6 Ways We Determine Truth

As we move forward in this new year and begin discussions on practical theology we must start with the foundational question: What is truth? Truth is the foundation of our living. It impacts our thoughts, decisions, and our relationships. Among believers and non-believers alike there is a search for truth. Our world views are what determine how we search for the truth and how we determine truth. Here are six ways we all determine the validity of truth.

1. Instinct

“It seems true.”

Many of us go day by day not questioning the truths we accept. Why? Because “it” seems true. Take the moon landing for example. Generally speaking most people believe that the moon landing actually happened based off of instinct. Now I’m no saying that the moon landing was faked, I’m just asking why we instinctively accept that truth. What is guiding our instinct to judge competing truth-claims.

2. Feelings

“I like the way it makes me feel.”

When it comes to western christianity feelings are the driving force behind all truth. We believe certain truths about God and deny others because of the way they make us feel. We all believe that God is loving because it makes us feel great! But many of us have a hard time believe that God hates the unregenerate believer (Psalm 5:5) because it doesn’t make us feel good. Even when truths about God are backed by scripture, we obey first the criteria of feelings.  We have to come to terms with the fact that our feelings can be (and often are) wrong. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

3. Wishes

“I want it to be this way.”

Can we really base truth on what we wish were true? I wish I had an unlimited amount of money, but does that make it true? We are seeing more of this played out in our culture and namely the sexual revolution. We have men wishing they were women and women wishing they were men, but just because they wish that does not mean it true! The harmful implications of the criteria is that individuals are forced to live in the fantasy world of other individuals.

4. Custom

“My family and culture has always believed this.”

All of us get stuck in this criteria. We determine truth based off of what the culture around us has believed. We believe the family unit should operate this or that way because our family unit does it this or that way. We believe greetings should happen this way because that’s what our culture has raised us to believe. But the Christian must pause and ask, is this the right way? If we determine truth based on our family and cultures we will make wring assumptions about many things.

5. Popularity

“Everyone believes it.”

Yeah, everyone believed the earth was flat and the sun revolved around us. Doesn’t meant it was true. Don’t conform to what everyone else is thinking.

6. Pragmatism

“It works for me; therefore, it must be true.”

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 14:12. Almost anything will work for a time but only truth works forever. The Bible tells us that if we decide to believe in what works it will most certainly lead to death. We must believe in what the scriptures say works, whether it works for us or not. 

Here is the challenge: Question everything. Challenge all your beliefs. Start to develop a biblical worldview.

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