Saturday, August 29, 2015

Outline of thoughts on "How Can I Find Truth?"

Socrates Café

Serious Questions to Ponder Series

Question 1:  How can I find truth?

Definition:  Truth corresponds to the actual state of reality and is not an illusion.  Reality is that which does exist as opposed to that which does not exist.  What “is” defines reality and what “is not” defines illusion.

Truth is an accurate understanding and communication of reality.  To seek truth is to figure out what reality is and adapt my thinking to it.  [1]

How can I find truth?

I.  The Two Extreme Options

        A.  Superstition –Irrational beliefs that interpret experience
B.  Scientism - Only what can be discovered by the scientific method is real.[2]


II.  Other Options

A.  Logic vs. the illogical -  A cannot equal non-A – Law of contradiction.  Something cannot be true and false at the same time.  No true paradox possible.

B.  Existential experiences which give us a “eureka moment” of insight into the state of reality. [3]

C.  Historical Occurrences

D.  Scientific discoveries

E.  Trusted Revelation from God

F.  Metanarrative, which is a “big story”, that provides the most likely harmonization of the collected data.  The “Mega-Story “is an attempt to get a “forest” view of reality.  [4]

[2] “The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.”

This raises the issue of the Philosophy of Science which tells us that the scientific method rests on a more basic philosophy which cannot be proven scientifically.

Existential Reasons for Belief in God: A Defense of Desires and Emotions for Faith by Clifford Williams

[4] The seven main “mega-explanations are:
1.     Physicalism or Materialism – The belief that everything is physical, or is necessitated by, the physical.  There is no “super natural” world in which God or other “spirit” beings exist.  Everything is ruled by and understood by the laws of physics and natural science.
2.     Pantheism – The belief that God is everything and everything is God.  In reality there is only one being that has an appearance of being many.  All is one and all is God. 

3.     Deism - A belief in God based on reason rather than revelation and involving the view that God has set the universe in motion but does not interfere with how it runs.

4.     Polytheism - The belief in more than one deity, especially several deities.  None of these deities are eternal, infinite, all knowing, omnipresent, or all powerful. 

5.     Theism - belief that one God created and rules humans and the world, not necessarily accompanied by belief in divine revelation.  This one God could have also created other “spirit beings” but these beings are dependent and under the ultimate control of the one God.  God is the source of morals, ethics, and ultimate justice for humanity.

6.     Nihilism - The belief that there is no objective basis for truth, objective knowledge about anything is impossible, and that life is pointless.

7.     Christianity - the world view based on the life, teachings, example, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus the Messiah/Christ.

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