What is Truth? (1 Viewer)

St. PJ

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From John Martignoni email:

I plan on doing the next few newsletters on natural apologetics - apologetics we can know by the "natural" light of reason, without any divine intervention. This kind of apologetics is useful when talking with folks of an atheist/agnostic/materialist frame of mind, as they don't care what the Bible says and give no credence to any kind of religious authority.

I am going to start with the question: What is truth? Is there even such a thing as truth? This is based on the first of the newspaper ads I've run over the past year:
http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/assets/newspaper_campaign_1-cacf66e4eaf8274df34bf819bbd3abd3d45267cde02594a9d9ccb146b342ce5f.pdf
I will follow that up with "The Case for God," "Faith vs. Science?" and then the "Case for Jesus." I hope they prove useful to you...

What Is Truth?

“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate, 33 A.D. (John 18:38). Pontius Pilate asked that question in response to Jesus saying He had come to “bear witness to the truth.” People in our country, in our society, are still asking that same question today: “What is truth?”
In fact, people have been asking that same question for the last 2000 years, and even longer. There is, of course, absolutely no problem with asking the question. It’s good to ask questions like that. Rather, the problem today is that too few people care enough about the answer to even bother asking the question, much less make the effort to find the answer to the question. Not enough people are seeking the truth. Either they don’t care about truth, or they deny that there is such a thing as truth, or they just flat out hate the truth because it tells them things they don't want to hear.
“There is no such thing as truth, either in the moral or in the scientific sense.” Adolf Hitler

Was Hitler right? Is there no such thing as truth? Many of today's so-called "philosophers" will tell you that Hitler was indeed right...that there is no such thing as truth. In fact, a large number of people - philosophers and non-philosophers alike - will tell you there is no such thing as truth. Or, rather, that there is such a thing as truth, but it is relative. One person's "truth" may not be another person's truth which may not be another person's truth and so on. So they will admit to relative truth, but not objective truth - something that is true for everyone, regardless of any given individual's opinion about it. Well, let's talk about it and see if that makes any sense whatsoever.

First, we notice that the statement about there being no such thing as objective truth, is a self-refuting statement. If that statement is true, then it is true for everyone, which means it is an objective truth. And, if it is an objective truth, then it is false to say there is no such thing as objective truth. So, this is a self-refuting statement. Therefore, the position that there is no such thing as objective truth is demonstrably false. Which means, objective truth does indeed exist. That is simple logic...simple common sense.

Then, in philosophy, there is a foundational principle known as the Principle of Contradiction. This principle states that something cannot be, and not be, at the same time. For example, either a either equals b, or a does not equal b. A cannot both equal b and not equal b at the same time. One of those two propositions has to be true. They can’t both be true and they can’t both be false. It is either one or the other. I am either writing this newsletter to you, or I am not writing this newsletter to you. It can’t be both. You are either a human being or you are not a human being. It can't be both. The Earth either revolves around the sun or it doesn't revolve around the sun. It can't be both. So, the Principle of Contradiction is an objective truth, an objective philosophical truth.

Then, there is undeniable mathematical truth. 2 + 2 = 4. True. 10 x 10 = 100. True. The angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. True. If there is no such thing as truth, we cannot do mathematics...we cannot do science...we cannot do engineering. We can’t build roads, or bridges, or buildings, or cars, or smart phones, or anything else for that matter, because all of those things depend on the existence of truth. Which means, that all these people who deny the existence of objective truth, depend on the existence of objective truth to do just about everything they do in their daily lives.

If you ever have anyone tell you that we can't really know for sure what, if anything, is true or not - even whether we really exist or not - or what reality truly is, ask them if they would be willing to walk out onto any nearby interstate or highway in the dark of night to see if the cars and trucks traveling down that road really exist or not. Of course, they won't do it, which means they are full of malarkey. They don't really believe the garbage they are spouting. They know it is true that the cars on that road are real and they know it is true that they would cease to occupy space, or at the least suffer greatly, if they were to walk out onto the real interstate and encounter those real cars and trucks in the dead of night.

“Well,” folks will say, “of course there is mathematical and scientific truth, but there is no such thing as moral or philosophical truth.” Oh, really?! Well, I've just demonstrated that the Principle of Contradiction is an objective philosophical truth. It is true for everyone everywhere. Now, in regard to moral truth, let's see if people really believe there is no such thing as moral truth...that there are no moral absolutes. The question I always ask people who put forward that proposition is this: Was Hitler right? In other words, if morality depends on one’s feelings, or on what a particular group of people arbitrarily decides morality should be, then how can you say Hitler was wrong, when he did what his “feelings” told him was the right thing to do? It was Hitler's truth that some 6 million Jews should die in the concentration camps. So, if we can't impose our moral "truth" on anyone else, and there is no such thing as objective moral truth, then how can you say that Hitler was wrong? You can't! At least, you can't without being labeled a hypocrite. Yet, you will have to ask a whole lot of folks who don't believe in objective moral truth before you will find one of them that will have the guts to say Hitler was not wrong to do what he did because it was his truth.

