Thursday, September 5, 2013

Truth, Fact, and the Consequences Thereof; Part 1

This is going to be the first part of a three or four part series that I’m going to title “Truth, Fact and the Consequences Thereof.”  It is going to be discussing the realities of the world that we live in and refuting the notion that there is no absolute truth.  Since this is such an integral subject to the way we think and act, it is going to be hard to discuss it without touching on other subjects.  It may seem a little less well framed because of that, remember that this is in fact only a discussion about the existence of truth and fact and not a discussion of what those facts are.  The truth of those facts will come in later posts. 


 “A=A, and that means that a man is subject to an absolute morality.” –Ayn Rand, in “Atlas Shrugged”


“Would it be alright if I punched you in the face, because I didn’t like the way you looked?  No?  So that is absolutely wrong?  Then there are moral and factual absolutes.”- Mike Lott

                In this blog, I want to challenge the preconceived ideas we have that shape our paradigms.  I want to help you to find, and to challenge the ideas that your mind functions by and thus to challenge you to change and make those ideas better.  The first step to doing that is defining the absolutes of your mind; defining the truth that you believe.

                In modern thinking, there is no longer a thought of absolute truth.  Most people think that “if I believe it, then it must be true for me,” or that truth is relative depending to the person.  The thought is stems from the belief that there is no single “right way” and that there are many ways of living life that are equally valid and equally acceptable.  It allows for the person to define their morality by what is inside their mind and project that upon the world, or to see things as they wish to see them.  These thoughts allow for the thinker to make up the rules as they go along.  We see this in the brought out in the statement: “It may be true for you, but not for me,” or “it may be right for you, but not for me.”

                The effect of this thought process being that a person is able define what is moral and what is not by how they feel at the time, and the pressures on them.  This was the birth of the phrase “it may be alright for me, but not for you.” The thought here is that at any given time a person may determine what they think to be permissible and do it, whatever it is.  That may be taking a candy because you are starving, or killing a person because they have made you angry.  It makes all things permissible to mankind.

 This thought process naturally leads to the idea of “you cannot judge me, because you do not know what was right for me at the time” where a person is convinced of their right because they felt it was so.  The feelings of the person led them to act in a certain manner and thus they acted.  The idea being who are we to know what they were going through and how a person should react in that circumstance. 

                Conversely, before the 19th century postmodern thinkers came along, most people believe that there were absolutes to truth and there was a right and wrong way to live.  There was the universal belief that because morality was given to us by God that we were responsible to live our lives in a certain way.  The idea was that because we were given laws by God to govern our actions that we should live by those laws.  This has sadly gone away from our society, because most no longer believe in God. 

                The fact of the matter is that A=A.  What I mean by that is, there are things that are.  By our own existence we can validate that we are.  We think, we breathe, we do, we act and therefore we are.  If we can think, it is evidence of an intellect and an absolute, and if we possess an intellect and are sure of it, then we, by the nature of being, are a fact.  That is the first fact of life that a person can become aware of when they are born: they think.  My child was born she spent the first few hours of her life looking up at me and blinking, then she started to move, and discovered her hands and feet, then she started to understand that her mind controlled the movement of her body.  She became more aware of her surroundings and began to use her body to manipulate it.  She began to understand that there were natural laws, like gravity, and mass and began to move and walk.  The crux of this is she used her mind to learn all of this.  She began her life thinking, and therefore she is sure of her own existence. 

                Many of you will say that an infant is not capable of thought on our level, I agree.  They are, however, thinking.  They think of the new world that they have discovered, and the old they just left.  That is why a child is comfortable listening to a heartbeat of its parents, because it is reminded of the safety and security of its mother’s womb.  The child has recognized its surroundings have changed, and that implies a thought. 

                This being the case, we know that the child is, because it thinks, and that we are because we think.  Our intellect is awake, and our mind is active.  The mind is the first proof that we exist. 

                If we exist, how to we know if there are absolutes, because we absolutely exist and therefore there must be absolutes.  Ourselves and our mind are the first absolutes that we know.  Our nature demands that we believe in ourselves as existing absolutely, and therefore are.

                The truth is that we are, this truth being non-relative, and absolute.  It is an established fact that it we exist.  This is proof that there are absolutes and that the modern way of evaluating truth on a personal basis is false.  If it were not false, I could simply decide that a person was not a part of my paradigm, and thus treat them as they didn’t exist.  They would be a caricature of my imagination and thus I would be correct to do whatever I wanted to them.  It would then become moral and acceptable for me to commit atrocities to that person, because they would be imagined, and not real because I decided that they were not true, not real. 

                The mind being the crux of a person’s being must be convinced of the fact that it is real, of its own assurance, and then accept that others are real simply because they say they are.  That is why a hallucination of a person is so powerful.  We automatically ascribe to the “person” we see as reality, as it is right for us to do so.  We ascribe the reality of a second being with the virtue of reality like we possess.  We can surmise others are real in a second way by their own thoughts and mental process.  We discover this through their ideas, and those are communicated by speech.  Our communication with one another shows us that there are people outside of us, and assures us of one another.  To test this theory, and see if somebody is real, try slapping them.  If they are a figure of your own mind, will it hurt when they slap you back?  No, because they aren’t real, but when they hit you back with a broom handle because you hit them first.  It is a simple test that assures us that they are real, no matter what we want to suggest.  We know that it was absolute that we got hit.  A=A. 

