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Is Truth Absolute or Subjective?

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I believe that everyone has the right to believe what they want to,” says Whitney, a dental hygiene assistant. “What is true to one person doesn’t have to be true to someone else. We all have our definitions of truth and we should each choose what to believe.

Men and women of faith, whether they be Christians, Muslims, Hindus, or any other religious people, are often harassed for their belief in absolute truth.  Absolute truth means that X is true at any moment and any place for all people, regardless if they do not know it or recognize it to be true.  The contrary, relative truth, means that X can be true for one person while being untrue for another.  An example of absolute truth is that I am a Caucasian male.  No matter where I am, no matter what time it is, it will always be true that I am a Caucasian male.  An example of a relative truth could be that, to Ashley, the family dog is pretty, while at the same time, to Jimmy, the family dog is ugly.  Absolute truth is based upon fact while relative truth is based upon opinion.

Belief in the existence of absolute truth is necessary for Christianity.  Christians believe that God created both absolute truth as well as relative truth, but they both have their respective places within the universe.  Absolute truths in the bible can be found within God-given commandments, or truth statements made by him.  For example, God said, “Do not murder” (Exodus 20:13).  This is an example of an absolute truth; no matter where at, what time, or who is involved, murder is always wrong.  Another example of absolute truth is when Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except though me” (John 14:6).

Those who advocate for the nonexistence of absolute truth face many problems, in my opinion.  Whenever I am discussing this issue with someone who believes such a way, I first ask them a question.  I ask, who is a better person to you, Martin Luther King Jr. or Adolph Hitler?  Most will immediately say that King was by far the better person.  Why?  Because people understand that while King fought for equal rights for blacks in America, Adolph Hitler exterminated millions of men, women, and children.  People recognize that murder is wrong and that the civil activist is greater than the murderer in this situation.  The rest of the conversation typically goes something like this:

Me: “So do you believe that it was right that America stepped up and stopped Hitler from killing millions of more people?
Him: “Absolutely! What he was doing was wrong!
Me: “But if truth is relative, as you say it is, and Germans, including Hitler, believed that what they were doing was right, then what right did we have in going to Germany and stopping him just because we thought was he was doing was wrong?

The person I was talking to would usually have a confused look on his face at this point or just get angry and tell me I was tricking them.  The fact of the matter is that this person who believed only in relative truth, just affirmed that he actually believed in a supernatural standard to which things are compared to – the absolute truth.

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