Truth implies error. It is necessary.
Sure. Anything in particular that you want to read about? — DEV
Before we can do that we must have a working definition of truth. Thus, truth is in accordance with the actual state of affairs. It is that which conforms to an essential reality. For example, if you are told that a Professor Sutta lectures at the University of Manila and you go there and discover that this is indeed a fact, then this statement is true. To be very precise, we must go one step further. Truth is ultimately the perfect correspondence or harmony with the mind of God, who is Truth.
Because God is the author of all facts, there is no reality apart from His eternal nature. Has he said, and will he not do it? Carnell lists several criteria that commend themselves to rational men as a guide to judge the truthfulness of a statement. Instinct can help us on the lowest level of judgment. Sigmund Freud He went so far as to think that anything instinctive must be true.
Even after spending all this time apart I know I’m sure of you, I’m sure of us.
It is true that instinct provides motivational power but it provides very little in the way of guidance. For example, on a desert island, I might feel the urge to drink any water in sight. Instinct would tell me 1 had a true thirst. But it would not be much help in determining the safety of the water for drinking.
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So, although instinct may urge you to seek the truth, it fails to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Moreover, instincts can be environmentally conditioned. Then it is impossible to tell what is instinctive and what is acquired by conditioning, So, even if instinct can suggest truth, it cannot itself evaluate it. There is some value in custom, provided the custom was originally based on truth.
A custom is any habit or pattern which has become established for an individual or in a given group of people. But customs can be good or bad, right or wrong, true to the mind of God or out of harmony with the mind of God. The custom, for example, in which a widow used to throw herself into the flames containing the bier and body of her dead husband, is not generally considered today to be a good custom.
Every culture has good and not-so-good customs. Customs in various places and in different times may actually conflict with each other.
“I'm not sure of anything anymore.”
Thus, custom alone cannot be a reliable test for truth. Traditions are simply customs that have become rigid within a culture. As in the case of customs, traditions are often helpful. If they were originally based on truth, they give us roots in the past that can be a stabilizing influence. These traditions can serve as reminders of things that are important. But traditions too have their weaknesses.
They are dependent for value upon their sources.
But even if their sources are good, there is the danger of corruptive change over long periods of time. A tradition based on truth and transmitted in purity is useful. If its source is false, or if it has been corrupted by time, then it can be bad-even dangerous. Finally, there can also be conflicting traditions. Truth must establish tradition, and not tradition truth. This sounds more convincing than it really is. For example, not too many centuries ago, people believed that the sun came up each morning and set each evening.
We speak of it that way because those handy phrases match what appears to happen from our perspective. It is a good thing to believe what your forefathers believed, if what they believed is true. However, it is necessary to find out if what they believed is true. This test of truth proves to be insufficient in itself. They are, you might say, a universal, commonly used way of determining beliefs and actions. Probably more important decisions than we care to admit have been based on hunches or the inspiration of the moment.
This is not all bad. Emotions are an integral part of the human make-up. But while they do give us an indication of what may be true, feelings are not really a reliable test for truth. They are vague, ill-defined, often unstable and fallible. They are apt to be subject to physical fatigue, sickness or some other imbalance of the bodily functions.
Truth must have something more objective than feelings to determine its validity. The impressions we receive through the five senses-sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell-would appear to be a reliable test for truth. Indeed, these are a source of truth. Most of the time we can rely on personal experience.
But it is limited and our senses can be deceived. For example, train-rails appear to join in the distance. A boat oar half emerged in water appears bent. And most of us have no doubt experienced seeing a mirage on a hot dusty day. Also, we accept as valid knowledge many things we have not experienced with our senses, such as historical material and geographical data. For example, we did not experience the Napoleonic Wars, so we must rely upon written records for any true knowledge of them.
We must rely upon maps to provide an accurate picture of a country where we have not been ourselves. So, we cannot depend fully upon sense perception alone to know truth. There is great value to correspondence, especially in the case of concrete reality. For example, archaeological discoveries of the past century have confirmed much information given to us in the Bible.
Geographical locations, identification of peoples, places, events, cultures, and many other facts have been validated positively because of the correspondence between the findings of archaeology and the biblical record. So correspondence may be used as a good definition of truth, but it is defective as a test for truth, for such correspondence must in some way be established.
Another problem is, how could this test be used to measure the value and truth of intangibles such as love, happiness, beauty, or joy? Pragmatism defines truth as that which works. This would seem to be a very simple and direct way to find truth and it is, in fact, a way that we use almost every day at a practical level.
But if she uses substitutes, or misreads the instructions, the original recipe cannot be blamed for failure.
So there is merit to this approach, for we would not expect ultimate truth to have poor consequences or bad results. Our limited vision of future consequences reduces the value of pragmatism as a test for truth.
It is possible for things to work temporarily, seeming to produce favorable results, when the basis for them is not true. For example, a man in financial difficulty might solve his problems by embezzling money from the firm he works for. Pragmatism can lead to skepticism and despair as well, for that which works-or is true-for one person may not work-or be true-for another.
Because Christianity is true, it does work, but we do not base its truth on workability. Systematic consistency provides the most reliable test for truth. It involves two parts, consistency and coherence. Consistency means that every true idea will be consistent with what else is known. The parts or features of the whole must be in agreement with one another.
There are some who mistakenly teach that in Christianity there are ultimate or eternal paradoxes apparent contradictions or antinomies. But such apparent contradictions can be tolerated because there will be a final resolution of seemingly conflicting ideas in the mind of God. Consistency is not enough, however, for even though it shows the absence of error, we must also know how, when, and why truth sticks together.