What is Truth? (Open Forum) – Gospel in Life

What is Truth? (Open Forum)

Tim Keller |  March 5, 1995

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  • The Bible
OF 05


“What is truth?” is the famous question Pilate asks Jesus before the crucifixion. Did he sincerely believe that truth was something that could be grasped or was he a skeptic that doubted the existence of truth? “We must understand Pilate to understand ourselves, for he may have represented the very modern view that truth is after all a relative and subjective affair, an agreed-upon convention, a matter of expedience — and that therefore we are justified in doing anything that seems expedient, even as Pilate” (Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain).

The Gallup poll reports 66 percent of Americans say there is no such thing as absolute truth, but historic Christianity says there is — moral absolutes, absolute truths, truths about God and eternal things that everybody and every culture needs to bow to and submit to. Let’s look at it more closely under these three headings: 1) how we deny truth, 2) why we deny it, and 3) how we use it anyway (that you can’t avoid living your life as if there is absolute truth).

1. How we deny there’s such a thing as absolute truth

When we explore postmodern thinking, we see a big influence on society. It suggests that our world is shaped by social ideas, and there’s no such thing as an absolute truth or unchanging moral rules. This idea is common in academic circles and cultural discussions, challenging the idea that truth exists outside of us. Despite this, it’s important to think about what truth means and how it gives meaning to our lives.

2. Why we deny there’s such a thing as absolute truth

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1 about how people often ignore or push down the truth. This idea is different from Freud’s theory that religion is just a psychological crutch that’s fading away. Truth exists, regardless of what we believe, and this goes against the modern habit of bending the truth to fit what we want. It’s important to question our doubts and look into Christianity seriously before rejecting its teachings.

3. How we still use the idea of absolute truth

Looking at how we handle truth and morals in life can be seen in a story of a tennis player with memory loss or the strong reactions we have to Anne Frank’s story. The idea of moral truth is discussed, suggesting that without it, we wouldn’t be able to feel strongly about right and wrong. Facing the truth is important, and Christianity can bring joy and real change when we accept God’s life and truth.


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