Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Truth in Love

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -the Declaration of Independence

Self-evident:    This means that we accept these truths as-is, with no need to establish them from the outside with evidence each time we begin a debate or discussion.

And from these “self-evident” truths, a foundation for Independence at the time is derived—and a foundation for an ongoing developing understanding of liberty and equality.

I think that any system of belief has some “truths” that are accepted as foundational—as “self-evident”.  “We are going to accept these as fundamental and build on them, not re-hashing them every time we begin.”

What a task to come up with THOSE!

Can our “self-evident” truths (within a belief system) be false? (of course) One can SINCERELY BELIEVE a falsehood. (Am I willing to accept that I too am capable of this?)

How do we test those without bringing the entire house down? (in any belief system—religious or otherwise)

I see Jesus questioning things that were not supposed to be questioned.

St. Paul seems to have believed that some truth about God was “self-evident”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            The things that have been made are wonderful enough to not only imply, but prove, a Creator.

Yet many an intelligent and sincere philosopher would disagree!


Bertrand Russel: What is Truth? 

            Three requisites (requirements, necessary items) for a theory of truth

  • It must allow truth to have an opposite, namely falsehood
  • It makes truth a property of beliefs (not simply facts)
  • But that property is completely dependent upon the relation of beliefs to outside things (the truth of a belief ‘always depends on something which lies outside of the belief itself; a correspondence between belief and fact)

“We know that on very many subjects different people hold different and incompatible opinions; hence some beliefs must be erroneous. Since erroneous beliefs are often held just as strongly as true beliefs, it becomes a difficult question how they are to be distinguished from true beliefs.

Kantian Ethics and categorical imperatives:

            I have been asked to do several weeks without big words, so I apologize! It just means something like this:  It is ALWAYS wrong to lie, and you cannot make an exception based on consequences.

             Do we have examples of when lying is more in line with “the Truth” than not lying?

 What does truth look like in community?

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4)

 Truth in relationship, in community

What makes woodsEnd a place where you feel comfortable saying what you honestly think or believe?

What makes woodsEnd a place where you do NOT feel comfortable doing so?

For that matter, is there a LOVING way to be your authentic self, and is there an UNLOVING way to do so?

How does one practically “put away falsehood”? Can you identify “falsehood” in yourself?

How do these work against truth?       Anger, corrupting talk (?), bitterness, malice

How do these work with truth?            Kindness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness


What is the role of healthy boundaries? (things you are not allowed to know about me, places you may not inquire)


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