I find it ironic that although much of society has scoffed at the notion of objective truth, the issue of fake news has come to the center of cultural conversation after the election. Much of society has embraced postmodernism that says absolute truth does not exist. Rather there can be multiple truths, even if they are contradictory. Postmodernists believe everything is relative. Thus, you can have your truth, and I can have my truth.Ironically, this movement hangs its hat on the truth claim “there is no absolute truth.”
Objective truth has been a benchmark for Western thought for more than a millennia. Rather than arguing for objective truth, Postmodernists argue for a personal/subjective understanding of truth and reality. That is, rather than understanding truth as something objectively real, there can be an infinite number of truths, e.g. my truth, your truth, and everyone else truth.
Why should we care? If we adopt this system, then we must live with all of its consequences in every area. As a worldview, it necessarily applies to every issue under consideration. If there is no absolute truth, then there are no absolutes when it comes to matters of reality or morality.
But let’s just state the obvious: we are incapable of living in such a system. In an ivory tower some may be able to philosophize, but, as the uproar over fake news demonstrates, we care deeply about truthfulness and falsehood. If we didn’t have this desire for truth, the fake news would not be an issue, and fact checking would not be a multimillion dollar industry.
But let’s bring this down to real life. Think about your car or your house. Calling something your own is a statement of objective truth. If someone were to claim it was theirs, a postmodern worldview could only affirm that you have your truth and they have their truth, even if those truths are contradictory.
The issue comes into more stark relief when we consider issues of morality. If moral absolutes do not exist then, there are no inherently evil acts. Acts are merely wrong in a given context or social structure. Thus, society determines whether deeds like murder are wrong or if they are permissible. If we take this morality to its logical conclusion, we could argue that even the Holocaust was not inherently evil.
And yet, the human heart recognizes that particular events and acts are morally evil and will always be so. God has placed within humanity the innate knowledge that absolute and universal truths exist.
The issue of truth is of paramount importance for Christians. From a Biblical worldview, we believe that one characteristic of God is His truthfulness and that His knowledge and words are the standards for truth. Since God knows all things exhaustively, God’s knowledge is the standard for true knowledge. Therefore, he the truth is that which conforms to His knowledge. Moreover, God’s Word, the Bible, is the standard of truth because God speaks in accordance with His character.
Truth is central to the Christian faith. It rises or falls on the truth that Scripture is the truth of God given to humanity. Without truth, we lose everything.