Words of a Fether

Opinions on Faith and Life

Epistemology: Is Truth Rational or Irrational?

How can truth be found without a map or standard? How do we really know anything? Is objectivity even possible?

(Disclaimer: Let me make it clear that I am convinced that Jesus is the way to God and the Bible is true; what I am saying here is purely from the perspective of as objective an approach as I can muster. My personal convictions are not at all in doubt.)

Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. In my opinion, there are two main approaches: rational and irrational.

Rationality uses logic ("orderly or disciplined thinking") to reach conclusions or discover principles. In deductive reasoning ("top down" logic, see this article for more details), if all premises are true then the conclusion is true. In inductive reasoning ("bottom up" logic), observed true premises are used to propose a possible general explanation. In abductive reasoning, the simplest possible explanation is sought for a given observation.

In irrationality (solipsism), where the only sure thing is one’s own mind (ego, narcissism), logic/reasoning can only be used within the bounds of a person’s predetermined facts, leading always to a foregone conclusion. One chooses a worldview and then looks for ways to interpret every observation to conform to that worldview.

Both approaches to the search for truth ultimately depend upon a foundation that can never be truly objective. Even the logical approach must presume, subjectively, that we accurately perceive reality and that our reasoning process is sound. So the difference is really a matter of degree rather than kind. Objectivity, then, is defined as a widely-held assumption, whereas subjectivity is very narrow to the individual. It would then seem obvious that individuals from opposite approaches will never agree on what truth is or how to find it.

When it comes to the Bible and the Christian faith, for example, disputes will never be resolved if the people debating are approaching it from opposite paradigms. And it follows that neither side can call the other wrong, stupid, limited, or nefarious, but only human and fallible.

Further, since the Bible is a Christian text (Judaism can only claim the Old Testament or Tanakh), no non-Christians can declare our interpretations invalid. Appeals to popularity, authority, or pity can never override objective truth, which only God really knows. It also follows that one who uses the irrational approach cannot violate their own paradigm by using objectivity in order to declare others wrong and their paradigm debunked.

Here are my observations about the Bible and the Christian faith:

  1. Jesus is the one and only name that triggers irrational hatred among non-Christians
  2. The Bible is the one and only book that is relentlessly critiqued and held to standards no other book is held
  3. The accounts in the Bible are at least as reasonable as stories from any other belief system, including naturalism
  4. Syncretistic spirituality is the religion of TPTB ("the powers that be") (video on syncretism)
  5. A literal/historical/grammatical interpretation of the Bible is the one and only approach Syncretism rejects
  6. The Bible’s content proves it was not written by TPTB
  7. All false religion stems from the fallen ones (gnosticism/luciferianism) and was formalized in ancient Babylon (video on Babylon)

Therefore, it is highly probable that the Bible is the Word of God and literally true. It then follows that Jesus is God in human flesh, who died and rose again, and that by accepting this as a truth/fact we can be reconciled to our Creator and adopted as God’s own children. And this Jesus said he is the Truth.

This being the case, then, every idea or philosophy or truth claim that opposes it must be false by definition. And those whose paradigm is irrational cannot declare this statement to be false, hateful, narrow, bigoted, offensive, stupid, or limiting to humanity. Belief that truth is different for each individual is the most narrow and self-absorbed belief of all, since such a person declares themselves right and every other person in existence wrong.

2 Tim. 3:7  Though they keep on learning they are never able to acknowledge the truth.

Posted 2017-09-21 under epistemology, truth, rational, irrational