How Do You Test For Truth?

Pontius Pilate once famously said to Jesus “What is truth? (John 18:38)

With all the competing claims to truth in different secular and sacred beliefs and worldviews, it is hard to find an objective truth.  Western atheists say Christianity is a fairy tale, while Islam in turn is currently demanding submission from western atheists. Hindus say they are all wrong while post-modernists question some of the truth statements made by rationalists and atheists. New Age followers look within for truth.It’s like a maze of possibilities. Some have even given up on the concept of objective truth

But I believe we can know when something is true. beliefs change, but truth is objective and unchanging. Otherwise it is not true! Truth is also trans-cultural, above beliefs, independent of followers and absolute. Beliefs can contradict but contradicting truths are not possible. Truth is knowable. We demand it in everyday life. We expect it in leaders. We expect it of friends and family.

How to find it is the key.We need to use sensible filters to get rid of the rubbish ideas, especially on the internet! Here are some of the methods people often use to decide what is true. Can you see the silly ones?

Authority:       The truth claim comes from someone who we respect and trust

Coherence:      The truth claim ties all things together consistently

Consensus:      The truth claim is believed by nearly everyone

Consistency:    The truth claim does not contradict itself.

Reality:            The truth claim agrees with what is observed

Custom:           The truth claim has been part of the custom for many years

Emotion:         The truth claim feels right, it must be true for me

Majority:         The truth claim is believed by more than half a population, then it is right

Observation:    The truth claim must be able to detected by the senses

Practicality:     The truth claim works well in the real world

Revelation:      The truth claim comes from our creator, so it must be true

Time:               The truth claim has stood the test of time

To sensibly look for truth, the following four filters are what I believe are the most trustworthy guides:

1. Scientific: Those beliefs which line up with observation and logic. But even here you need to be careful as belief can cloud and effect observation

2. Cultural: Those beliefs which help culture flourish and prosper. Beliefs which keep a culture poor, controlled,or suppressed are a long way from truth

3. Philosophical/Spiritual: Those beliefs which best answer the great questions of life consistently and sensibly are worthy of investigating.

4. Moral: Those beliefs that generate the greatest good for humanity

Many of the essays on my website are dedicated to finding truth amid the maze of possibilities. But at the end of the day truth is a actually a person. Jesus said “I am the truth”(John 14:16).

That statement is either true or false. If he was who he said he was, if he was the creator of the universe, then it is true. If he was not, then it is a lie and he was deluded. The question then becomes, who was Jesus: deluded man, or God in human form?

The answer you come to will determine your morals, lifestyle and destiny. Ironically, it will take a lifetime to work out if you believed the truth or not!

Kevin