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The Truth About Truth

By Tim Throckmorton

Truth, that elusive and controversial subject that has found itself discussed and debated and even denied for ages. A brief observation reveals that truth seems to have changed over the years. In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we find the definition of truth to be: “conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies.”

Today’s Merriam Webster’s definition includes, “the truth: the real facts about something: the things that are true, the quality or state of being true, a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true.”

Truth today is filled with varying opinions and definitions. Just ask Siri, and she’ll point you quickly to Wikipedia which kicks open the door to a number of opinions. Saying truth is one thing, but knowing and believing it is another. In a postmodern world that denies that truth can be known, defining truth is more important than ever.

“The fact is, the truth matters. Especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie.

And nowhere is this more important than in the area of faith and religion.

Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.” –Ravi Zacharias

Truth is not simply whatever works. Truth is not what makes people feel good. Truth is not what the majority says is true. Fifty-one percent of a group can reach a wrong conclusion. Truth is not defined by what is intended because good intentions can still be wrong. Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still a lie.

There are a number of philosophies and worldviews that challenge the concept of truth. The philosophy of relativism says that all truth is relative and 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? Those who follow the philosophy of skepticism simply doubt all truth. The disciples of postmodernism affirm no particular truth. The popular worldview of pluralism says all truth claims are equally valid. Of course, this is impossible. Pluralism says it is true and anything opposed to it is false, which is a claim that denies its own foundation!

The Unpopular and Offensive Nature of Truth

A common complaint against anyone claiming to have absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a stance is “narrow-minded” or that it is arrogant to claim someone is right and another person is wrong. 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 and 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 cares nothing of desire. A person may strongly desire that their car has not run out of gas, but if the gauge says the tank is empty, no desire in the world will miraculously cause the car to keep going. As Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts it, “The fact is, the truth matters … especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie. And nowhere is this more important than in the area of faith and religion. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.”

May we be reminded that truth has always mattered to God. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” (Deut 32:4).

One of my favorite writers, Oz Guinness, states in his book A Time for Truth, “All truth is God’s truth, and it’s true everywhere for everyone even if no one believes it.” Truth is not subject to your perception or opinion!

Once, when a stubborn disputer seemed unconvinced, Abraham Lincoln said, “Well, let’s see how many legs has a cow?”

“Four, of course,” came the reply disgustedly.

“That’s right,” agreed Lincoln. “Now suppose you call the cow’s tail a leg; how many legs would the cow have?”

“Why, five, of course,” was the confident reply.

“Now, that’s where you’re wrong,” said Lincoln. “Calling a cow’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg!”

Truth is what we must know, understand, and embrace. In fact, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be truth. To know the truth, let me recommend that you get to know Jesus, the source of all truth. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth about the truth!

Volume 9 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review


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