Friday, December 30, 2005

All Roads Lead to Truth

Is that true?

There's a bit of a discussion going on on a writer's group I belong to, and the one guy (a lwayer) is saying that anything, even trash, can lead a person to the truth. However, he then made this statement, "Truth is how you view it" and there's something about that that rings false. To me.

Do all roads lead to truth? Aren't there some detours we could avoid with prudence? I'm kindof saying, why take the trash road, when you could take the mountain view road?

What would you say to the person who said "Truth is how you view it"? Is that true?


  1. No, it is not true. It is a black heresy, albiet one that has a lot of staying power thanks to the Reformation and its sola scriptura, private interpretation of the Bible nonsense.

    If it were true, you could get to heaven just as easily by following Satan as by following Christ. Speaking of Christ, it was he who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father but through me."

    Sounds like Jesus would have had a bit of a problem with your lawyer friend's opinion.

  2. Yes, this is one of the numerous "Paradigms of Hypocrisy" - like "everything is relative" or "nothing is set down in black and white" or "there are no absolutes" or "you have to keep an open mind"... they are all the same, all popular, all taught today, all accepted by the unthinking - and all stupid.

    Here are some GKC answers:

    "I am incurably convinced that the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid." [GKC, Autobiography CW16:212]

    ...most of the modern nonsense may be summed up as the victory of the adjective over the noun. When I was a boy I was told that the adjective "qualified the noun"; I had not the faintest notion of what it meant; but I have now. However gigantic or overpowering is the adjective, it cannot alter the nature of the noun to which it is applied. If I say (as I do most heartily say), "I like big boots," I do not mean that I like boots as big as Brixton villas. They would not be boots at all. I must mean something like "Boots as big as boots can be," or "Boots much bigger than any that I have as yet obtained." The adjective qualifies the noun; but it cannot abolish the noun. I want big boots; but it is boots I want, not bigness. ... It is a terrible thing when a man really finds that his mind was given him to use, and not to play with; or, in other words, that the gods gave him a great ugly mouth with which to answer questions, and not merely to ask them. The crocodile finds it easy enough to open his mouth and wait for a black man or an explorer. It is in knowing the exact moment at which to shut it that the really fastidious and dexterous crocodile shows his training. In the same way the modern man fancies he has reached supreme culture because he opens his intellect. But the supreme culture (in the forcible modern phrase) is to know when to shut your head. There is one odd aspect of the man with this sort of open mind - a man whom one imagines with an open mouth. It is that being thus gaping and helpless, he is really brutal and oppressive. He tyrannises; he forces on all other men his own insolent indecision. He forbids his followers to come to any conclusion till he has done so. He will allow no one else to find the truth, as Peary will allow no one else to find the Pole. He is the worst tyrant that the world has seen; he is the persecuting sceptic. He is the man who has held up the whole world now for over a hundred years.
    [GKC, ILN Oct 16, 1909 CW28:408 et seq]

    But this may be the best, since it is the shortest:

    Holbrook Jackson: No opinion matters finally: except your own.
    GKC: said the man who thought he was a rabbit.

    This last is from the very curious Platitudes Undone page 15. Part of the hilarity is lost because GKC also scribbled in quote marks around Jackson's words.

  3. Good and excellent points, and I understand.

    Is there a difference, though, between someone who says, "Your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth" and one who admits there *is* a Truth, but that there are different ways of viewing it? Or do you think they are essentially making the same relativistic argument?

    So in other words, "There is a truth, but my view of it is my view and your view of it is your view" is just another way of saying what I said above?

  4. Saying, "there *is* a Truth, but that there are different ways of viewing it" is basically what the Protestant dogma of private interpretation of the Bible is. All Protestants say that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, but ask ten different protestants how to interpret a given passage of Scripture and you'll get 10 different answers. The fact that many of those answers may be mutually exclusive will bother the protestants not at all. They will say, "That's where the Spirit leads me," or words to that effect.

