Is It True That Truth Is Relative?

The Oxford Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as 2016’s International Word of the Year. The dictionary defines the term as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than are appeals to emotion Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.20.32 PM.pngand personal belief,” or paraphrased, post- truth describes a worldview in which people believe their emotions and personal preferences above objective truth. I believe the Oxford Dictionaries were right in their selection of “post-truth” as the international word of the year because it so rightly depicts the mindset of the masses. Isn’t it true that we hear post-truth statements all of the time? Christianity may be true for you, but that doesn’t mean that it is true for everyone, or you may consider abortion to be wrong, but that’s just your opinion. Can the idea that truth is relative be true? No, because even the claim that truth is relative is not, itself, a relative truth claim, since it labels as untrue the claim that truth is not relative. Therefore, it’s evident that the post-truth worldview is actually a self-contradictory worldview.

If I go to my bank and ask to withdraw $1 million, the teller will quickly inform me that I have insufficient funds and deny my request. Could I rightly respond that it might be true for her that I do not have $1 million my account, but that it’s not true for me that I do not have enough money and expect her to give oblige me and give me the money I requested? Absolutely not! The idea that truth is relative does not work anywhere else in our daily lives, so why do we so readily accept those claims when they are made toward religion and morality? The reason is because those claims are unoffensive and allow people to act as their own gods: the final arbiters of truth, the final authorities on what is right and wrong,  and the ones who decide if there is a God and, if so, how he should act. However, despite the popular belief, it’s actually impossible for any religion to be true for one person and untrue for another, since they all make exclusive truth claims about God and how he has revealed himself. To claim that the sincere Christian (monotheist), who believes in one mortal life that will be followed by judgment and eternity, and the sincere Hindu (polytheist), who believes in a continual cycle of reincarnation, each believe the truth is absurd! There can be only one truth about God’s existence, and how he has revealed himself, and only one truth about morality (i.e. what he has decreed as right and wrong). Any attempt to deny such truth is atheism and self-worship masquerading as tolerance.

So why is it so easy for our society to recognize the reality of objective truth concerning my bank account, but so difficult to recognize the reality of objective truth concerning God Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.21.30 PM.pngand morality? Because, as Oxford Dictionaries recognized, we have collectively jumped head-first into a post-truth worldview in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than are appeals to emotion and personal belief. The problem with the post-truth worldview is that reality does not respect personal preferences, or beliefs, and it shows no regard for one’s emotions. Whether, or not, I sincerely believe that I will die if I jump in front of a car on the freeway has no bearing on whether, or not, I will actually die if I choose to jump in front of a car on the freeway. Similarly, whether, or not, I choose to believe in God, or that he has revealed himself through the Bible, has no actual bearing on if he really exists and, if so, how he has revealed himself; however, our society’s emotions and personal beliefs prefer that the opposite be true, so we have chosen to believe that instead.

Why does what I’m saying matter in the least bit to anyone? Because if God exists then he is the final arbiter of truth and morality and he is going to hold humanity accountable in the exact manners that he has promised. That means that if you are a Christian, then your standing firm on the one exclusive Truth, i.e. Jesus (John 14:6), is of utmost importance to your personal eternal fate (Matt. 10:32-33), as well as to the fate of everyone who does not yet believe, but whom you might have the opportunity to tell that Jesus is the only path to achieving a right standing with God (Acts 4:12). Is avoiding a few moments of potential awkwardness worth forfeiting the opportunity to allow an unbelieving person to come to the knowledge of the true God, as he has revealed himself, and to be saved from eternal punishment via the only Way that God has provided? I don’t think so.

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, but do it with gentleness and respect.” Knowing the truth does not give you the right to despise, or demean, those who do not know and believe the truth. Instead, it should inspire compassion within you and a desire to share the truth with them before it’s too late. Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 1.13.35 PM.pngIf you are interested in learning why I believe that God definitely exists and that we have good reason to believe that Jesus is the only true “path” to God, then I encourage you to read my post entitled Only One Thing Can Disprove Christianity – Nothing Else Can. For more information on why I believe that atheism is a failed system of beliefs that cannot possibly be true, read my post Atheism: An Exercise of Unquestionable Blind Faith. If you’re a believer in Jesus, I encourage you to know why you believe and not settle for an ignorant faith. If you aren’t yet a believer in Jesus, then I’d encourage you to be certain you know why you do not believe. Consider whether your reasons for disbelief are emotional by nature, or based objective truth. I guarantee they’re not based on objective truth, so I hope you’ll test your disbelief with the truth and stop living within a post/non-truth worldview.

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2 thoughts on “Is It True That Truth Is Relative?

  1. I think the core of the “what is true” problem is that we are using imperfect representations and expecting perfect results.

    Mathematics is closest to “perfect language” that we came to so far. And it can be used to illustrate point with post-truth… like if you are using only whole numbers you simply can’t give answer to “what is the square root of 2?”. Or even worse, if you ask “what is the square root of -2?”. For that you need to be more knowledgeable and use wider groups of numbers.

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    • I think I understand your point, but mathematics cannot account for all things related to truth. For instance, do objective morals exist? Whether your answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you must make a truth claim that is nonmathematical. Does God exist? Again, the ‘true’ answer to that question is not mathematic in nature. Therefore, we know that mathematics may be used to describe some truths, but it, too, has its limits and cannot be considered the source of anything true. However, truth must have a source. For several reasons contained in some of my other blog posts that I think you might find interesting, I believe that the most sufficient answer to the question of its source is God. If you read my posts Atheism: An Exercise of Unquestionable Blind Faith and Only One Thing Can Disprove Christianity you’ll understand my rationale for believing that the Judeo-Christian God is the true source of all truth.

      Thanks for reading and contributing to the conversation!

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