“What is truth?” Perhaps the most important question in history was asked by Pontius Pilate when he examined Jesus. The answered question leads all to form their world view thereby determining the principles by which their lives are lived. It influences the choices they make or do not make and determines the mindset by which they perform all deeds in their life. The truth states what reality ought to be. Any form of divergence from the truth in action must then be considered insanity, as truth is absolute and should determine absolutely. With so many claiming truths in their belief systems, how is one to discern what is true from what is fictitious?
Before the question of truth can even be addressed, there is a foundation of two presuppositions that must be explored. The first is that truth exists, and the second that it is possible to determine the truth. Ones determination of these two presuppositions is fundamental in forming the basis of a world view to dictate reality. Two popular world views that arise from answering these questions incorrectly are the atheistic and agnostic mindsets.
The former presupposition that truth exists is most commonly verified by the presence of an absolute moral code. An atheistic mindset may not necessarily be an attempt to disprove the existence of God, but rather to nullify the accountability that is demanded by an absolute moral code. The basis for a moral code rests on the argument that there is good and evil and that it can be determined. If there is good and evil, then there is a moral code. If there is a moral code, there must be a predetermined way to differentiate what is good and evil, and if there is a way to differentiate between good and evil, there must be a Moral Code Giver who determines what is good (right) and evil (wrong). These moral codes are based on the attributes of the author of the moral codes.
In choosing to believe that absolute truth does not exist, atheists then make moral codes situational and relative, removing the Moral Code Giver and any accountability to said being in the process. There is no doubt that the theory of evolution has played a strong supporting role in the development of this theory. Atheists are forced to theorize how moral codes came into existence, since their existence is undeniable. The existence of moral codes according to evolution is based on a communal approach rather than an individualistic approach to the general welfare of a population. Morals are an evolved phenomenon that occurs for the mutual promotion of survival in a population group. This theory will not be addressed other than to state that it is created to explain the existence of morals. The only absolute truth that exists in an atheistic world-view is that absolute truth does not exist. The statement that there are no absolutes is an absolute statement and nullifies itself as a logical argument for disproving the reality of a world governed and sustained by absolute principles.
The latter presupposition that truth can be determined rests upon the world-view that although one can observe the presence of absolute truths as displayed in the natural world, it is impossible to know where these truths come from to attribute them to a distinct entity. Agnostics will most likely claim that truths do exist, but that they are found in every religion, therefore any claim to the exclusive possession of truth is errant. Various religions or spiritual practices globe wide will claim to possess absolute truth within their belief systems. This multitude of exclusive claims to absolute truth only creates an overwhelming amount of smoke in the room, prohibiting one from seeing the door with which to exit. One essential question must be asked of each religious doctrine to begin the evaluation of its truthfulness: does the claim to truth have an undeniable relationship with what is observed in reality? If there is no correlation between a claim to truth and the behavioral aspect of reality, one can only invalidate that claim to truth as a plausible basis for reality. Religion (in a philosophical sense) is a means by which man attempts to discover the spiritual truths that best describe the human condition as we see it in action. Regardless of ones views on spirituality, philosophy and religion, it is remarkable that within all lies an innate desire to ask these questions to find purpose or meaning in life. The desire to answer the existential question comes naturally within oneself simply by the realization that one exists.
When two claims to truth contradict one another there are two possible conclusions that can be derived from the contradiction. One exclusive claim to truth is correct and the other errant or both exclusive claims to truth are errant. Two contradicting claims to truth cannot coexist logically given that the nature of truth is absolute. The exclusivity of truth is unavoidable due to this characteristic. What then is one to conclude when two contradicting claims to truth concerning a Moral Code Giver present themselves? Every religion claims absolute truth, while at the same time presents trivial discrepancies regarding the creation/formation of life, the character of God, the state of the human condition, and the path to holiness or enlightenment. A proper examination of each doctrine on which the claims of absolute truth are made and how they correlate with reality then becomes essential to determining the truthfulness of any given claim.
When Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me,” his statement was profound on several levels. First, Jesus’ statement was an exclusive claim as the only way to God the Father. Obviously throughout history there have been multiple claims as to how one may reach God. Many have a problem with this exclusive claim to truth, saying “it is very narrow-minded of you to believe there is only one way to God.” Underlying this view is the presupposition that one, as a human is in a position to author truth and that one can decide what is true and what is not for him/herself. God is the author of truth by nature and if He has made a means for us to be reconciled to Him, then it is on the terms that He alone has set in place. He acts according to who He is. The sacrifice of Jesus is the only way in which God set forth to show His attributes of love, mercy, and forgiveness while still satisfying His just punishment of sin. If He says it is the only way, then it is the only way if one chooses to accept it or not. In fact, the truth is not dependent on an individual’s acceptance of it to be the truth.
Second, Jesus claimed to be “the truth.” Since it has already been stated that God is the author of truth and that His actions are based on His nature of truth, the only logical deduction is that Jesus was claiming to be of the same nature as God. His claim in this instance goes beyond what any person can claim. He claimed not just to know the truth, but that He actually is the truth. This is a claim to deity. If then He is by nature the truth, His words and actions will reflect His character.
Third, Jesus claimed to be “the life.” There is no greater evidence of Jesus’ power over death than the power demonstrated by His resurrection and the act of raising others from the dead. In order for him to be the life he must possess power over death, as one cannot give what they do not possess. This is another of Jesus’ claims to deity. Jesus is claiming to be the Giver of Life which is a role that only God can assume. Furthermore, the fact that Jesus raised Himself from the dead shows that He has the power to do so. If Jesus had not been able to raise Himself or any other from the grasp of death, His claim as the Giver of Life could not be taken seriously. Either Jesus’ claim of deity is true, or He is delusional and has lost all touch with reality leaving all of His claims incredulous.
It is easy for one to argue that the most important claims to truth are those claimed by Jesus. If His claims were nothing but egotistical lies for self promotion then there is no hope in Him for salvation in a physical or spiritual sense. If Jesus did in fact come to testify to the truth as God in the flesh and was not guilty of speaking the blasphemy that He was condemned for, then the truth is that every man desperately needs Him to pay a debt they could not pay. Since God is truth and determines truth based on His nature, it does not seem narrow-minded that He made only one way to Him for only He can determine a way that satisfies His need for just the punishment and propitiation for the sins committed against His standard of righteousness. Rather than condemning every man to eternal separation from Him, He, in His merciful and loving character chose to give all that he had to reconcile a rebellious people to Himself. All that He had was Himself, Jesus.