Response to:

"Maybe truth exists, but we can't find it because we can't know anything for sure."

by Gary C. Burger, MDiv

Response: Just because it is hard work doesn't mean truth can't be discovered.

This challenge could be a simple smoke screen, but it is often better to respond to it at face value. If it is a smoke screen, the real issue will come out.

When people claim that we can't know anything for sure, they are not talking about whether we can find out the true score of a baseball game or if the moon is made of cheese. What they are referring to is truth about the ultimate questions of life and morality. Most people concede that there might be an objective truth out there somewhere and some think we can not really know it or get at it. They say that human perception is distorted. For example, we will perceive something differently than the next person because we have a different set of unique experiences, interests, values and knowledge that lead us to interpret the situation differently than a person, let's say from another culture. However, this is a self-refuting argument as they think they are certain about this and are certain everyone else should be able to understand and agree with them. The person actually believes he found the truth and states it as, "we can't find truth." Often the case is that they haven't or don't want to take the time and effort to study the different answers to just a few of the ultimate questions of life and morality.

We might be able to use a conversation like the following to help them correct their thinking (if they are open).

Responder: "Are you claiming to know the truth about human perception? If you can't trust your perceptions then maybe you are wrong about human perception being untrustworthy. Could it be that your perception is clouded by your biases and you don't really see things clearly? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what you are really saying is that it is difficult to find the truth about the ultimate questions of life and morality."

Challenger: "Yeah, maybe that's a better way to put it."

Responder: "But just because something is difficult to find doesn't mean it doesn't exist or can not be found does it? In fact, it is often the case that the more difficult something is to find the more valuable it is when we do find it. God and his truths can be known but we have to approach Him on his terms and listen. When Jesus talked about the prospect of finding the truth He promised that everyone who seeks the truth will find it. May I show you His promise? It's in the New Testament, in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7 starting in verse 7."

Conclusion

Sometimes it takes work to sort out all the conflicting counterfeits but once we find His truth we see how precious and valuable it is. When we become a Christian Jesus promises that if we ask Him for the truth, He will guide us to it.


More resources:

Budziszewski, J. How to Stay Christian in College. Colorado Springs: NavPress. 1999. p. 69, 72


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