A popular belief system of our modern age is New Age – a philosophy that says that truth is relative; that whatever you want or decide to believe to be the truth, is actually the truth. The belief that all roads lead to God is becoming more widespread. But is this correct?
Let’s take the infamous killing of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman as an example. After the murder varying theories abounded in regards to what actually occurred. The most prominent theory was that Nicole’s ex-husband O.J. Simpson killed the pair. Another theory was that the murders were the work of drug dealers and that O.J. Simpson was completely innocent. Another less popular theory was that white supremacists arranged the murder to frame the prominent and successful black sports hero.
Now, if truth is relative, then all of these theories are true. It doesn’t matter which theory you decide to believe – they are simply all true. It’s true that O.J. Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in cold blood. It’s also true that O.J. was completely innocent and that drug dealers killed the pair. And it’s also true that O.J. had nothing to do with the murder and that white supremacists murdered the two people.
The term “truth is relative” simply cannot be correct. Ideas that contradict each other cannot all be considered truth. The definition of the word “truth” does not contain the words “opinion” or “belief” but rather “fact”, “real” and “actuality”.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary also contains the phrase “sincerity in action, character, utterance”. It would be foolish to assert that people are not sincere in what they believe. But sincerity does not necessarily make the truth a fact either.
Witnesses called to the witness stand in a courtroom are sworn to tell the truth. And it may very well just happen that two people who sincerely believe they are telling the truth have different stories.
One witness may say they saw the suspect carrying a shot gun and that he dropped the weapon in the alley, while another might say he is certain the suspect had no shotgun but did see the suspect carrying a tennis racket that he dropped in the alley.
However, as sincere as they may be, they can’t both be correct because the stories contradict each other. Any judge would know that.
Let’s say the truth becomes clearer later in the trial upon examination of physical evidence discovered. While a shotgun was discovered in the alley, no tennis racket was ever found. It would be reasonable to believe that the first witness was closer to the truth in his belief that he saw the suspect carry and drop a shotgun.
If later still in the trial, the footage from security cameras is entered as evidence, the truth would further come to light. From the videotape, it is obvious that what the suspect carried and dropped was not a tennis racket, but a shotgun.
The first witness was telling what he thought to be true and was also the truth. The second witness was telling what he knew to be true. But, as sincere in his belief that he may have been, he was wrong.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you were having a campfire with friends, roasting marshmallows and enjoying some good conversation. A man joins you at the campfire and sits down. He seems nice enough and normal enough until he begins to talk about the campfire the way he sees it. He looks at that campfire and sees it as a beautiful fishpond with a waterfall. He describes the wonderful, colorful, tropical fish that are swimming around in it.
At this point, some may say, “Well, I don’t see it that way but if that’s the way you see it, that’s great.
That’s your truth. I accept that you are also in the truth.”
But can this opinion be embraced as truth, if we indeed are all in the truth?
What if the man decides he wants to grab one of those “beautiful fish” for his aquarium? He gets out of his chair, leans over what he believes to be a pond and begins to reach down? If he believes that this fire is a pond, will he actually reach down and pull a fish out of it, or will he be burned?
Belief simply does not equate to truth and, clearly, this man will get his hands burned.
When friends, neighbors and co-workers around us have decided to accept and embrace all religions as truth, they may feel the “warm and fuzzies”. But emotions, as positive or comfortable as they may be, should never be the gauge to determine what the truth is.