“What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate, the infamous post-modernist who condemned Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion. His question resonates deeply with every person who takes the time to ponder it. What is truth? Does it exist? Can we ever know it?
The short answer to the last two is “Yes.” Truth does exist, and we can come to know the truth. Truth can be defined as the correspondence of a statement to reality. In the tongue-twisting words of Aristotle, “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.”
We can identify many examples of truths. If I were to see a dog and say that it was a cat, that would be false, because it is really a dog. The dog is simply a dog. To say that it is a dog is a true statement, in conformity with truth. While this is a small observation in comparison to the big questions of the age, it serves to demonstrate that truth exists and we can come to know the truth.“What is truth?” asked Pontius Pilate, the infamous post-modernist who condemned Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion. His question resonates deeply with every person who takes the time to ponder it. What is truth? Does it exist? Can we ever know it?
One could argue that truth cannot be defined, be applied universally, or even known as a result of us being incapable of correctly interpreting reality. These claims are false. By saying that there is no singular definition of truth, you are making a claim to it being true that there is no real truth. This is a logical contradiction, and thus false. And if we could not interpret reality, we would not even be capable of making the statement we cannot know reality, as we are henceforth claiming to know reality. This too is a fallacy. These false claims are not restricted to a particular region in space-time. They are statements that could have been made by anyone, anytime and anyplace. That does not change the fact that they are not true; they are universally false. Thus, truth is universally true. In its strictest sense, truth is.
And what is?
God is the most real thing about the universe. God is more real than us. He is. As He revealed to Moses in the burning bush: “I AM WHO AM.” It is God’s nature to be, as St. Thomas Aquinas coined with the Latin term “esse.” Thus, God is truth. And this makes sense: Jesus Christ said Himself: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” We not only see that God is truth, but that God is the only thing that gives us life, purpose, and direction in life. To live without God is to live without. And here we see that there is a way of existence, a way of life in which we find purpose, meaning, and truth. To live in the truth is to live a life with God, the Holy Trinity.
But, sadly, we live in a culture which says truth is nonexistent, subjective, non-absolute, and unrelatable. The most prevalent philosophy containing some or even all of these beliefs is relativism.
Relativism is the idea that there is no absolute truth. Standards of morality, living, and knowledge are reliant on contemporary culture. As culture becomes outdated, so also does that culture’s philosophy die. In its strictest sense, there is no right and no wrong. Everything is thrown into subjectivity.
So many people today have become infected with relativism. I myself have encountered friends, adults, teachers, and peers who subscribe to this way of thinking. If you take a visit to 99% of college campuses in America, you will find that the vast majority of students believe that everyone has their own truth. In a way that is correct, as everyone has their own life experiences and perceptions of truth, but this simply does not change reality. Our perceptions cannot change reality.
I call relativism a way of thinking because so often its ideals do not carry over into a way of being. So many relativist activists constantly call for tolerance, acceptance, self-love (the unhealthy kind of overindulgence), and equality. In fighting for these things, the relativists are in fact saying that tolerance, acceptance, and equality are objectively better or at least desirable for every human being, no matter what you think. They begin to do the very thing which they oppose: they impose their morality on others. When they say there is no absolute truth, they themselves are claiming to know the truth that there is no truth. The philosophy is self-refuting. Why would these principles be so good that every person should obey them if good or bad didn’t exist? In calling for others to conform and reform, they are defeating their own purpose. In a truly relative society, no one can lift a finger in protest of another’s actions.
Relativism also brings about illness in every aspect of life: physically, spiritually, psychologically; you name it. If you constantly overindulge, you can potentially gain many unhealthy pounds. Being overweight is not good for your health; this is indisputable scientific fact. One can suffer psychological damage because relativism teaches that everything you think, feel, or do is acceptable. This leads people to betray their own consciences and live lives of sin, bad habits, and absolutely no self-mastery. If one believes that there is no truth, then belief in God is incompatible. Every religion with belief in God or gods is destroyed and unnecessary.
Contemplating the uncertainty and lostness of each person trapped in this philosophy can be disheartening. Several of our society’s problems have been caused by if not increased by relativism. Young men feel extremely lost, many Americans feel purposeless, suicides are increasing, happiness is rare, general moral principles are on the decline; in short, we are a mess.
In wake of all the harm done by this poison, we must turn back to truth. We must turn back to God. Only in God can we find the truth, beauty, and goodness we so deeply desire. Just like the Israelites sinned and repented time and time again, we must do the same. We must seek what is real, what is moral. We must be willing to tell people that they are wrong; we have to put aside the facade of niceness and instead be good, dangerous people. We must also remember that our fight is not against each other but against principalities and powers and spirits of wickedness. Of course, we have all that we need in this battle, for Jesus Christ has already paid the price for our sins! Jesus is Our Savior! We needn’t worry, for He is Our Redeemer, and He loves us.
My brothers and sisters, take courage, choose joy, and be who God made you to be! Viva Cristo Rey!