What Is Truth And Can It Be Relative?
Photo Credit To George Bassilios | timelesstruth.org

What Is Truth And Can It Be Relative?

By George Bassilios

“We are not blind. Evidence for the truth of ideas, statements and facts exists.” What Is Truth And Can It Be Relative? | George Bassilios

Truth, it is said, is determined not by hard facts or science, but by a person’s point of view. This holds true especially where ethics and morality are concerned. Before we discussion this assertion, we must first understand the definition of truth and whether or not it exists.

According to the correspondence theory of truth[1], truth is a statement that matches reality, so unless reality does not exist, truth must exist.

To say that absolute truth does not exist is self-refuting. It is not plausible to say with absolute certainty that absolute certainty does not exist. When you deny that absolute truth is knowable, you have just asserted, absolutely, that you know something.

Can Relativism Be True?

If Relativism were true, then there must be something to which all things are relative—a standard. In other words, something must be absolute before we can see that everything else is relative to it. There must be something which does not change by which we can measure the change in everything else.

“In short, there is no way to avoid moral absolutes without affirming a moral absolute. Total moral relativism becomes self-refuting.” What Is Truth And Can It Be Relative? | George Bassilios

Consider the scale in your bathroom. What if this scale changes every day? How will you be able to determine your weight on any given day? For you to know your weight, the scale must be invariable and constant. Measurement is impossible without absolutes.[2]

Even moral relativists make such statements as, “The world is getting better (or worse).” But it is not possible to know if it is getting “better” unless we know what is “worst” or “best.” Less than perfect is only measurable against a “perfect.” Hence, all objective moral judgments imply an absolute moral standard by which they can be measured. Moral absolutes are unavoidable.

In short, there is no way to avoid moral absolutes without affirming a moral absolute. Total moral relativism becomes self-refuting.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

The story is told about several blind men who come upon an elephant. One touches the trunk and thinks it is a snake. The next feels the leg and deems it to be a tree. The third feels the side and says it is a wall. The point of the story is of course that we are all searching for truth, and that we all have part of it but not all of it, etc. But… They were all wrong.

More importantly, we know they were wrong! The story would mean nothing if we were not aware of the truth. Without truth it is impossible to be wrong.

The story is self-defeating. In trying to prove relative truth, it has instead proven absolute truth.

We are not blind. Evidence for the truth of ideas, statements and facts exists.

We do not require absolute knowledge of absolute truth to assert that it exists.

Although we may be wrong about what the truth is, we must agree that it does exist.

Even if some have a difficult time discerning how we know truth, we do know that it can be known.

Final Question

The real question that remains is not whether truth exists or not, it is whether we are genuinely seeking it or not? 

Scriptures give us a hopeful promise that if we seek genuinely from our heart, we will find (Jer. 29:13) and if we find the truth and live by it, we will, through it, be set free (John 8:31,32), sanctified (John 17:17-19) and purified (1 Pet. 1:22).

References: [1] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/ | [2] http://www.timelesstruth.org/

By: George Bassilios | Deacon at St Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church ~ San Francisco, California USA – #timelesstruth

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About The Author

George Bassilios | Senior Editor at COPTICNN.com.George is a professor of apologetics (defending the Christian faith) at St. Athanasius Boarding Seminary in Texas, St. Paul Theological Seminary in Mississauga, Canada, and St. Athanasius Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been in this ministry for over 15 years.He is a prominent speaker and lecturer in theology and apologetics. He appears on various Christian television programs discussing the truthfulness and relevance of Christianity.George has dual degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from California State University, Hayward. He is a deacon and youth servant at St. Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church in Hayward, California. He lives with his lovely wife, Miranda, and his two boys, Daniel and Jonathan.George is the son of the late Father Bassilios Bassilios, priest of El Botrosiya Church in Cairo. He immigrated from Egypt with his family in 1985 and has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area since.

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