Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Nature of Religious Truth

The Roman Catholic Church believes it is the One True Religion. All other religions have some truth, but only the Roman Catholic Church possesses the Fullness of Truth. However, does not every religion claim the Fullness of Truth for itself? If a religion did not possess Truth, its followers would all switch to the religion possessing the Truth. That is the purpose of religious truth, to be absolute Truth. No religion would ever imply fallibility. For Catholics, the Pope is infallible. For some religions, the Bible is inerrant. All religions have something of this nature: scriptures, a spiritual leader, their deity/deities.

Religions feign possessing Truth. Theoretically speaking, only one Absolute Truth about God/gods, the creation of the universe, the afterlife, and the proper ethics can exist. Yet, there are myriad religions. One of two things must be true: either every religion on earth is wrong, except one. Or, every religion on earth is wrong. An examination of these two claims is in order.

Assume every religion on earth is wrong, except one. How does a person figure out which one is the True religion? Well, every religion is based off faith—strong belief without proof. To persuade someone using faith is ineffective, especially when the person in question possesses no faith or possesses faith in a different religion. For example, a Christian telling a Jew to believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah probably would not go too well. The two would probably walk away from the encounter as a Christian and a Jew. A Christian telling an Atheist to believe in God would end with a similar result. Faith is not a solid basis for persuasion. This fact complicates finding the one True religion.

Obviously, a person is welcome to research every religion in the world in order to judge which one deserves the title, The One True Religion. However, the task can never be accomplished. Religions are based on faith, not on reason. Therefore, it is impossible to objectively investigate the validity of religious Truth. Religion is a subjective truth masquerading as absolute Truth. Religion is only as true as the individual makes it. Religious truth and the faith of the individual are directly proportionate. Put simply, if you believe, then it is truth to you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Truth and the Right of the Individual

Truth can be divided into two subcategories, subjective and absolute (objective). Subjective truth lies in the mind of the beholder, much as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Absolute truth, or Truth with a capital “T,” is undisputable and based upon fact. In the decimal number system, 2 + 2 = 4—only a fool would argue otherwise. However, people often mistake subjective truth for absolute truth. For example, religious truth, although considered by the faithful to be absolute truth, is actually subjective truth. This concept is a crucial component of the Right of the Individual.

Assumedly, all humans accept the Truth because it is undisputable and based upon fact. If they do not accept the Truth, persuasion or education can cure their doubt. If a person is convinced 2 + 2 = 22 (in the decimal number system), a quick and easy mathematics lesson will enlighten him/her. Subjective truth, on the other hand, cannot be controlled so easily.

What is truth to one may not be truth to another. For example, blind people perceive the world with their remaining senses, creating their own subjective truth. Sighted people, able to use all 5 senses, will have a very different perceptive subjective truth. Neither the blind nor the sighted person has a monopoly on perceptive truth. They are both equally right. Subjective truth is as true as the individual makes it, and for blind people, lack of sight is indisputably true.

The Individual has a Right to his/her subjective truth. This Right deserves equal reverence as the famous Rights to Life, Liberty, Property, and Pursuit of Happiness. This Right may only be taken away if one’s subjective truth presents a clear and present danger of taking away another person’s rights; or will cause harm to oneself and/or others. Hitler’s subjective truth regarding Jews is unacceptable. Apart from these extreme situations, subjective truth merits tolerance.

Monday, June 7, 2010


In addition to reading and reviewing YA fiction, I have spent a lot of time reading books on philosophy. Similar to the way stepping in a lake kicks up a cloud of sand, wading into the ocean of philosophic thought raised a cloud of doubt: thereby changing my perception of the world around me. However, the cloud of doubt did not hinder my vision as a cloud of sand underwater would. Instead, the doubt presented the world from another point of view, a wonderfully unique point of view. Just as time causes the kicked up sand to settle to the bottom, the doubt which had altered my point of view settled into personal ideas, a personal philosophy.

I write this as a prelude. I have written down some of my philosophy into short essays. I plan on posting them on this blog every two weeks throughout the summer. Unfortunately, I do not have enough to fill up the entire summer. This is where you, the reader, come in. I invite any reader of this blog to ask questions or suggest topics for my future writings. If you cannot think of anything off the top of your head, maybe reading my posted essays will give you ideas.

The first essay will be posted on Friday, June 11th.

Yours truly (assuming truth exists),
Gabriel Gethin