                In very much the same manner we can know that much of our physical world is real.  What then of our mental or spiritual world?  The truth of that is our mental and spiritual worlds are what define how we perceive physical reality.  We see through physical eyes, feel and know through our hands, and speak physically though our mouths.  Our physical is tied in an absolute way to how we think, feel and act.  It is tied even more deeply to what we believe.  We find this because we know that what we think translates into what good or bad we make with our hands; how we treat others.  We know that our minds form our actions because the mind controls the body, and that our beliefs control our mind because it is through our beliefs that we must learn to think. 

                Therefore, we must know that there is right and wrong, mentally and morally, because of the way that our mind shapes our physical world and the way our beliefs shape our thoughts. 
                I will pick up here and discuss the effects of the ideas of right and wrong and why they must be. 


  1. Your second paragraph is a good description of what it is to make for yourself an idol. This is what happens when man turns from worshiping YHWH; each man does what is right in his own eyes.

  2. I'd like to comment on paragraph 7.

    The concept of "A=A" seems to simply be a summing up of what we call 'properly basic beliefs'. These are beliefs that cannot be proven, but can be accepted as being true anyway.

    For instance, I cannot prove that the physical world around us is real. It is possible that this is all a virtual reality, and we are just being stimulated to think, touch, smell, taste, and hear.
    However, most would call someone who subscribed to this Matrix-esque view of the world crazy. Rightly so, it seems, since the belief in the physical world is properly basic. It requires no proof, and we take it on faith in order to make sense of everything else.
    It is similar to the belief in other minds. I can validate the existence of my own mind by thinking, but since minds are not really tangible, I cannot in any way prove that everyone around me is not simply a programmed automaton with no free will.
    Again, the belief in other minds, is properly basic.

    When you speak of morality, you are talking about absolutes here. An absolute standard that we aim not to fall short of. In short, a moral LAW.
    This is dumbfounding, as we know of no other such natural law that operates in this way. The laws of thermodynamics are not what 'should' happen, they are what 'will' happen. If they fail to happen, then the law immediately is nullified as false.
    Can you imagine if our moral law was this way?! There would practically be no moral laws today, as every one of them has been violated at some point in human history.

    No, these laws of 'ought' and 'ought not' are very strange. We apprehend them, yet for them to be objective, they require some kind of objective source that we cannot measure or scientifically analyze. If they were subjective, then by definition, their source would be the mind of man, which greatly differs over vast spans of time and geographical location, heck even from neighbor to neighbor, day to day.

    We do have one example to compare this moral law to, and that is human law.
    It is against the law to murder someone in the United States. That is to say, you ought not do it. That's not to say you can't do it. The list of American serial and spree killers is endless. In this law, we recognize that you ought not do something, and if you fail to abide by it, there is a consequence (as long as you're caught).
    But where do these laws come from? Us of course. Our government makes laws. Our government is the 'law-giver'.

    But here we are posed with a problem. Who is the law-giver of moral law?
    As Ravi Zacharias puts it.

    "If you believe in good and evil, you must have a way to differentiate between good and evil, if you have a way to differentiate between good and evil, you must have a moral law, if you have a moral law, you must posit a moral law-giver."

    We only have one source for objective morality, to say rape or genocide are wrong, and that is God. A divine transcendent standard by which we can be measured against and judged.
    To Ayn Rand's "A=A", A only = A because A. Why A? Because God.

  3. Over his time on this earth, man has tried to make sense of the moral law. He has tried to apprehend it through religion or through feelings deep in his gut, because we all know deep down when we do something, anything, no matter what it is, that we are doing wrong. Even Ted Bundy, though he found no problem in murdering women, had felt some wrong in something he did during his life.
    Why does this nagging feeling pull at us and tell us not to bear false witness? It is hinting at the consequence. It is our survival instinct, the instinct of the mind and spirit, not the body, telling us that our actions are jeopardizing our safety, not in this life, but what comes next.
    We may not believe this, or want to believe this, but it is there and it is there by a reason.
    Even in the most cruel, uncaring individuals who can commit unspeakable acts and feel nothing, the fact that they feel something, somewhere, at sometime, is a hint. It is a signpost telling them, there is a standard out there and we better start looking for it because God help us if we fail to find it.

    Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, all are apprehensions of God and His moral law. All must study them to find out which is true, and pray that one of them is.

    I pray that God sent his only Son to die for me, to give the Word to his followers that God indeed did speak to Abraham, and that new chapters would be written and new laws revealed, and that He would return at the closing of the universe.
    If He did not, then what have I to judge myself by? How do I know when I am right or wrong? My gut feeling? Ted Bundy's gut feeling was so off, it led him to believe it was okay to murder innocent people. I'm like the man trying to find which stone weighs a kilogram, having never known what a kilogram is.

    There is some hope though, for if God by volition created this universe, and all who inhabit it, to live by His moral law, it stands to reason we do have some correct apprehension of it here on earth.
    I gave my life to Jesus Christ this year, and I commit my spirit and free conscience to a faith in His way as the true way. The need to find a correct apprehension is universal, we all pick our hills and hope to die on them knowing the truth, because we are all dying.

    Even atheists pray they are right.

    1. Jett, I agree with you that absolute morality comes from God. I was simply holding off till the second part of my 3 part series to talk about it. I'm a firm believer in the authorship of God in our world, which ultimately makes Him the author of morality.