We are witnessing a disturbing shift in our culture in its attitude toward truth. The post-modern Western world is suffering from an acute case of “truth decay.” In fact, more and more American citizens no longer believe in absolute truth, especially the younger generations. Although we should not have to use the adjective absolute to describe truth (because truth by its very nature is absolute), what we are finding is that the notion of truth is being corrupted by its becoming increasingly associated with opinion or belief. And so we will hear someone say, “Such and such may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Or, if you utter a true statement to someone and they don’t like it, they will reply, “That’s just your opinion.” A popular mantra of the day is “truth is relative,” or “something is true depending upon the situation.”
But what is truth? Is it like a soft piece of clay we can mold and shape to suit us? Can we create truth out of thin air, much like pulling a rabbit out of a hat? Can a small group of Supreme Court justices simply create reality by judicial fiat? Can a man declare himself to be a woman, or a woman a man, simply by saying so? Is truth something that a culture or people group invents? Does it change? These are the prevailing views today in many, many circles, especially higher education and the so-called liberal elite.
Viewing truth this way will eventually lead to the collapse of a society. No one can really function or live in a world where truth is relative. If truth were really in this constant state of flux, bridges could not be built, skyscrapers erected, or trips to the moon planned and carried out. Can you imagine a situation where a doctor tells her patient, “Lab results prove you have cancer,” and the patient responds like this, “I don’t like the thought of having cancer. Doctor, your statement may be ‘true for you’ but it’s not ‘true for me.’”
Philosophers over the years have come up with two major theories of truth: (1) the correspondence theory, and (2) the coherence theory. In theory #1, truth is what corresponds to reality. In Theory #2, something is true only when it fits in with other truths to form a system of thought (i.e, it coheres or hangs together).. In case number one, a parent tries to arrive at what really happened when her two children are arguing over who broke her favorite plate. In case number two, a detective will try to find inconsistencies in a suspect’s “story” (it takes a great deal more effort to concoct an elaborate lie and keep it together than it is simply to speak the truth).
But in either case, truth is not person-relative. In other words, truth is truth, whether anyone believes it or not, likes it or not, despises it or not. A person might not want to hear the truth, might not want to accept it, and in fact might reject it. That changes nothing. And in the end, truth is so powerful that it will prevail. It cannot be suppressed forever. Humans invent every kind of device to avoid it or skirt it, but ultimately, all of it will be in vain. This is due to the fact that God is the source of truth, and is in fact Truth Personified (John 14:6). On Judgment Day the brilliant searchlight of truth will expose all that is phony. Every lie will dissolve. And so for the believer in Jesus Christ, stand strong in the truth, for it will finally win out.