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What is truth?

This question stemmed from a discussion on the subjectivity with religious doctrines in religion. How do we know what 'truth' is? Is truth true because an individual believes it, is it relative or definite? This question can be extended past religion to let's say, academia, politics, law and morality.

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  • Nov 29 2012: A response I had made to the debate, "Telling the truth: are there limits?"

    There is no utter truth. There are only things that exist to our senses as being more probable or less probable. If we concentrate on those things that exemplify a certain "reality" to our senses then our most probable situation (i.e. our truth) will be different than that of someone with dissimilar sense stimulation.

    This is why it is wise for people to gain insight into as many experiences and perspectives as possible, albeit with open minds, in order to derive what is the most probable for one's self. This relates directly to telling the truth or telling a lie in that what may seem absolute for one person may be far-fetched or seem lacking in any validity at all. This is not to say that all is relative, for if that is the case then there is no cause for order- if murder is relatively acceptable for someone and that perspective must be respected by society, then expect a chaotic society. The rule of law inhibits those perspectives with good cause, as doe’s society with certain norms. It is with the evolution of these laws and norms that a sensible society can sort through what rules should exist as being more probably acceptable and therefore more "true."

    Lying is all about perspective, and carries an undue negative connotation. If deception is used for a cause that is deemed by the enlightened mind to be of worth (more probably good than bad) then, perhaps it is simply a tool in the tool belt of the good willed. Regardless of your personal perspective of Jesus Christ, it can be said that he was quite benevolent- having said that we must remember that, even he deceived the Romans. Perhaps, we would be better to call it being savvy or witty or able to paint a good narrative. Just like anything else, lying is not a bad thing unless used by bad people toward mal ends.

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