“People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth. They love truth when it shines warmly on them, and hate it when it rebukes them.” St. Augustine
That is what is really going on in our society today. People deny truth, they talk around truth, they try to relativize truth because they don't want to be bound by the truth. They want to live in a way that is contrary to truth, so their wills override their intellects and their consciouses. That is why they are so angry. Truth is rebuking them...constantly...day and night. They have no respite from the truth. There is something deep within telling them what the truth is and that they should live according to the truth, but they don't want to accept that. So they rebel against their own nature. They are at war with themselves.

And what St. Augustine said is especially true when it comes to moral and religious truth. Moral absolutes are denied and rejected. Morality is said to be purely subjective and entirely dependent upon what any given individual “feels” is right or wrong. The Ten Commandments no longer hold sway as objective moral standards, they have been replaced by one’s purely subjective feelings.

And the religious beliefs of many are now no longer based on ancient truths and teachings, rather they are bound only by each individual’s imagination and, within Christianity, man-made traditions and each person’s private interpretation of the Bible . A new interpretation - a new belief. A new belief - quite possibly even a whole new denomination. Who’s right...who’s wrong? What is the truth? Who decides? What does it matter? After all, it's all relative...right? It all depends on what I feel. In our society, feelings = truth. What I "feel" about morality, is true...because I feel it. What I "feel" about religion, is true...because I feel it. What I "feel" about my sexual identity, is true...because I feel it.

But do feelings really equal truth? Let's use a recent highly publicized situation as the basis for an example to demonstrate that feelings do not equal truth. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the "Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner Murder Mystery":
If Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner “feels” that “she” is really a woman, does that make it true? Many in our society today would say, "Yes." But, consider this: If Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner were to commit a crime...let’s say murder...and suffered a cut on the hand during the commission of that crime, when the crime lab analyzed the blood found at the crime scene, will they determine that the suspect they are looking for is a man, or a woman?

I tried to put that example in the newspaper ad I linked to above. They rejected it. Wouldn't let me do it. Why not? Because the folks at the newspaper knew they would get hammered by all the folks that believe feelings = truth. Those folks tend to be rather irrational in their behavior. Which makes sense, because they are rather irrational in their thinking. And they also wouldn't put it in their paper because the answer to the question is beyond dispute. The crime lab would say that a man committed the murder. It would say that Bruce Jenner committed the murder, not Caitlyn Jenner.

But, how can that be? Bruce Jenner is now a woman. I mean, he had the operation. He's taking the hormones. He wears dresses and makeup and his hair is long. He "feels" like a woman. So, he must be a she, right? Well, not according to science. Which is rather ironic, because all these folks who take issue with those who believe in God and who deny objective truth and objective morality and constantly crow that believers are un-scientific; yet, all the while, it is they who actually deny science in so many ways and in so many instances. Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is a man, regardless of what anyone "feels".

So, ask anyone who believes in all of this "transgender" nonsense the question about Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner leaving blood at the scene of the crime, and see if they say the crime lab would say that a man, or a woman, committed the crime.
Truth is truth, and no matter what anyone "feels," it is still the truth. You can deny it. You can hate it. You can refuse to accept it. You can rage against it. But the truth will win out in the end.
 
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St. PJ

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I've been to the Smithsonian. I've heard of Kirk Cameron, by I've never heard of Ray Comfort. And whatever Kirk Cameron has to say, I'd never go out of my way the hear because simply, he ain't Catholic. I literally have zero clue what Kirk Cameron believes (though I know he is christian) and never saw his movie (I heard the acting was horrible and it sucked). Sorry, never been to answeringgenesis.org or any other website like it.

You are right "they have hundreds of bones backstage". What they don't have is hundreds of bones and variations as one species evolves into another. Observation and experimentation implies there is something to observe and experiment upon. Watching bacteria change into a different strand of bacteria doesn't prove evolution of one species into a totally different species.

And with "Please... don't insult my intelligence" you've refused to answer the basic question of the OP, once again.

Finally, the vast majority of your rhetoric is copy and paste from sources like the Zietgeist. Tell me, did Judaism exist before they wrote the books we know as the Old Testament? Did Christianity exist before gospels and epistles were written? The Old Testament is the place where God predicted His coming and His death, and non christian sources such as Jocephus verify He did in fact come and die in the manner predicted.
 

