Key Thought for this session:

“Without a compass, the journey is futile.”

If everyone saw an unarguable formula for finding absolute truth, or true north, we all would agree on what is right and what is wrong. However, it’s not that simple. You see disagreement everywhere on what is right or true.

The confusion we have over truth starts with the meaning of truth. We discussed this earlier but let’s look at it again. The common definition of truth is “fact.” However, when we look at the meaning of “fact”, “fact” means “true.” Remember, this is a circular argument for the meaning of “truth” and isn’t really helpful. This happens quite often with words and definitions, and it’s something we have to guard against to fully understand the meaning of words. There have been many attempts to define truth in theology and in philosophy. While these two areas of study use a similar definition of truth, they do not clearly and fully see truth in exactly the same way. So... let’s look at a way we can combine these two approaches and settle on one meaning.

For our purposes, we will say that what is TRUE about an object (or concept, or whatever) is defined to be: “The accurate disclosure of the object’s original purpose.” Now, that’s a bit technical, but what it means is... the truth about an object is what is correctly revealed about it by its originator or designer.

Embedded in this idea of finding “true north” about some object, means that we assume that the qualities of the object can be made known to us somehow. But, here’s what makes it tricky...the fact that there are different core assumptions about how this disclosure occurs.

As we have already discussed in previous sessions, some people think these qualities are discovered by making observations and collecting evidence about the object, and other people think these qualities are best understood when the originator tells us what those qualities are.

Think about it. A real estate appraiser needs to know the true size of a building. He or she can make attempts at measuring the dimensions, but will ultimately ask if there is a blueprint of the building they can use. Here they would look at the blueprint (which is an accurate disclosure of the design) and obtain the dimensions of the building in accordance with the architect’s intent. The true size of the building is best known by looking at the plans. Some qualities of the building are not even available by observing the plans or the building. Some qualities reside only in the heart and mind of the architect. Can you think of any qualities like this? One such quality is the purpose of the building. How does the architect want it to function when it hosts different kinds of events? The best way to know truth about the building is to know the architect and to be able to trust what he/she tells us about the building. Then we can fully know what “true north” is, about the building.