I was reading an article by Francis Beckwith just now on moral relativism and he made a statement about how Americans tend to have a relativistic stance that assumes that we cannot know the truth even if it does exist. Beckwith is an excellent Christian apologist and I’d heard such a term before, but I really started to wonder about it.
Does truth exist outside of us, or does it only exist inside of us? Do we create truth or do we discover it? It seems that if we were to be the ones who were discovering truth, then that would mean that there existed truth outside of us. What would this truth consist of though? Is it a material reality or an immaterial reality?
Truth is a relationship between two things. If I have an idea that I am writing my blog and reality indicates that I am writing my blog, then the truth affirmed is that I am writing my blog. The idea in my mind corresponds to the activity in the real world, and thus is true.
Yet how do we differentiate between material things and describe their relationship? We speak of them being bigger or further apart or drawn to one another by magnetism. Of course, this is a small listing. The adjectives we use are adjectives that describe physical attributes, the only attributes that can exist in a materialistic world. All that exists must be that which is material. If anything immaterial exists, then materialism is refuted.
Yet, do we really believe truth exists? In his book “The Mind of God” Paul Davies gives an illustration. He suggests that we take two propositions. We will call the first one A and the second one B, and we will have two scenarios. Both have A being “There is no absolute truth.” If B says in response “A is true”, then that is absolute. If it says “A is false” then there are absolute truths. In either case, absolute truth exists.
Yet would truth really exist if minds did not exist? LEt us suppose that a scientist invented a trasnport machine and went to an alternate universe where there were no intelligent minds. When he’s there, do things suddenly become true? Let’s assume it was just like ours, except in this naturalistic universe, life never evolved. Does the statements he’s making about the distance of the Sun from the Earth become true when he says them, or does he find the distance and report it because it’s already true?
However, if this truth exists, then there must be a mind if truth is a relationship between two things, the thought and the world outside of the thought. In order for this to be the case though, there has to be a mind always affirming all of these truths. Of course, the Christian has the answer. There exists truth because there exists the eternal mind of God that affirms all truths in all worlds.
Let us remember also who we are. We are followers of him who said he is the truth. If we are to be people of the truth who affirm the reality of the truth, we need to start living the truth.