    So yeah, those two propositions you put forth above are pretty much the same thing.

  5. Nancy wrote:

    So in other words, "There is a truth, but my view of it is my view and your view of it is your view" is just another way of saying what I said above?

    To the assertion that "truth is one's own conception of things," the writer responded in Platitudes Undone: "The Big Blunder. All thought is an attempt to discover if one's own conception is true or not."

    So, one who admits objective truth--really admits it--cannot settle with "you have your view of it and I have mine." That is a subtle lapse into the thinking that says that truth *is* one's conception of things. The real believer in objective truth works at making his conception of truth conform to truth. And he does this by seeing the two as different.

    To a friend who once asserted that "my truth is not necessarily the truth" I wrote:

    The man who says, “There is no truth” is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
    —Roger Scruton (modern philosopher)

    As I see it, having a “my truth” that I don’t regard as somehow “the truth” is to have a fundamentally meaningless “my truth”. Because, and only because, I believe 2+2=4 is “the truth”, do I have a raison d’ĂȘtre for making it “my truth”. Conversely, if I have no reason to believe that something is “the truth”, then I have no reason to take it as “my truth”. The whole existential meaning derived from developing “my truth” is that I believe it corresponds to “the truth”—to the facts of reality. So, echoing the paradox coined by Harvard professor Hilary Putnam, I must say: “Relativism just isn’t true for me.”

    It is unthinkable that a search so deeply rooted in human nature would be completely vain and useless. The capacity to search for truth and to pose questions itself implies the rudiments of a response. Human beings would not even begin to search for something of which they knew nothing or for something which they thought was wholly beyond them. Only the sense that they can arrive at an answer leads them to take the first step.
    —Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 29.

    To the idea that truth is one’s own conception of things, G.K. Chesterton quipped, “All thought is an attempt to discover if one’s own conception is true or not.” This bears out in my own personal experience. I wonder, if truth is an entirely individual, personal thing, if everyone has their own truth (without there being any “one” truth) then why do I ever evaluate or reassess “my truth”? When I do that, what am I judging it against? Moreover, why ever change “my truth”; doesn’t doing so presuppose that my new truth is more true than my old truth? How can this be if there is no “the truth”—no objective truth—for “my truth” to come closer to? Can “my truth” ever become “more true” or “less true” without some other standard outside of myself by which I measure “my truth” for “truthfulness”? If there is no “the truth”—no objective truth for “my truth” to come closer to—then, when I change “my truth”, aren’t I merely exchanging one “truth” for another, both being just as “true” as the next? Why bother with evaluating, reassessing, changing “my truth”, if the result is just as true as that which was “my truth” before?

    Happy New Year everybody

    "THE object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
    --GKC 'Daily News.

  6. Keith:
    Thank you. Good explanation, I love the quote "Relativism just isn't true for me" I've GOT to remember to use that in future discussions.

    And John Paul II's quote is perfect, and if only I could remember that next time I'm in conversation with my skeptical brother-in-law.

    Thanks for the New Year's quote, I was going to look that up for later, but now I don't have to.

  7. 'Truth is how you view it' is an opinion stating that truths are merely opinions, which doesn't make any sense.

    Of course, another could state that their truth is that this is merely my opinion- even though in my view it is the truth.

    I don't understand the question about all roads leading to the truth. Ultimately we will all KNOW the truth. Did the lawyer mean that one could question trash like TDVC, & end up joining the Church? Augustine took the rough road...

    There is HOPE for everyone- other than that, I don't understand it.

  8. Lorraine V. Murary11/17/2006 8:21 AM

    "Truth is how you view it" is dangerous, especially if you are at your doctor's office, and you ask him for the best course of treatment for your condition, and ask if it is true that surgery alone will do the job. "Truth is how you view it," he replies -- which means that any treatment is as good as any other -- which means that you will probably want to find another doctor. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," not "I am one of the ways, and they are all equal."


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