Truth, can be defined as “That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.” The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Truth, with a capital “T”, as “a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.”
In this modern age we are not short of things to do or activities to fill each day. The ubiquitous smartphone provides a compelling and ever-present link to friends, family, and acquaintances, and also to personalized, pre-selected sources of information that constantly interrupt and inform our consciousness. With on-demand access to all of this information and advice, together with the accumulated historical experiences of several millennia, it might reasonably be expected that people today would be better informed, better prepared, and closer to understanding Truth than any generation that came before them.
But this is not the case. The latter part of the twentieth century saw the rise of “postmodernism,” a movement which denies the validity of objective reality and encourages each individual to create their own truth and then live accordingly. An article by Rebecca McKown entitled, Step Into Your Truth With These 4 Simple Steps encourages readers to “define your truth and roll with it.” The spread of personal communication devices and the accompanying growth of informational services is further empowering the individual and offering the seductive promise of being in self-directed control of all aspects of life. However, If people really were able to create their own truths, there would be a multiplicity of truths in this world. As an engineer, I know and believe that, in all things, there is only one truth. There is only one winner of the Superbowl in 2019, irrespective of the wishes of thousands of Rams fans.
Rules of the house
If we visit a museum, we accept without question the fact that this organization can and will lay down the rules for our visit, such as the entrance fee, opening times, and whether or not photography is permitted. It doesn’t matter what we would like the rules to be, we don’t get that choice. The truth, as far as the house rules are concerned, is established by the owner. When visiting a house in Japan, we would of course follow the house rule of removing our shoes prior to entering the house and entering only those rooms into which the host invited us. If we were uncertain about what we could or could not do, we would ask the host’s permission. In these and all other similar instances, the accepted rule is that the owner of the house can establish the house rules.
In God’s House
In the same way, since we did not ourselves create, nor do we own, the world we live in, we need to know and understand the rules of its creator and owner. God went to extraordinary lengths to create a world that is finely-tuned for our existence and pleasure. The very least we should do is to know and follow the rules He has laid down for us to follow while we are guests in His house. To do anything else would be just downright rude!
When we visit someone else’s house, we don’t invent our own rules for the visit, we follow the established house rules. When compared to eternity, our time on Earth is just a brief “visit,” so we have no justification for believing that we can create our own reality and do what we want to. We are in God’s house, and we need to know and follow His rules, the single truth of which is comprehensively described in His Word.
English Oxford Living Dictionaries, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/truth, accessed April 3, 2019.
Merriam-Webster.com, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truth, accessed April 3, 2019.
Rebecca McKown, Step Into Your Truth With These 4 Simple Steps, HuffPost Contributor Platform, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/step-into-your-truth-with_n_5564066, accessed April 3, 2019.
4 thoughts on “The Disappearance of the Need for Truth”
Very well said! Although I disagree with your usage of Rebecca McKown’s article in the post-modernist movement as you define it. Out of curiosity I read through it and the article exclusively speaks on defining your person as you see fit. E.g. what clothes you want to wear, food you want to eat, and discussions you wish to have with loved ones. These “Truths” are personal truths, and are by definition subjective. No one is arguing that 2 plus 2 equals 5 because that is their truth. While there are certainly elements of post-modernism in her article it is merely encouraging individuality in a world that constantly bombards you with images of what you should be, not necessarily what you want to be. Indeed, subscribing to any ideology falls into the post-modernist movement, including religion. Objective truths, such as physics and biology are not subjective opinions like art, literature and religion. There are a myriad of reasons why people make their choices and conflating objective truth with opinion is a mistake.
Thank you for this thoughtful response. I think Rebecca’s description of herself as “healer and modern-day mystic” did influence my thinking. I am all in favor of the appropriate expression of individuality, but we all need to understand where individuality ends and where rules begin. Or do you expect to be able to walk naked down a city street? I agree with your definition of religion as a subjective ideology. Religion is man-made, and hence flawed. However, the true creation of the universe cannot be subjective. There is only one true answer on how it all came to be, irrespective of how many personal views may exist. My blog was intended to highlight the current trend towards being able to define one’s own truth about anything, rather than seeking objective truth where it does exist.
Should you base your choice of religion on whatever suits your personal lifestyle, or seek the truth of something that transcends the physical realm and may have eternal personal consequences?
Yes I agree whole heartedly with your response and accept that there are definite consequences for personal choices, whether the consequences are justified or not. For me it boils down to evidence. Follow the evidence where it leads no matter how distressing it can be. On the matter of religion where your choice could potentially mean eternal suffering (depending on definitions and beliefs), the evidence does not bear out the claims in most cases. Above all else I care about what it true. I strive to believe as many true things as possible and minimize my ignorance and false beliefs. It is this desire that has led me down this skeptical but exploratory modus operandi. I would be happy to elaborate but I feel the comments section is not a proper place for such discussions. If the lines of communication are open I would be delighted to continue the conversation via email or a phone call after the holidays.