The Modern Zeno PageThere are actually two ancient philosophers named Zeno. They are different, so be careful when talking about Zeno. There was the one Zeno, Zeno of Cittium. He was a philosopher who taught in Athens back in the late 300's to early 200's B.C. He is noted for being the founder of Stoic philosophy. He is not the philospher who inspired this page.
There was also the other (earlier) Zeno, Zeno of Elea. He was a student of Parmenides in the 6th century B.C. This Zeno and his paradoxes (the Dichotomy, the Achilles, the Arrow, and the Stadium) are mentioned by both Plato and Aristotle. He was the inspiration for this page, even though it does not use any of his paradoxes. It does use a classic paradox though: the Cretan's saying that all Cretans are liars (found in the Bible in Titus 1:12.)
ExamplesIf the classic paradox does not suit you, listed next are two more examples of impossible statements.
One-Sentence Paradox ExampleThis sentence is false.
Two-Sentence Paradox ExampleThe following sentence is true.
The preceding sentence is false.
ExplanationI will attempt to explain the impossibleness here. I am explaining the one-sentence example because it fits more closely with the modern-day paradox, which is itself one sentence.
If you accept what the sentence is saying, then you decree the sentence to be true. If you decree that the sentence is true, then you are disagreeing with the sentence, since the sentence states that it is false.
If you do not accept what the sentence is saying, then you decree the sentence to be false. If you decree that the sentence is false, then you are agreeing with the sentence, since it states that it is false.
ApplicationMany people believe that the modern-day paradox is actually a possible statement. Note: If you have already read the Truth page, then you will recognize the modern-day paradox as the Relative Truth Mind Game in a philosophical context.
Modern-Day ParadoxThere is no absolute truth.
Is that statement true? Is it true all the time? Is it true everywhere?
If you answered yes to all questions, then the statement is an absolute truth, and therefore the statement is false.
If you answered no to any question, then absolute truth is allowed to exist. Note that does not necessarily mean that other absolute truths have to or do exist. All that it proves is that the possible existence of absolute truth cannot be denied.
Zeno and KierkegaardThat little exercise showed that no one should say that all truth is relative. But that does not mean that absolute truth has to exist; it just means that it can exist. So then, how can the existence of some absolute truths be proven? Now apply that thought to the Bible, and the question becomes "How can the statements in the Bible be proven to be absolute truths?" Now combine that thought with the thought that the Bible is the only "hard evidence" for the existence of God, and the question becomes "How can the existence of God be proven?" The answer is that it is pretty hard to do that.
If you were reading this page with the hopes that it would prove the existence of God, then you will be disappointed. Following the thoughts of Kierkegaard, if it were proven that God exists, then there would be no need for faith. If God's existence is proven by reason, then faith is unnecessary. But since the Bible says that faith is necessary for salvation (Ephesian 2:8-9), there would be a problem if reasoning worked. We can know by reason that there can be absolute truth, and know by faith that there is absolute truth.
So if this page is not attempting to logically reason that the Bible is God's Word and contains absolute truth, what is the point of this page? This page was written to dissuade those who say "God does not exist since all truth is relative" or "There is no absolute truth, so Christian morals do not apply to non-Christians". Note that last statement is different from the statement "The Bible does not contain absolute truths, so Christian morals do not apply to non-Christians." That statement is the one that requires faith, since it could be re-stated as "I believe that the Bible does not contain absolute truth..." How does one show or prove that the Bible does not have absolute truths? It takes faith to believe that the Bible does not contain absolute truth, and it takes faith to believe that the Bible does contain (or is) absolute truth. Is there a view on the Bible that does not require faith or a belief of some sort?
Zeno and ChristianityWhat is absolute truth, and what is its origin? What is the set of standards that determines Truth, right, and wrong? Who made Truth?
A person could not have made Truth. If he did, then Truth would not have existed before him. That would mean that the absolute standards changed when he invented them. Also, if a man invented Truth, that would lead to Truth's being relative, for what is to stop another man from making his own truth, different from the previous?
As there can be only one set of absolute truth, so also can there be only one God. If there were more than one god, there could be more than one standard of absolute truth, which would make truth relative. Also, if one of the gods' truths stated that there were no other gods, what would make that god correct?
This paragraph contains statements which require faith. You may not agree with them, but how do you know you are right? And if you do agree with these statements, how do you know you are right? There is one God, and He has said that He is the one true God. God determined Truth, before the beginning of time, as far as we humans are concerned. We can read the Truth that God has given to us in the Bible. In the Good Book is found the truth that God has for us: standards by which we should live this life on earth, directions for pleasing Him, and steps to determine your afterlife (see the Death page for that).
For more information about absolute truth, please visit the Truth page. If you find a fault with my logic, want to comment about the site in general, or have other comments or questions, please let me know. My e-mail address is at the bottom of this page.