We recall the classic statement of Pilate to Jesus, “what is truth”. It seems that Pilate would feel right at home in today’s world. Do people believe in truth today? Are some truths “self-evident”….a fact so obvious that there is no need for proof or explanation” …. 1 + 1 = 2. Who decides what truth is ? I saw a recent survey that reported 58% of people say that “identifying moral truth is up to each individual” , i.e. “ I decide what truth is.”
The survey goes on to say, “So where are Americans finding “truth”? 42% said that God is the basis of truth. The other 58% believe things other than God… e.g. inner certainty(16%), scientific proof (15%), tradition (5%), public consensus (4%); 5% says there is no such thing as truth and 13% don’t know.” Even more stunning, Christians fit in pretty well with this thinking. Yikes….times are changing. (Ref. Cultural Research Center, May 19, 2020 survey of 2,000 adults.)
On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was ratified, stating, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The founding fathers believed that these statements did not require proof….that they were self-evident. These particular words were very important words….. they were foundational to the health and future of our country.
Today it seems truth is up for grabs and “self-evident truths” are often not self-evident. Issues that should be obvious to even young children are being questioned by adults. More and more there is no room to even discuss these issues without a lot of ranting & raving, emotion, anger and bluster. If you don’t believe what I believe, I’m going to cancel you out…. you are out of the conversation. The specific issues can vary from A to Z. It’s hard to even bring up a discussion on topics such as the climate, gender, marriage, race, law & order, vaccines, without having to duck. Positions that used to be self-evident to most of the population are considered barbaric.
Maybe I’m naïve, but I guess I still believe that if you asked a person’s confidential opinion on many of these topics and they were 100% confident it would be confidential, that truth would rise to the surface. I think, or at least hope, that there is a silent majority who still believe in the truth. (“The phrase silent majority describes an unspecified large group of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. ) Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I actually believe that there is a silent majority in our country that still has common sense, still believes in natural law, and still knows what truths are self-evident. For all of our sakes, I hope this is true.
The purpose of a foundation is to hold up the house. Without it, the house will ultimately collapse. Foundational truths are essential to every institution … nations, the church , humanity….. essential to preventing collapse.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. “Jesus then said “if you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31) May we know the truth and may the truth set us free.