What is Truth?

Its the question Pilate asked, but Jesus never really answered.

Growing up, I was sure I knew. I was surrounded by people who were sure they knew.

Truth was given to people who seriously read their Bibles, the Spirit revealed the truth to us. If other people came to different conclusions from their bible reading were being misled by the devil, because if they were truly reading the bible in the Spirit, they would come to the same conclusions as we had. There were very few people who really knew “the truth”.

One of the things that has drawn me to the Catholic Church is that they have an absolute truth claim that isn’t founded on each individual’s interpretation of the scriptures. Finally, one or two people won’t be able to lead hundreds or thousands astray simply because they are better at proof-texting the Bible than someone else!

But does that really change anything? Does that just mean that everyone will proof-text the teachings of the magisterium? And how do we know there is an absolute truth anyways?

I believe there is a God. I believe in the supernatural, and I know that the name of Jesus has power over evil. I have learned amazing things through Christianity. In many ways, I believe that the path of life laid out for Christians, is the best way to live. And yet I wonder, what gives Christians the right to say they’ve figured it out, that they know what God wants for every person? How can anybody decide that?

I wouldn’t say it’s easy to live the Christian life, and it has given me amazing blessings. But what about people that have to give up more than me?

It’s all fine and good for me to live without birth control, but what happens when I have a major health condition that would endanger my life and my child’s if I became pregnant? It’s easy for me to say that practicing homosexuality is a sin, and that people that have that temptation are called to life-long celibacy. But when I have a son who tells me he is gay, am I really going condemn him if he is not celibate for life?

How do we know that we are right?

What is truth?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13240230832660127316 Michelle

    Well, I think sometimes it is good to remember that we can't condemn anyone (i.e., you cannot condemn your son)…we are condemned by our actions and only God makes the final judgment.

    And as far as how would someone know they are right? Well, I think that's just what Faith is all about. We don't know anything for certain, but we have Faith that Jesus meant what He said and that God keeps His covenants.

    With the birth control, during my journey I felt as you did at one point. But I thought about this lately because honestly, we are trying to dig out of a financial mess and a pregnancy right this moment would be incredibly difficult in many different ways. However, the idea of choosing to go against God's plan for our marital sexuality…knowing that choosing AGAINST GOD is choosing Evil…is enough for me. Now. But it hasn't always been.

    I love reading your blog…it comes across as such blatant honesty and I have been where you are…and I go back at times…This journey of Faith is not for the weak. God bless.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Thank you Michelle. I am not particularly struggling with the teachings on birth control right now, but I can't say that I wouldn't wonder if it was just a bunch of superfluis rules if I ever had a tough situation in life, or knew someone who did.
    And somone's sexuality is such a huge part of them, that is alot to give up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13240230832660127316 Michelle

    I didn't mean to imply any of it was easy. And sexuality issues are difficult for everyone, I agree. I hope that wasn't callous of me. If it came off that way, I do apologize.

    One thing that I ponder more often than I probably should is the fact that sexuality issues (birth control, sterilization, same-sex attraction) ARE such a huge part of our lives or our persons…and I believe the struggles we have are evidence of the constant spiritual attack we are under by Satan and his minions. Whenever I find myself justifying one thing or another…I always try to remember that most grave moral issues are not gray areas…I can't let moral relativism creep into my judgements. Compassion is called for absolutely. But acceptance of wrong actions or condoning or simply ignoring is not right either.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Oh I didn't take it that way at all. Don't worry :)
    The idea of there being no absolute truth is very scary to me. But I think that Christians far too often use truth to condemn. I grew up in an enviroment where everything (pretty much!) was black and white and there were no gray areas even in how we are supposed to dress or act, much less sexual area's of life.
    I want to know how to keep the absolutes, without turning everything into an absolute, if that makes any sense!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10254315970336710941 CM

    You raise great questions. I like to think of something someone said (I think it was Fulton Sheen, but I don't know and I know that this quote is not exact):"Truth is not a concept or an abstract idea; it is a person, and His name is Jesus." Jesus is Truth, but He is also Love. I know that I have been the person that has used my understanding of the truth to beat down others with judgments on how they are living their lives. That is clearly wrong.

    You bring up homosexuality. That is such a tough one. I am coming to think that those of us that think that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong should stop judging those that live that kind of a lifestyle. I don't think that we can do anything unless we first stop to hear the cry of their hearts for love, and to see their intrinsic dignity and worth as humans. If I get to that point, I will not be likely to want to judge them. However, I might be willing or have the opportunity to invite them to something more in their lives.

    Sometimes it's not about whether something is true or not. Sometimes it's about whether we are living out that truth with love. I know what you mean, though! I have definitely been in situations where "we" are right and "they" are wrong and therefore bad. I'm not proud of the times that I have done that, but hopefully I'm changing! (And sadly, it's often been over the little things, not the bigger things like you mention.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07363886412589745900 That Married Couple

    Interesting. I have to say that I never got what the big deal was about truth until I became Catholic, and it hit me that finally, I had found it! I'm so often overwhelmed by the importance of it now!

    Now that I know it, though, it can be difficult sometimes to not use it to condemn. (I hate that, but it is a temptation for my proud self.) The key for me is to remember that truth and charity (love) go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. So if I had a son who told me he was a homosexual, while it would probably break my heart, I wouldn't condemn him. I'd like to think I'd have the strength to help him with this cross (maybe get him in touch with a Courage group or something), absolutely pray for him to no end, help him every time he stumbled, and overall still love him. Kicking him out of the family or another extreme situation might be reflecting the truth that homosexual acts are a sin, but they are definitely not reflecting Christian charity (and certainly not a mother's everlasting love).

    The other thing that helps me is to remember I didn't figure out this truth stuff on my own. It was totally a gift from God. That also helps keep me humble.

    Hm, I don't know if I answered your questions at all, but that's what came out :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06374573594800663980 Kacie

    Sometimes there is an absolute truth. God is truth. How do WE know it?

    That's a tough one.

    In a longing to know truth, though, I think we can sometimes look for absolutes when maybe God hasn't shown us an absolute. This makes me nervous at times about the Catholic church – I'm not sure about their claims to authority, so I often wonder if they are doing the same thing evangelicals too – interpreting and then making an absolute statement when there wasn't one to begin with.

    That's where the development of doctrine can get shaky. When are we developing our own doctrine, and when are we simply identifying what God truly is revealing? The Orthodox Church takes a stronger stance against development – they say that the essentials of truth were revealed early on in church history, and that we shouldn't continue to develop our doctrine beyond those early boundaries.