Truth

This is a very nuanced and detailed argument, but I’m going to keep it as simple as possible for the sake of this post, even though it isn’t that simple. This should, just about, cover it.

Theists love to throw the word ‘true’ and all its derivatives around. They like to claim a special  privilege to truth in and of themselves and often beg to those who don’t believe to ‘seek the truth’ or similar, patronising phrases.

The problem here is that when an atheist speaks of truth, he’s generally speaking of what is objectively true while when a theist speaks they’re generally talking about what is subjectively true for them.

There’s a difference between ‘I believe in god’ and ‘god exists’ and this is where the disconnect comes.

It is subjectively true, to me, that I don’t like the taste of courgette. That doesn’t mean nobody else can like it or the courgette is necessarily disgusting, it’s a matter of taste.

It is objectively true that when I drop something the Earth’s gravity will pull it down to the floor at my feet. This is true.

When a theist says ‘I believe in god’ we may as well take them at their word, there’s no real way to tell whether that’s true or not (other than, maybe, an MRI machine or a lie detector). When they make an absolute and objective truth claim – ‘god exists’ – we need more.

We can easily and repeatedly confirm the existence of gravity by the evidence. The same goes for so many other things that we can say – and show – to be objectively true from the existence of an object to the fact of evolution.

If you want to claim that something is TRUE, that’s what you need, evidence. If you could show your god was true, I – and other atheists – would believe.

Reality is not subjective, what is true must be able to be shown to be true. That something is ‘true’ to you, does not mean that it is actual, real or true in terms of reality.

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4 responses to “Truth

  1. I believe in God, but like you said: either way there is no way of knowing. My statement is purely my subjective beliefs stating what I believe is the objective truth, and the same is true for atheists. However, I will argue with one of your points here.

    “If you want to claim that something is TRUE, that’s what you need, evidence. If you could show your god was true, I – and other atheists – would believe.”

    Now let’s say you watched the popular controversial movie called ‘loose change’ and decided that 9/11 was a conspiracy, and your friend who watched it with you did not believe it. You have both received the same information but have been shifted in two different ways in your opinions about the objective truth of 9/11. To your friend it was enough evidence to “prove” the veracity of 9/11 and to you it wasn’t.

    Now, in the question of God, what makes the “evidence” any less subjective than the 9/11 movie? In other words, you claim that we cannot prove God, yet isn’t the very act of feeling or being convinced by the supposed evidence a subjective relation to objective truth in itself??

    I am not trying to convince you of anything and don’t really expect you to answer, I just want you to question your own presuppositions.

    • If Loose Change wasn’t a crock of shit and didn’t fall apart under the slightest examination (much like religious claims) there might be a point here. Loose Change at least tried to present evidence, though it did it poorly and really only amounted to an Argument from Personal Incredulity. The differences come about, almost always, through one person not being as rigorous or demanding.

      I think if there was a god you COULD prove its existence since it would be so integral and important – as it’s claimed – so that it’s presence and existence should be obvious. That it is not suggests otherwise.

    • Evidence, even when used in support of a position, is not subjective. We must not confuse information with subjective opinions about what it means or implies.

      As to what we consider true, it all boils down to the quality of the argument. Is all the evidence (are all the facts) taken into account? Is the reasoning ‘reasonable’ or not? All else is mere assertion, whether dressed in rhetorical frippery or not.

      You may argue about what is objective and reasonable or what is not, but it is only the quality of your argument (and the quality of our judgements of it) that imbues it with the quality we label ‘truth’ – or doesn’t, as the case may be.

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