Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Two Notions of Truth

4/27/15

 

In our vernacular the word truth carries two different flavors. One is what I call ideological truth, truth which is declared by supposedly irrefutable authority and is therefore not subject to further scrutiny or testing. The other flavor is empirical truth, truth which can be observed, evaluated logically, and confirmed. As one might guess, the latter type truth will very often call into question the former.

 

Ideological truth is very much the type that we encounter in the world of religion and politics. But we also experience ideological truth throughout the various aspects of our cultural heritage. Any number of ideas and contentions about our history, our legal system, and our  economy are considered by many as sacrosanct and to question any of this amounts to a lack of patriotism or maybe even treason.

 

Ideological truth is always appealing because it is familiar and generally formulated to feel comfortable. Engrained in the concept of its irrefutability is the idea that one need never consider the logical implications of an ideology. Since logic is considered irrelevant to ideological truth, challenging on the basis of logical argument can be summarily dismissed, often by impugning the character of the challenger. 

 

Empirical truth presents its own difficulties. Measuring and confirming a truth empirically often involves stepping outside our comfort zone and engaging in a test of sufficient duration to actually see the ultimate results. In the meantime, the proponents of the ideologies resist the test, heaping scorn on those who proposed it. The lack of verifiable results in the short term are often cited as proof of failure, prompting a return to the status quo.

 

Given the background, it is easy to see why ideological truth is so appealing to many. Embracing an alternative truth demands a lot of effort and even pain. The easy way is the natural way.