Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What is TRUTH?

I've been posting on U2's website...U2.com. It has given me an opportunity to interact with folk from all over the world on spiritual things. Who knew? Some recent interactions have opened the door to post thoughts about the truth claims of Christianity. Here's a recent post that I thought would encourage believers as well...especially with Easter around the corner...

One of the most powerful lines on NLOTH (the new cd, No Line On the Horizon) is found in "I'll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight" Bono sings, "How can you stand next to the TRUTH and not see it?" This is one of the most important lines that could ever be sung...and one of the most important questions that could ever be asked! It flows out of THE MOST important discussion...actually, ultimately, the ONLY discussion worth having...What is TRUTH?

Truth has fallen on hard times lately in our world. Many people actually believe there is no such thing as absolute truth…which is a ridiculous statement because it, in itself, is a statement put in terms of absolute truth! "There is no such thing as absolute truth!" is, itself, an absolute statement. "All truth is relative!" denies the very statement just made!!

Truth is not what each one of us thinks it is subjectively, personally, existentially. True Truth must have an existence in and of itself, whether or not anyone believed in it. The atheist can choose to say God doesn't exist...but one thing is for sure: God does not either exist or not exist based on what the atheist believes. If the atheist is wrong, God's existence is not affected by the atheist's unbelief. And if the believer is wrong, God wouldn’t exist simply because people thought He did.

True Truth must involve the discussion of non-truth if we are to make any progress. Otherwise, we live a nonsensical existence. If cold can be hot and hot can be cold; if light can be dark, and dark can be light; if right can be left and left can be right...life is absurd. Deep within we don't want life to be absurd...we long for meaning and purpose...and for life to make sense.

There are two options...we may be forced to admit that we long for that which is ultimately only an illusion; or, we eventually conclude that humanity longs for that which has actually been built into the universe...our longings either fit with reality or we conclude that evolution has brought us to the place where our innermost longings no longer fit the reality of the universe in which we find ourselves.

If truth is whatever any person thinks it is, we are left with mutually contradictory conclusions...and that is non-sensical...it would be like saying 2=3 or that 2+2=78. So, the ultimate question revolves around how we might be able to arrive at true truth. Christianity is not just an option among various philosophies of life concerning HOW to live out our days. Christianity revolves around the concept of True Truth that flows from the Actual Living, Personal God Who is there.

The beauty is this, however: no one is excluded in Christianity...ALL are welcome, no matter what your background, no matter what your past. All may come, and whoever comes will not be cast away. And True Christianity doesn't EVER seek to harm or kill those who reject Christ. Christ calls Christians to love even our enemies, and to live lives of kindness and to treat every creature under heaven with dignity and respect...

Every one of us must deal with epistemology...that is, the philosophical foundation of “how we know that we know.” How do you know Barak Obama is president of the US? It is verifiable. You can go to Washington, DC and see him at the White House. How do you know 2+2=4? It is verifiable. How do you know that there is such a thing as electricity? It is verifiable. Things may be a little different in the realm of history and philosophy, but there are still elements of verifiability: There are historical documents (some very critical ones that can be seen in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin!); and when it comes to philosophy, there are issues of logic and inconsistency and the question of whether human beings are able to truly live out the logical conclusions of their belief system.

How do we know Jesus lived? Well, to any truly open-minded individual, it is able to be verified from sources other than the Bible. Both Roman and Jewish historians write about Jesus of Nazareth. So, the only real discussion is not did Jesus really live...the only REAL discussion is WHO was Jesus? If HE was a fraud, a fake...then let's forget about Him and move on. BUT, if He was God in the flesh, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then we are faced with whether or not we will put our hope in Him and submit our lives to Him. One question: where's His body?

We're about to celebrate Easter...the resurrection. All the Romans would have needed to do in order to shut down the early church was produce the body...they never did...no one ever did. And the idea that the disciples were just lying is beyond credibility: the world has never seen any group of people who were all able to die for something they knew was a lie without anyone "cracking" under the pressure. The suffering of early Christians was immense. Yet they all died in hope of the conviction of the resurrection and the life everlasting.

By the way, Bono himself addresses this issue of TRUTH in the book by Assayas, In Conversation...See the chapter on Eternity. You'll be blown away. I don't mind people disagreeing with the Christian world-view...what troubles me is people who are unwilling to think.

1 comment:

Larry Fischer said...

The last line is the problem. Most people don't want to think. They are afraid of what they might find.