is wrong – why can’t those who say absolute truth exists be correct too? In essence, when the relativist says, “There is no truth,” he is asking you not to believe him, and the best thing to do is follow his advice.
Those who follow the philosophy of skepticism simply doubt all truth. But is the skeptic skeptical of skepticism; does he doubt his own truth claim? If so, then why pay attention to skepticism? If not, then we can be sure of at least one thing (in other words, absolute truth exists)—skepticism, which, ironically, becomes absolute truth in that case. The agnostic says you can’t know the truth. Yet the mindset is self-defeating because it claims to know at least one truth: that you can’t know truth.
The disciples of postmodernism simply affirm no particular truth. The patron saint of postmodernism—Frederick Nietzsche—described truth like this: “What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms … truths are illusions … coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.” Ironically, although the postmodernist holds coins in his hand that are now “mere metal,” he affirms at least one absolute truth: the truth that no truth should be affirmed. Like the other worldviews, postmodernism is self-defeating and cannot stand up under its own claim.
A popular worldview is pluralism, which says that all truth claims are equally valid. Of course, this is impossible. Can two claims – one that says a woman is now pregnant and another that says she is not now pregnant – both be true at the same time? Pluralism unravels at the feet of the law of non-contradiction, which says that something cannot be both “A” and “Non-A” at the same time and in the same sense. As one philosopher quipped, anyone who believes that the law of non-contradiction is not true (and, by default, pluralism is true) should be beaten and burned until they admit that to be beaten and burned is not the same thing as to not be beaten and burned. Also, note that pluralism says that it is true and anything opposed to it is false, which is a claim that denies its own foundational tenet.
The spirit behind pluralism is an open-armed attitude of tolerance. However, pluralism confuses the idea of everyone having equal value with every truth claim being equally valid. More simply, all people may be equal, but not all truth claims are. Pluralism fails to understand the difference between opinion and truth, a distinction Mortimer Adler notes: “Pluralism is desirable and tolerable only in those areas that are matters of taste rather than matters of truth.”
The Offensive Nature of Truth
When the concept of truth is maligned, it usually for one or more of the following reasons:
One common complaint against anyone claiming to have absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a stance is “narrow-minded.” However, the critic fails to understand that, by nature, truth is narrow. Is a math teacher narrow-minded for holding to the belief that 2 + 2 only equals 4?
Another objection to truth is that it is arrogant to claim that someone is right and another person is wrong. However, returning to the above example with mathematics, is it arrogant for a math teacher to insist on only one right answer to an arithmetic problem? Or is it arrogant for a locksmith to state that only one key will open a locked door?
A third charge against those holding to absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a position excludes people, rather than being inclusive. But such a complaint fails to understand that truth, by nature, excludes its opposite. All answers other than 4 are excluded from the reality of what 2 + 2 truly equals.
Yet another protest against truth is that it is offensive and divisive to claim one has the truth. Instead, the critic argues, all that matters is sincerity. The problem with this position is that truth is immune to sincerity, belief, and desire. It doesn’t matter how much one sincerely believes a wrong key will fit a door; the key still won’t go in and the lock won’t be opened. Truth is also unaffected by sincerity. Someone who picks up a bottle of poison and sincerely believes it is lemonade will still suffer the unfortunate effects of the poison. Finally, truth is impervious to desire. A person may strongly desire that their car has not run out of gas, but if the gauge says the tank is empty and the car will not run any farther, then no desire in the world will miraculously cause the car to keep going.”
Ravi has much more to say about many things. He’s a sharp thinker who’s worth listening to. Check him out!