In our post truth culture amid fake news it is a real challenge to talk to others about the truth because people have changed it’s original meaning. It’s not easy to compete with ideas that are false and are being disguised as being the real truth. Additionally, younger generations have manufactured the term real or true freedom as it relates to their truth. Their intention is to mean that only when all boundaries and rules are removed then that is when we can live in total freedom. Are these younger generations correct in postulating such a statement? In the following paragraphs I intend to show why they are wrong in thinking this way, how can we define truth, and solutions to get us on the same page.
It was Pointus Pilate who said it best, “what is truth?” (John 18:38). According to MacMillian’s legal thesaurus the word truth is akin to “accuracy, actuality, authenticity, candor, conformity to fact, correctness, exactness, fact, genuineness, honesty, integrity, precision, probity, realism, reality, right, sincerity, and veracity”. If we trust widely accepted reference materials are correct in defining words it is unjust to change the definition of a word like truth just because it doesn’t conform to our feelings. Further, truth can be summed up to be defined as a statement that ‘corresponds to reality’. We must follow the evidence and see where it takes us.
For example, before I became a Christian I spent time researching different religions. I remember investigating the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the caves of Qumran. Based on the evidence found and comparing it with the bible I couldn’t discount Christianity as being false. Instead of running away from the information I found I allowed the evidence to lead me to the truth and it did just that.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). This scripture is comforting to the christian but it makes the unbeliever’s pride swell as they think of a way they can do things without Jesus.
As I look to define what truth is I must describe what truth is not. Some people in today’s post truth culture assert that we must find our own truth. However, I think these people are confusing truth with belief. You can choose to believe whatever you want but that doesn’t mean it is true. There are many worldviews to choose from but we can’t expect them to all be true. Another confusion people have with truth is that using it like a feeling.
As Abdu Murray points out in his book Saving Truth, “In a post-truth culture, where preferences and opinions are elevated over facts and truth, anything that challenges our preferences, even if a challenge is laced with facts, is deemed offensive and oppressive.”
Unfortunately, our culture has confused autonomy for freedom and that an idea can only be true if it removes all boundaries. Truth is never lost but it can be forgotten if people continue to alter it’s original meaning. Truth is not a preference that we can change as quickly as our feelings. We can choose to believe what we want but that doesn’t mean that it’s true. Also, there are not many versions of the truth because that will contradict itself. In the words of Ravi Zacharias, “We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.”