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Opening Questions

The question that must be answered is "What is the origin of truth?"
Does truth, like beauty, depend on the beholder?
Or is there a Truth that holds for all people?

Please note that Truth (capital T) denotes the all-encompassing standard of truth, Right (capital R) denotes the thoughts and actions that follow Truth, and Wrong (capital W) is the opposite of Right.

The Difference Between Law and Truth

A democratic majority, or other ruler (king or whatever), does not determine what is Right, just what is legal. That leads to the question "Doesn't what's legal in a country determine right and wrong for the people?" Yes, it does, but there is a higher standard of Right and Wrong that both the people and the rulers must follow. If the leaders of the country stray from the standard, it is the duty of the people to follow Truth, not law.

Law Versus Truth Example

My favorite example of why legality does not equal Truth is the following paragraph. (My apologies to Cal Thomas.)

Here in the United States, law is determined by a majority of the members of Congress. You are going to have to pretend for this example, so prepare yourself. Pretend that Congress just passed a law saying that it is legal for me to shoot anyone that I feel like shooting. (I know it is a far-fetched law, but I warned you.) Now pretend I shoot you, for no reason.
Would my shooting be ___?

  • A. Right
  • B. Legal
  • C. Both
  • D. None of the above
Hopefully, you agree with me that the answer is B, legal but not right. It is legal because the governing body of the country decided to enact is as law. It is not Right because murder is Wrong. How would you feel (assuming that you lived for a short time after I shot you) about the law? How would you feel about being shot for no reason? The word "unfair" tends to come to mind. Why is it unfair? There is nothing wrong, legally, with what I have done. Most of the people in Congress seemed to think it was fair. But it's not right, is it?

Why is murder wrong? Not because it is the law of the land (because that can easily change with the whims of people), and not because it feels wrong or unfair when it happens (because emotions can be very fickle and unreliable), but because it is part of the standard of Right and Wrong.

Who has the standard of Right and Wrong? How do you know what is absolute Truth?

Relative Truth Mind Game

Is the statement "Truth is relative" (i.e. "There is no absolute truth") true or false?

  • If it is false, then there is an absolute Truth for all people.
  • If it is true, then does it hold true for all people?
    • If not, then truth is relative for some people and not relative for others, so there is some absolute truth. But absolute truth would not be absolute if it did not govern everyone, so if absolute truth exists for some people, it must exist for all people.
    • If so, then that is itself an absolute truth, meaning that there is absolute truth. If the statement is an absolute truth, then there can be other absolute truths as well.

A Summary of the Standard

A.K.A. The Ten Commandments
  1. You shall have no gods other than the Lord God.
  2. You shall not worship any idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not lie.
  10. You shall not covet.

Re-Wording the Ten Commandments

I have heard of complaints that the Ten Commandments are all negative, a bunch of "don't do this, don't do that" statements.
If the wording bothers you that much, then try re-wording the Commandments. For example, the negatively-oriented "Do not lie" becomes "Always tell the truth". It is not that big a deal how the Commandment is worded (as long as the content is intact). It is a big deal though, what you think of the Commandments and what you think of God's truth.

Beyond the 10 Commandments

I titled the Ten Commandment as a summary of the standard of Truth. There is much more to God's standard than just the Ten Commandments. For a more complete listing of what God has to say, read the Bible. The Ten Commandments are found in the book of Exodus, chapter 20.