This seems like a good place to start a book that answers the tough questions posed of Christianity. After all, if there is no such thing as truth then Christianity cannot possibly be true in the way that Christians hope it is, and so there’s no point writing a book that tries to support and outline the truth of Christianity, is there?
So, is there no such thing as truth? Or, to put it another way, is the statement, ‘There’s no such thing as truth’ actually…true?
We live in a very post-modern world. A world where radical scepticism is king. The most pure definition of post-modernism is simply: not modernism. However, when we talk about things being ‘post-modern’, we often mean that they reject the idea of absolutes – absolute truth, for example.
And it would be lovely to think that truth is whatever we decide it to be. Indeed, you will hear people say, ‘This is my truth; what’s yours?’ But what if my truth is that your truth can’t possibly be true? What happens then? If my truth is true, then my statement that your truth can’t possibly be true is also true, and so your truth can’t possibly be true. Alternatively, if my truth isn’t true, then it’s not truth at all.
Somebody once said, ‘If someone tells you there’s no such thing as truth, they’re asking you not to believe them, so don’t.’ And here’s the problem with the statement, ‘There’s no such thing as truth’: it’s a self-refuting statement. If the statement is true, then it proves itself false. And if the statement itself is false, then it’s still false.
It would seem that using the idea that there is no absolute truth is just a way of making ourselves feel like the kings of our own lives. But nobody really lives as though truth is so easy to manipulate – it’s all around us. If I told you, in my native English tongue, that ‘I only speak Russian and Turkish’, then there isn’t really any way of that being true. It’s obviously untrue from the moment I start telling you in English.
Every adult who has ever died was born. A giraffe has never played Premiership football. There are no married bachelors.
Lots of things are objectively, absolutely true. And we all know it. Nobody is post-modernist when they are reading the warning label on a bottle of poison.
We live in the world of scepticism. We don’t like to commit to truth claims, because it makes us feel controlled. We want to be free, to be critical thinkers. But to be truly sceptical, you have to be sceptical about your own scepticism. How do we know that scepticism is the best way to view the world? If we’re prepared to accept that we need to be sceptical about our own scepticism, and that the idea of truth is a true on – that there are things out there that can be said to be true – then we can ask the next logical question: what, exactly, is true?
This is the first of a series of excerpts from the forthcoming book from the Demolition Squad, tackling #25objections to the Christian faith.