What is Truth?

Some people might recall the above from the show trial of Jesus when Pontius Pilate asked him ‘What is Truth?’ (John 18:38) Let’s face it, it’s a good question though wrongly motivated at that time. In fact it’s often asked from a wrong motive. I have no evidence or data for this but people usually ask it sneeringly because they don’t want there to be such a thing as truth – at all! If there were such a thing it would impact powerfully on us and our world. Here’s Albert Barnes commenting on this verse:

This question had long agitated the world. It was the great subject of inquiry in all the schools of the Greeks. Different sects of philosophers had held different opinions, and Pilate now, in derision, asked him, whom he esteemed an ignorant fanatic, whether he could solve this long-agitated question. He might have had an answer. If he had patiently waited in sincerity, Jesus would have told him what it was. Thousands ask the question in the same way. They have a fixed contempt for the Bible; they deride the instructions of religion; they are unwilling to investigate and to wait at the gates of wisdom; and hence, like Pilate, they remain ignorant of the great Source of truth, and die in darkness and in error. All might find truth if they would seek it; none ever will find it if they do not apply for it to the great source of light the God of truth, and seek it patiently in the way in which he has chosen to communicate it to mankind. How highly should we prize the Bible! And how patiently and prayerfully should we search the Scriptures, that we may not err and die forever!

Truth is Fallen

Whatever it was like back then, today, we live in world where truth is elastic, or relative, or subjective and the whole concept that there could somehow somewhere be such a thing as objective truth is preposterous – even dangerous. Perhaps you remember the phrase from Parliament when one ‘honourable member’ used the phrase or what is now popularly remembered as  being ‘economical with the truth‘ – that is deliberate lying or withholding pertinent facts. We live in days where according to the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 59:14 ESV) ‘Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter’ or as another translation (AV) has it ‘truth is fallen in the street‘. This phrase very powerfully expresses where we are regarding truth today.

Truth is Vital

But aren’t we thankful that truth exists in our bank accounts or regarding our pay. Wouldn’t we be up in arms if our pay were cut for no other reason than our employers thought it added up. Or what about engineering calculations. Some of us might remember the ‘Wobbly Bridge‘ (Millennium Bridge) over the Thames. There had to be a re-calculation. Why? Because it’s important that 2+2 always equal 4. What about calculations that not only send rockets into outer space, but make sure they return. Truth is vital to the Astronauts!

And yet, as important as truth is, it doesn’t quite seem to be important at all in other areas. And this is what prompted this post. We have had in Norway a terrible massacre of young lives by a man his attorney has labelled mad or insane – Anders Behring Breivik. What about some of the issues he raised? What about his quoting Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch? Is Islam an evil religion, is it a deception? What about Immigration and the Islamic doctrine of Al-Hijra? These are things to do with Truth. Are they true or not? Just because these issues and names appear in the writings of an insane person does that mean some of the things he mentions are untrue?

Politicians ‘Wobble’

Politicians are faced, it seems to me, with a dilemma – especially when it comes to religion. Here’s the dilemma that politicians around the world and especially in Europe and America are faced with but will not address. Not all religions can be true – this is impossible. Their answer is to either not talk about – and a number of social commentators that I’ve heard warn against this. Or, they outlaw any discussion by re-framing it as either racist, xenophobic and most popularly now Islamophobic. I could mention many other unmentionable topics.

The question I want to address is this one. Is it true? People believe all manner of falsehoods be they religious or non-religious. But whatever these falsehoods are, some of them or all of them must not be true. They might not be deliberate untruth but it doesn’t alter the fact. To demonstrate the consequences of this – consider Robert Spencer. On his blog Jihad Watch there is a link to an interview by the BBC World Service that has the BBC trying to blame the Norway Massacre on Spencer because Breivik mentions his name in his writing. Frankly, I’m disgusted by the BBC but it clearly shows the consequences – deliberate or unforeseen. For Islamists (also read Anti Christian) this whole area is an open goal. I’ll let you think about that one!

Freedom of Speech

But once again I come back to this point and I’ll frame it more explicitly. Is Christianity true, or, is Islam true? They cannot possibly both be true. But will ‘Freedom of Speech’ be allowed to say so, and, say it unequivocally without fear of the police calling at the door. There are those that believe I and other Christians are total nut jobs. I’m OK with that. I don’t have a problem for example with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens having a go at Christianity – and other religions too. And I think they would be fine about our right to reply. So why is Islam off limits? Is this where our Freedom is headed? I want a robust discussion of these things. Will it be allowed? I’ve spent the last few posts on Islam and there are a few more to come – but it’s massively relevant at the moment. We are in the process of giving up many of our rights to Freedom of Speech.

Follow this link to Jihad Watch to find the Robert Spencer interview on the BBC World Service. Not sure how long it will be available so go to it ASAP.