Determining What’s True and What’s False, part one
A friend from high school posed the question on facebook, “How can one determine truth?” Here’s part one of my response (after I made the not-quite-on-point, but most important point of the discussion: that Jesus said that He’s the truth, and that no one gets to the Father, but through Him, from John 14:6): Practically, here are a few things I think about: 1) Do the facts seem to support it? 2) If so, if it’s testable or verifiable by lots of reliable witnesses (in the case of historical facts), does the “truth” proposition seem to “hold true” through years and years of testing, investigation, and consideration (or does it prove to be false, through facts or results we didn’t see at first?)? 3) Does it work out in real living, or is it just part of what Rodney Dangerfield calls, in “Back to School,” “Fantasyland”? In other words, is it just a hypothesis that is liked, but not one truly worthy of bearing the title of “law”? 4) Does the truth claim come from a person's background of being “burned” by someone or something? If it does, it undermines the proposed truth's likelihood of being true, and makes it the case that the truth claim is more likely to be a means of that person's getting revenge on an idea or a person that/whom the claimer dislikes. 5) Similar to one [facebook] commenter above, I, too (admittedly from my Christian background) believe that truth (found, believed, and lived by) will lead to real, personal flourishing and soul-based satisfaction as a human being. Falsehood doesn’t “work” toward that end in a long-term way, though it may give instantaneous (but probably low-level, guilt-ridden) joy.
Again, #5 here comes from a presupposition of mine, that the Bible teaches (James 1:25, for instance).