Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is Truth Still Truth If No One Knows It?

Years ago I remember having the most challenging philosophical discussion with a group of friends regarding whether a tree that falls in the woods when no one is around still makes noise when it falls. Looking back on that discussion, it does not seem nearly as important now as it did then. But that old conversation did come to my mind last night when the teen youth group at our church discussed the essence of truth.

The subject of the discussion was whether truth was still truth if no one knew it was the truth. Though I am sure that there were still differing opinions when the 69 teens who had gathered finally ended the discussion, it was clear that the vast majority agreed that truth is truth even if no one knows it. What was even more challenging in the discussion was how we should respond to truth once we become aware of it. We discussed how hard it is to accept the truth about ourselves, especially truth about our imperfections and problems. We also discussed the truth about Jesus.

Though it has become popular in our culture to deny the truth about Jesus, if what Jesus said about Himself is true, then it is true whether we choose to learn it, believe it, or follow it or not. Simply choosing not to learn, or not believe, or not follow the truth about Jesus in no way negates that reality of that truth. The bottom line is that truth is the truth and once we come to know it, we are responsible for doing something with that truth.

As we consider the essence of truth, we are left with two important questions to consider.

  1. What is the REAL TRUTH about ourselves and how will we respond to that truthful assessment of ourselves?
  2. What is the REAL TRUTH about Jesus and how will we respond to a truthful assessment of His life, His death and His teachings?


  1. It has often been accepted (particularly in Christian circles) that individuals are "obligated" to respond and act on truth when it becomes "known" truth. That is not the case with many nonbelievers and believers today. There is now the "side door" that says I am free to ignore "REAL or known TRUTH" because I am ultimately the "captain of my fate." As neat as that sounds, I am not the "captain of my fate" but am subject to the "Captain of the hosts of the Lord". This side door is not a door to freedom but to bondage.

  2. Yes - because God was still God before anyone knew Him.

  3. Sometimes it's hard to face the truth, but Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Blessed freedom!!

  4. If it is true, then our believing it is not true will not change the fact it is still the truth. It is what we decide to do with the truth that matters and each person is responsible then for thier own action.

  5. The way we look at ourselves and the way we deal with the reality about us has a lot to do with the way we look at truth. All people look at themselves in 4 ways - 1) The way we WANT people to see us, 2) the way we BELIEVE people see us, 3) the way we WISH we were, and 4) the way we really are. Until a person can reconcile themselves with where they are in how they see themselves, truth will ever be a relative thing to them. (PS: Don't get me going about the tree falling in the forest. I've had some intriguing arguments about that one.)

  6. I really liked the article and I do agree with Joyce's comment above.