Before we jump head first into the reality of God, I want to reverse a mile or so. No matter what J and I write here, nothing will be helpful or convincing without a study about truth, logic, fallacy, the Law of Non-Contradiction, and a few other treasures. I have a favorite book, and will be allowing Frank and Norm to articulate particular treasures in the upcoming weeks.
I will not be responding to any comments for the next few weeks. Perhaps you can save them until the end of this particular segment, as they will not be addressed.
Regardless of the satisfaction or disappointment you feel at the end of my few week segment, logically you will be headed in one of two directions. Closer to God, or far from Him. Which way are you headed?
‘We demand the truth from:
loved ones (no one wants lies from a spouse or a child)
doctors (we want the right medicine prescribed and the right operations performed)
stock brokers (we demand that they tell us the truth about companies they recommend)
courts (we want them to convict only the truly guilty)
employers (we want them to tell us the truth and pay us fairly)
airlines (we demand truly safe planes and truly sober pilots)
We also expect to be told the truth when we pick up a reference book, read an article, or watch a news story; we want the truth from advertisers, teachers, and politicians; we assume road signs, medicine bottles, and food labels reveal the truth. In fact, we demand the truth for almost every facet of life that affects our money, relationships, safety, or health.
On the other hand, despite our unwavering demands for truth in those areas, many of us say we aren’t interested in truth when it comes to morality or religion. In fact, many downright reject the idea that any religion can be true.
As we’re sure you’ve noticed, there’s a huge contradiction here. Why do we demand truth in everything but morality and religion? In fact, many downright reject the idea that any religion can be true.
As we’re sure you’ve noticed, there’s a huge contradiction here. Why do we demand truth in everything but morality and religion? Why do we say, “That’s true for you but not for me,” when we’re talking about morality or religion, but we never even think of such nonsense when we’re talking to a stock broker about our money or a doctor about our health?
Although few would admit it, our rejection of religious and moral truth is often on volitional rather than intellectual grounds—we just don’t want to be held accountable to any moral standards or religious doctrine. So we blindly accept the self-defeating truth claims of politically correct intellectuals who tell us that truth does not exist; everything is relative; there are no absolutes; it’s all a matter of opinion; you ought not judge; religion is about faith, not facts! Perhaps Augustine was right when he said that we love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us. Maybe we can’t handle the truth.
In order to resolve our cultural schizophrenia, we need to address four questions concerning truth:
1. What is truth?
2. Can truth be known?
3. Can truths about God be known?
4. So what? Who cares about truth?”
WHAT IS TRUTH? THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH
What is truth? Very simply, truth is “telling it like it is.” When the Roman governor Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” nearly 2,000 years ago, he didn’t wait for Jesus to respond. Instead, Pilate immediately acted as if he knew at least some truth. Concerning Jesus, he declared, “I find no fault in this man” (see John 18:38). By exonerating Jesus, Pilate was “telling it like it is.”
Truth can also be defined as “that which corresponds to its object” or “that which describes an actual state of affairs.” Pilate’s judgment was true because it matched its object; it described an accurate state of affairs. Jesus really was innocent.
Contrary to what is being taught in many public schools, truth is not relative but absolute. If something is true, it’s true for all people, at all times, in all places. All truth claims are absolute, narrow, and exclusive. Just think about the claim “everything is true.” That’s an absolute, narrow, and exclusive claim. It excludes its opposite (i.e., it claims the statement “everything is not true” is wrong). In fact, all truths exclude their opposites. Even religious truths.
This became comically clear when a number of years ago I (Norm) debated religious humanist Michael Constantine Kolenda. Of the many atheists I debated, he was one of the few who actually read my book Christian Apologetics prior to the debate.
When it was his turn to speak, Kolenda held up my book and declared, “These Christians are very narrow-minded people. I read Dr. Geisler’s book. Do you know what he believes? He believes that Christianity is true and everything opposed to it is false! These Christians are very narrow-minded people!”
Well, Kolenda had also written a book which I had read beforehand. It was titled Religion Without God (which is sort of like romance without a spouse!). When it was my turn to speak, I held up Kolenda’s book and declared, “These humanists are very narrow-minded people. I read Dr. Kolenda’s book. Do you know what he believes? He believes that humanism is true and everything opposed to it is false! These humanists are very narrow-minded people!”
The audience chuckled because they could see the point. Humanist truth claims are just as narrow as Christian truth claims. For if H (humanism) is true, then anything opposed to H is false. Likewise, if C (Christianity) is true, then anything opposed to C is false.
There are many other truths about truth. Here are some of them:
Truth is discovered, not invented. It exists independent of anyone’s knowledge of it. (Gravity existed prior to Newton.)
Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times (2+2=4 for everyone, everywhere, at every time).
Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change. (When we began to believe the earth was round instead of flat, the truth about the earth didn’t change, only our belief about the earth changed.)
Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincerely they are held. (Someone can sincerely believe the world is flat, but that only makes that person sincerely mistaken.)
Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it. (An arrogant person does not make the truth he professes false. A humble person does not make the error he professes true.)
All truths are absolute truths. Even truths that appear to be relative are really absolute. (For example, “I, Frank Turek, feel warm on November 20, 2003” may appear to be a relative truth, but it is actually absolutely true for everyone, everywhere that Frank Turek had the sensation of warmth on that day.)
In short, contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible. We can believe everything is true, but we cannot make everything true.”
Excerpt From: Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” Crossway Books. iBooks.
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