Truth and Time Part 1 of 3
I believe eternity exists because truth, good and evil exist. This may seem like an odd approach to proving the existence of eternity but I’ll try to make my position clear over the next three posts.
Some Thoughts on Eternity
If we only have so much time here, how should we spend it? If we were to treat time as money, would we spend it differently? Would there be less time wasted? Can time be “spent” at all? If our souls are eternal, but our bodies are temporal, how should we look at time when time only exists for our bodies and not our souls? Can we logically look at life as catching a bus for a short ride to reach our destination with death being the transfer point to our final leg of the journey? If that is true, we would continue, beyond death, using a different vessel or mode of transportation while leaving time, death and decay behind. Sounds good to me.
It appears to me that if we could grasp the concept of an eternal life, and more importantly, find enough evidence to believe in it, that we would live our lives entirely differently while we were here. There would be no more, “live for today because you may not be here tomorrow.” Instead, there would be, “live and be thankful for your gift of life . . . forever! Live, love, and learn for eternity!”
So my goal, in this multi-part blog, is to create a convincing argument, to at least have the doubter reconsider the existence of eternity, in order to live a better life in the “here and now.” This, I believe, will make the transfer from life to death, an exceptionally privileged journey rather than something to be feared or, worse yet, to resort to embracing annihilation-ism. You will live on and quite gloriously I might add. Having been bestowed the gift of life with free-will versus a robotic existence, the choice to embrace eternity is yours.
Before I Begin: Defining “Objective Truth” vs. “Relative Truth”
Taking a moment to define the two types of truth claims will allow the reader to get a better understanding of the intent of this blog. I believe this viewpoint strongly and want to be as clear as possible. So here we go.
Objective truth is true whether anyone believes it or not. It’s true to the object not to the person. It’s true that you will fall at a given rate of 32ft/sec/sec until you hit maximum velocity, if you jump off a cliff. Whether you believe it or not, that is true. It’s true that fire will burn you, that you’re not a fish and that you must breathe air. It’s also true that you have a head. That’s what’s considered a “properly basic belief” and allows for a conversation to take place without ridiculous objections to what is true.
Now when it comes to objective morality, it’s the same point. It’s objectively wrong to kill innocent people, to harm animals for fun, or to lie. It’s objectively right to help people in need, to be truthful, honest and to take care of your family and contribute to society.
Relative truth is true to the person, it’s relative. If someone claimed that a movie they just saw was “the best movie they’ve ever seen” then that would be a relative truth claim. They’re not saying that it’s the best movie for everyone, just for them. If they say the same for food, dogs, hair styles etcetera, no one can argue with that because it’s a relative truth claim. The problem comes when people make objective truths, relative. They’ll minimize a moral truth by putting it into relative truth context. By making an objective truth relative, it becomes “off limits” to confront, contest or debate. It’s simply “true for me but not for you.” If you try to point out the wrongheaded thinking behind what they’re saying, you get pegged as “intolerant.” Their debate skills involve one liners because they have no intellectual gas tank to run off of. That’s where we’re at today in the world of opposing views.
My favorite nonsensical reply that I get, and it’s a classic philosophical tug point, is when someone says, “There is no such thing as objective truth or morality.” They’re making a truth claim in that very statement so, it becomes as philosophers say, “self-defeating.” If nothing is true then neither is their statement so why are we listening to it? Such as if someone said, “I can’t speak a word of English.” The very fact that they spoke in English to make the statement defeated their claim before they were even finished stating it. Or, “nothing is true unless it can be proven by science.” That statement cannot be proven to be proven by science and yet I can read it and know it’s meaning. Is there a scientific experiment that can be performed that will prove that the number 5 exists? Where is the number 5 located? So a relativist must be careful when making truth claims since it’s the very thing he’s trying to deny exists.
If there is no objective truth and all truth is relative, then you can see the problem. Nothing is wrong then. No one can claim anyone is wrong about anything or, in doing anything. So although people like to make the statement, “true for you but not for me” they can’t actually live that way and they don’t want to. If you were to approach them and tell them that your truth is that you believe it’s okay to pour boiling water on them for fun, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that they’d object to that. If you said you wanted to kick their puppy for fun because you believe it’s right to do so and it’s fun, again, I’ll bet they’d object. Relativists have to borrow from the objective moral law in order to make sense of their own claims and in borrowing, they defeat and expose their position.
My only claim in part one of this blog will be that there is objective truth and morality and they are closely connected.
The Connection Between Eternity and Truth
I believe there is a connection between the existence of an absolute, objective moral truth and the state of an eternal existence. Can you have truth without an eternal existence? Or maybe a better question might be; does eternity exist because there’s an objective truth? How are they interconnected? I believe that making a case for the existence of an objective moral truth will confirm the case for the existence of an eternal state of life after death as well as a theistic framework in eternity. I do believe they’re interconnected. Let’s continue with determining what objective truth is compared to relative truth.
Absolute Truth Exists – We Live Like it Does, Even While Denying it
If absolute, objective truth exists then it must be tied to a transcendent being, or moral-law author, who is outside of time and space. Objectivity cannot be truly objective within it’s own space. Even in daily life we recognize this. You couldn’t have a judge in a trial where his family member is the defendant. You couldn’t have a teacher with his or her own child in the classroom without assuming that there was some favoritism going on. Even if there wasn’t blatant favoritism, you would assume it. We know this already but fail to ask why or how we all recognize what is unfair or bias. What are we basing “fairness” on when we claim something isn’t right or fair? What moral code or law is being referenced? Popular vote? Popular opinion? Societal acceptance? These can change and moral truths by their very nature don’t change.
