Opinions or Truth: Which Shapes You?

by Brian Chilton

Jesus was being interrogated by Pilate when the Prefect inquired, “’You are a king, then!’ asked Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ retorted Pilate” (John 18:37-38).[1] Both Jesus and Pilate make tremendous points. Jesus directly pinpoints the lover of truth to himself while Pilate inquires about the very nature of truth.

Models of Truth

Recent matters have brought to the forefront the matter of truth as it is opposed to opinions. Do opinions shape truth or does truth shape opinions? When exploring the issue of truth, philosophers have determined three models that correspond to one’s relationship with truth. The coherence theory of truth considers “any coherent system of belief counts as a ‘true’ system of belief” (Ashford and Whitfield 2014, 56) However, the problem with this view is that a person can have a systematized belief based upon wrong premises. Such coherence does little to discover the reality of a particular thing or person.

Another model is the pragmatist theory of truth. Advocates of this theory propagate that “whichever beliefs prove to be invaluable instruments of action can be counted as truth” (Ashford and Whitfield 2014, 56). The trouble with this theory is that many evil things have been performed based upon a false belief system (e.g. Hitler’s Nazism, Colonial slavery, etc.).

The third model is one that this writer holds—and should be the one that anyone seeking the truth should hold—the correspondence theory of truth. This model claims that “truth is what corresponds with reality. Truth is independent of the human mind. Even if the human mind cannot recognize a particular truth, the truth of the matter still stands” (Ashford and Whitfield 2014, 56). Thus, truth exists whether the human does or not. The question has been asked, “If a tree falls and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” The tree falls, sound waves are made; therefore sound is produced whether or not someone is around to hear it. Truth stands upon itself and not upon the one advocating it…

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Opinions or Truth: Which Shapes You? | Pastor Brian Chilton