Truth has been taken for granted in society today. Relativism has been using truth claims to say that there is no truth or that everyone has their own truth. If you think about these statements, you can see how they fail and contradict themselves. For instance, the first claim that there is no truth commits suicide because you just ask if that statement is true. The second claim that everyone has their own truth is false as well because you just say that’s false. These can’t both be true, so what is truth?
Aristotle said, “If you say that it is and it is, or you say that it isn’t and it isn’t, that’s true. If you say that it isn’t and it is, or you say that it is and it isn’t, that’s false.”
Aristotle is saying that truth is what corresponds to reality. This is what philosopher call the correspondence theory. Apologist and philosopher J.P. Moreland says, “In its simplest form, the correspondence theory of truth is the view that a claim-technically, a proposition-is true just in case it corresponds to reality; that is, a proposition is true when what it asserts to be the case is the case.
Two Ways to Think about Truth
The reason that I feel our society gets confused on truth and why relativism is so captivating is due to the fact that is confuses the two ways that truth works. The two types of truth are subjective and objective. I will talk more about truth and relativism after defining subjective and objective truth.
Subjective truth claims change from person to person. The subjective deals with personal preferences like your favorite candy bar. The subjective truth is that I think snickers are best, but you could like milky way. These statements are both true because they are dependent on the subject of the sentence and not the object.
Objective truths deal with reality. This that are true independent of what we prefer or believe. They are in other words mind-independent. They are based on the external world. For example, Morals are objective. Every human believes that rape, killing for the fun of it, and pedophilia are wrong. These are wrong no matter what country or who you are. They are objectively true.
Relativism: Standing in Thin Air
Knowing the two types of truth that we just discussed can help with relativist ideals. Relativism holds that all truth is subjective. Relativism has a host of problems, but the two main problems that it is self-defeating . Greg Koukl says that these ideas commit suicide, like the one I shared at the beginning. The second flaw is that relativism leas to illogical outcomes. For instance, Sean and Josh McDowell state “relativism leaves no room for morality , ethics, or human value. subjectivism makes it impossible to argue for any sort of blinding morality or ethic, In fact, realtivism undermines even the value of humanity. Gregory Koukl explains:
“When truth dies, all of its subspecies, such as ethic, perish with it. If truth can’t be known, then the concept of moral truth becomes incoherent. Ethics become relative, right and wrong matters of individual opinion. this may seem a moral liberty. but it ultimately rings hollow. . . . The death of truth in our society has created a moral decay in which “every debate ends with the barroom question ‘says who?'” when we abandon the idea that one set of law applies to every human being, all the remains is subjective, personal opinion.”
Truth is important because as I said before objective truth gives us morality. If we did not have morality we would just be creatures going off natural instincts. Morality has to come from a transcendant higher than us or they mean nothing and are simply mere opinion. The implications would be that Hitler was not wrong because that is just an opinion, but if we stand on objective truths we can stand and fight against the Hitlers of this world.
This is only done when we have a right understanding of truth and know what truth is.