This is not a devotional in the typical sense. This is more something meant to provoke thoughts in the readers. This is a conversation between my friend Cosima and me.
Cosima and I often talk about very interesting topics, and today it was about truth and what it is. We had a lot of fun discussing it and thought maybe some of you would enjoy reading it. Cosima is from Germany, and I met her and Benjamin (her awesome brother) when they couch-surfed at my apartment this year. It was a joy meeting them and has been great staying in touch.
Bryce: I have a deep philosophical question for you.
Bryce: Do you think truth is relative and subjective or absolute and objective?
Cosima: Puh… let me think about it.
Cosima: Not easy to answer. I'm thinking about examples….it depends on situations….
Bryce: So that means you think it is relative and subjective?
Cosima: Mostly for me, yes. But the better thing would be if the truth is absolute and objective, but many people have their own beliefs. How could I say this and that is wrong? Maybe it seems wrong to me, but to another person it's the one and only truth. Do you understand my thoughts?
Bryce: I understand them; you express them clearly. Do you think if something isn't true all the time, that makes it an opinion rather than truth?
Cosima: What does that exactly mean, "rather than truth"?
Bryce: Well if something is only true if someone believes it, doesn't that make it more of an opinion. My truth is that red is a bad color; your truth is that red is a good color. Both can't be true. So it becomes more of an opinion, right?
Cosima: Oh I understand. Yes, it's more of a subjective view.
Bryce: So how is it truth if it is an opinion?
Cosima: If truth is an opinion, then it is absolutely subjective. Then eveybody has [his or her] own truth.
Bryce: But saying "absolutely subjective" is a contradiction in terms.
Cosima: Hmm…right. I should deal carefully with words…but it is definitely subjective. Really it is. Nobody on Earth could tell me that red is a good or a bad or a beautiful or an ugly color; it is subjective. Absolutely.
Bryce: I would say it is an opinion always; is that what you are saying?
Cosima: Yes, right. It is an opinion because there is no truth about it.
Bryce: Okay, we can change the scenario a bit. There is a red chair sitting in a room that is pitch black. No one except you knows the color of the chair. You ask four people to tell you the color of the chair. They all come up with different answers, none of which is red. All of their answers are based on the evidence they perceive. Who is right?
Cosima: Hmm…everybody and nobody. It's the point of view. If one says that the chair is green, I wouldn't agree with him when I see the clolor blue. But in a way, for our own, we all are right…and wrong. So, let's say there is the one and only truth that the chair is red, but nobody can see the truth in this case. The truth is absolute and objective, but the people make it to a relatively subjective truth…. Oh dear, Bryce, that is very complicated.
Bryce: It is indeed. To me it comes down to what the essence of truth is. Truth does not change; it stays the same. It is like the law of science: there are many theories and hypotheses in science that change over the years with new ideas, but the foundation, the laws, never change despite changes in culture, understanding, etc. Gravity will always exist and be a constant that we can count on.
Cosima: Yes, I agree, so there is always in everything an absolute truth, but people can't always see the truth. That is why so many things are complicated, because we are all on a big journey to find out what the truth is. That is why life is complicated and makes it so exciting at the same time. There are some truths that are absolute and that everybody agrees with
Bryce: Well I wish that was true, but not everyone agrees with the idea of absolute truth. Those who know the truth need to inform others. It is also why sometimes the ones who know that truth seem close minded.
Cosima: It is also a question of how much you can prove the truth…. That is what makes it so complicated and what makes people wary.
Bryce: This is very true; those who hold onto the truth do have the burden of defending and proving it.
Cosima: Many people only believe what they can see or can prove.
Bryce: Though those who have not found the truth have the burden and the difficulty of disproving those who claim to have the truth.
Cosima: Oh yes. that's right, but they would rather go against it than finding out what the truth is, but maybe they just don't search the truth.
Bryce: Yes, that is true. Some people argue just because they want to argue and never actually intend to learn anything. Those people will be lost until they are willing to admit they do not have all the answers. It is like teenagers who think they know more than their parents. Until they humble themselves a bit, growth is difficult. I think this is true of both sides; even those who hold onto the truth need to realize they have much to learn.
Cosima: Oh yeah, that's a good comparison…always.
Bryce: This is a very interesting conversation. Would you mind if I posted it on my profile for others to read?
Cosima: The most important thing is that the people are shapeable and never loose the ability to follow another way than the way they started to go. Bye-bye my friend!