We’re constantly watching for bias, immoral behavior, or relativistic practices to circumvent a situation but when it comes to proclaiming a moral law to support that need for justice and fairness, we’ll say ridiculous things like, “that’s true for you but not for me” as if there is no such thing as an objective moral truth or standard to go by. Norman Geisler said; “The moral law is not always the standard by which we treat others, but it is nearly always the standard by which we expect others to treat us.” We instinctively know there’s a universal moral law, we just employ it selectively.
The Relativist’s View of Truth
The relativist will treat truth as a preference or an opinion rather than an absolute. There are relative truths but they are much different than objective ones. As an example, we all recognize that you can’t tell someone that vanilla ice cream is not their favorite ice cream because, even though they might say, “vanilla ice cream is the best ice cream on earth!” That would be a statement that, indeed, would be true for them, but maybe not true someone else. It’s not a valid argument to insist they’re wrong based on objective truth; it’s a preference. Ice cream, the way you wear your clothes, hair style etc., is not within the scope of right or wrong. It’s an opinion or a preference and it can be true for them but not for others. So there are personal truth claims that can certainly be relative to the individual.
The inaccuracies come when we treat moral truths like ice cream or hair styles. There is a difference between preferences, opinions and absolute, objective moral truths. Objective truths would be universally true whether everyone or no one believes it or not. You can truly believe that you can fly but that won’t change the truth. We call someone “crazy” when their beliefs don’t line up with reality. It’s getting to the point now, where you can’t even identify someone as crazy or mentally ill. Relativism has become the new truth. Are you helping someone who is standing on a bridge telling you that they can fly, by agreeing with them and saying, “Well that’s your truth and I can’t tell you you’re wrong?” Would you actually let someone walk out the door if they told you they were going out to harm innocent people because they wanted to have some fun, and that was their truth? Of course not. Yet relativism allows for just that. To deny it, the relativist will have to borrow from an objective framework.
The Popular Vote Position
The relativist will sometimes go to the “popular vote” position. I think this is almost worse than the ice cream position. True is true even if no one believes it. Even if everyone on earth voted and believed something to be true, it wouldn’t make it true. Truth by it’s very nature is exclusive and limited. That’s why it’s called truth and not opinion or what’s popular.
If you were to say that “killing people randomly is okay and that’s true for you but not for me”, we would know this is wrong, even logically flawed, unbalanced thinking. Universally wrong, everyone knows it. Yet in the world of relativism, they have no defense, no way to tell that individual he’s wrong because it’s that individual’s truth; it’s “true for him, just not for you.” There is an objective truth that says killing innocent people is morally wrong. So where does that objective statement come from and what system is it based on, or anchored to, that gives everyone the authority and conviction to proclaim it’s objectively true?
There must be something outside of the popular vote! It must come from outside our time and space to be truly objective, otherwise, it’s relative. The Nazi’s used the “popular vote” defense in the Nuremberg Trials held in Germany after WWII. They claimed that the world did not have the right to tell them as a culture what was right or wrong. They claimed they were preserving their culture for future generations by eliminating the influence of the Jewish people. The prosecutor asked if there wasn’t a higher standard to answer to? He was referring to an absolute, not a relative system.
Speaking of the popular vote; Benjamin Franklin once quipped; “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Everyone has the right to live their life. They have intrinsic value. It’s not left up to popular vote whether you should be free, live, die or be unjustly incarcerated. These are moral rights held by all of us as moral agents. It’s simply wrong to kill innocent people. So there is an objective moral truth. It exists and we all know it.
So for truth to be objective, it must have a moral law system and therefore a moral law author or giver. This moral law must exist outside of time and space in order to be objective and determine the system of right and wrong. It also must be morally wrong or right for all moral agents or rather, for everyone, not just for some or just for those who agree. It’s not morally correct to harm innocent people or jail them unjustly, in any part of the world. It’s universally wrong and we instinctively know this. No one taught us to not murder others or hurt others for fun. We know it’s wrong based on an objective truth recognized from within or souls. People that lack this empathy and knowledge or right and wrong we call sociopaths. If truth is relative, we have no right to label that person.
We don’t have to Google the latest poll or study to see what’s right or wrong. Although, that’s what’s happening now with our culture. Most people don’t believe in an objective truth but do believe in a relative truth. Truth doesn’t change, culture does. Truth will remain the same whether we believe it or not. Truth doesn’t change because we change. We change because we can’t tolerate having anyone or anything tell us how to live. The ironic part is that we tell lies about the truth and redefine the word.
So if there’s an objective moral truth, it must exist outside of our time and space. Remove time and you have an eternal state of being that has a consciousness within it to create this moral law that’s written on all our hearts. Let’s not lie about the truth.
This is my first, condensed step in verifying the existence of eternity. Much more could be said and many more examples. This blog is more for the honest skeptic to reconsider his position on an eternal afterlife. This blog is not meant to be a comprehensive argument about objective truth. There is much more to be said and positioned but I thought this might be enough to encourage the reader to consider further research and thought. Part two next week. Thanks for reading.
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