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I’m starting to think truth thread might not be the best place to find it

And PJ that is pretty bold to accuse someone of avoiding questions. Perhaps you should read back through the thread again
 

Bleu Raeder

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I'd never go out of my way the hear because simply, he ain't Catholic.
Wait, you're basing all of your arguments from a position of Catholicism?
 

kcirdor

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Wait, you're basing all of your arguments from a position of Catholicism?
Is it not obvious? Catholics tend to be the most judgmental/My way or no way version of Christianity. It's so bad that you also see it in former Catholics turned atheist. "No Soup for you!" I tend to warn people off of religious debates due to this trait.
 

guidomerkinsrules

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Actually, no. There are other religious texts from different religions that say similar things. Did you know that there are almost 3000 different known gods that we know of are/were worshiped at one time or another? Conveniently the one you grew up with is the true one.
oddly, as well, though Jesus was the ultimate pacifist - he is the god of the peoples who conquered most of the other gods in very unchristlike ways
 

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I've been to the Smithsonian. I've heard of Kirk Cameron, by I've never heard of Ray Comfort. And whatever Kirk Cameron has to say, I'd never go out of my way the hear because simply, he ain't Catholic. I literally have zero clue what Kirk Cameron believes (though I know he is christian) and never saw his movie (I heard the acting was horrible and it sucked). Sorry, never been to answeringgenesis.org or any other website like it.
Again, could've fooled me. It literally is like you are copying and pasting from them. Again, websites, audio books, textbooks... it is the same content you are reading/hearing.

You are right "they have hundreds of bones backstage". What they don't have is hundreds of bones and variations as one species evolves into another. Observation and experimentation implies there is something to observe and experiment upon. Watching bacteria change into a different strand of bacteria doesn't prove evolution of one species into a totally different species.
They actually do have a fossil record, DNA data, etc. You just refuse to believe it because you have been told it is not so, and because it flies in the face of your religion. The reason charts like the one I posted exist is because extensive research, experimentation, observation, etc has been done.

And with "Please... don't insult my intelligence" you've refused to answer the basic question of the OP, once again.
And I keep telling you, the "basic question" in the OP, even if not said outright, is merely an exercise in rationalization that starts with a premise that you must believe on faith, which logically ends in reaffirming your bias, as you must believe in the original premise. And it is easy to see where this is going, as the author of the letter very much tells you so on the second paragraph of the letter:
I will follow that up with "The Case for God," "Faith vs. Science?" and then the "Case for Jesus." I hope they prove useful to you...
So, again, don't insult my intelligence.

Finally, the vast majority of your rhetoric is copy and paste from sources like the Zietgeist.
Oh, yeah, nice try. Come on, man.

Tell me, did Judaism exist before they wrote the books we know as the Old Testament? Did Christianity exist before gospels and epistles were written?
I would say, a religion starts with a declaration of a god, and not necessarily with the texts, which are written well after the alleged facts.

The Old Testament is the place where God predicted His coming and His death, and non christian sources such as Jocephus verify He did in fact come and die in the manner predicted.
Sources? Perhaps you mean one unverified source? There are no other records... and I'd imagine things as spectacular as curing leprosy, raising the dead, walking on water, etc would have had lot of folks talking and writing about it. Funny thing about the Old Testament and the people who follow it: they are still waiting for that Messiah, and they are God's chosen people. Don't you think they should know better?

Now, could you please point to me, where in the Bible it says that Yahweh was going to come back to Earth as man, to sacrifice himself to himself, in order for him to forgive humankind of sins and transgressions committed against him by said humankind?
 

guidomerkinsrules

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As for the bible, which by the way is the most Catholic book in the world, it only makes up 1/3 of the foundations of Catholic belief. First came Apostolic Tradition (how the apostles and Christ instituted, preached, defended, and lived "the way"), Second came the Magisterium (official teachings / dogma, proclaimed excathedra - from offices of authority given by Christ), and last came the Bible. And in no way can a teaching or interpretation or belief contradict either of those 3. In fact, every heresy that ever came into existence was refuted by citing all three, and there are detailed records of this. That's why Paul spends half of his letters correcting his churches because their beliefs weren't in line with what was taught be Jesus and His apostles. Those letters, from Bishop to congregation, never stopped. Most conversions to Catholicism come about because someone gets the bright idea of wanting to read christian writings from the first and second century to see what the early church looked like, how they lived and taught and defended their faith, and wind up quote shocked that the Chruch was strictly Catholic, Eucharist and all, from the word go. Not that I meant to go on this tangent, but the Bible is not even close to the basis of my religion, and only my religion has the authority to interpret the Bible.
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i realize you won't see it this way - i assume you see the Council of Nicea as a bunch of men directed by god's hand - but i see it as a very political gathering
a narrow majority picked gospels that narrowly define jesus and downplayed his humanity
and essentially gave Paul the rule maker as more important than Jesus the love talker
the gnostic gospels were disallowed for political reasons - most are WAY more spiritual then the canonic 4
 

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...and non christian sources such as Jocephus verify He did in fact come and die in the manner predicted.
Completely not true. There is no independent, non-Christian confirmation of any events in the new testament. Zero. You reference Josephus, so I'm assuming you're talking about the Testimonium Flavianum, but that is a well known forgery, written by a Christian hand for a Christian audience. Apologists try to rescue it by saying that there was a "core" that was later augmented (even though there's really no evidence to support that assertion) but even it if was, The Antiquities of the Jews, where the forgery is found, was written in the 90's CE, so even if the passage weren't a forgery, at that point it would at best have simply been a regurgitation, not a confirmation, of Christian beliefs.

Keep in mind that the Catholic Church, as the state religion of the Roman Empire, determined what was retained and what was intentionally destroyed. If they had records that confirmed events of the new testament you better believe they would have been retained. But there weren't. There's not a single contemporary non-Christian reference to Jesus from anyone outside of Christianity. We're talking zero impact outside of his community, and even within the community there are no surviving first person accounts.

Also keep in mind it's not like the early Christians were averse to forging documents. There were dozens of gospels, epistles and even versions of Acts that were rejected as fakes, and even half of the the epistles of Paul accepted as canon are known to be forgeries, not to mention other canonized epistles that they know weren't written until late first/early second century but purport to have been written much earlier.

Going back to the OT, everything through David is accepted as non-historical (i.e. mythological) by mainstream biblical studies, and even beyond that it's really just a collection of stone age mythology and theology, with a few failed prophecies for the end of the world.
 
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i realize you won't see it this way - i assume you see the Council of Nicea as a bunch of men directed by god's hand - but i see it as a very political gathering
a narrow majority picked gospels that narrowly define jesus and downplayed his humanity
and essentially gave Paul the rule maker as more important than Jesus the love talker
the gnostic gospels were disallowed for political reasons - most are WAY more spiritual then the canonic 4
I agree that Paul was arguably making up his own Christianity as he went via what he "received" (i.e. dreamed, imagined, hallucinated, fabricated) from the risen Christ, but in his defense, he seems completely unaware of any miracles or teachings credited to Jesus:

1:22 Corinthians "Jews ask a sign, and Greeks seek wisdom, also we — we preach Christ crucified, to Jews, indeed, a stumbling-block, and to Greeks foolishness."

But those stories simply may not have been invented yet when he wrote. The "authentic" Pauline epistles are dated to the mid-first century, while the gospels date from the late first century to the mid-second century. Likewise, when you really examine it, the Corinthian Creed (1 Corinthians 15) he inherited doesn't match up too well with any of the gospel narratives:

"...for I delivered to you first, what also I did receive*, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Writings**, and that he was buried, and that he hath risen on the third day, according to the Writings**, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, afterwards he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain till now, and certain also did fall asleep; afterwards he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all — as to the untimely birth — he appeared also to me..."

* "receive" = received through direct divine revelation (see Galatians 1:12 "I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ")
** "according the the writings" = divine revelation through scriptural interpretation (i.e. like modern "bible coders," finding secret meanings within the text)

So Paul interestingly says he learned that Christ died, was buried and rose through divine revelation and scriptural interpretation (and specifically not oral tradition), and then provides a sequence of the risen Christ first appearing to Cephas (Peter), and then "the twelve" (not eleven at that point? Judas?), then 500 at once, then James and the rest of the apostles and then finally himself. Interesting because none of the gospels represent this exact sequence.

Likewise, according to Paul, the Lords Supper (not the "Last Supper") was not an oral tradition passed down to him from the disciples (Paul never mentions "disciples" at all, only other apostles, like him), but was actually revealed to him directly from Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23 - "For I -- I received from the Lord that which also I did deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was delivered up, took bread,...").

Weird that he would take credit for a story that should have been known, right? Unless it wasn't known, because the stories hadn't been invented yet. That's what would make sense of it to me, anyway.
 
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St. PJ

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Wait, you're basing all of your arguments from a position of Catholicism?
First and foremost, I am Catholic. Not in name, but in belief and practice. Doesn't mean I base all my arguments from a position of Catholicism, but does mean I'm not liable to waste time listening to someone else's doctrine on matters of faith that I believe to be in error.

I'm more than willing to have a discussion with anyone face to face, but I'm not going out of my way (to websites or podcasts or books or ___) to pursue someone's spiritual musings when I fundamentally disagree with their interpretation. If I'm with a friend or family who isn't catholic and is listening or watching something faith related that aint too Catholic, I'll listen, and if the guy means well, I won't speak of what we disagree on but only what we have in common. If, however, whatever source it is (audio, video, in person lecture) attacks my faith, I will very well defend it and speak up.

Catholic church has 2,000 years of spiritual writings, including many spiritual classics like Dark Night of the Soul, Confessions, Summa Theologica, Immitation of Christ, ect that I feel would be a better use of my time than anything Kirk Cameron or ____ has to say.
 

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