TRUTH EXISTS Written by Will Wright
“Seldom affirm. Never deny. Always make distinctions.”St. Thomas Aquinas
Truth exists. Many want this to be a false statement. It is much more convenient that way. If there is no standard for morality, other than our own standards, then we have a moving goal post.
I have even heard that there is neuroscience that seems to suggest that we have no free will (of course, the intellect is a spiritual power, not a corporeal power… and another reason why science alone is insufficient). If there is no free will, then we cannot be held responsible for our actions.
“If you don’t believe in objective truth, arguments would be just toys, or games, or jokes.”Dr. Peter Kreeft
There are consequences for our actions, whether we think so or not. Of course, we live in a society that has marketed a quick fix to just about everything. We have a contraceptive society, an abortive society, a fix-it-with-a-pill society. But, the truth is that our “fixes” hardly ever take away the problem. They just shift from one problem to another, without taking care of any root issues.
“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”George Orwell
The reality is that truth exists, an objective truth irrespective of personal preferences, morals, or thoughts. No one needs to be taught that murder, rape, or theft is wrong. There are some things that are so ingrained in our very nature, that we know them intuitively. These truths transcend time, place, culture, and circumstance.
There are many things which exist in a given time, place, or culture which are properly ordered to truth, goodness, beauty, or unity. These are not objective truths, in and of themselves. For example, following the Protestant Reformation, it was exceedingly important that the Holy Mass continue to be offered only in Latin and remain unchanged from 1570 until the revision of the Roman Missal in 1969-70. It is not objectively so that God must be worshiped only in Latin. The Eastern Catholics have celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Aramaic, Greek, or Arabic for millennia. The essential nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass/ Divine Liturgy is absolutely objective. The way that it is celebrated has never been entirely objective, in the most universal sense.
All of this is to say that it is important for us to distinguish between the various levels of truth. Some things are universal and completely objective, regardless of time, custom, and culture. Other things are objective, but have elements which are true but not in an explicitly universal sense. And other things are subjective, but can still be true for a given person, circumstance, culture, etc.
Another important point to make. Something can be objectively true and our narrow viewpoint of that objective truth can be non-objective. So, dialogue and avoiding pride is still a good practice.
Making distinctions in a polarized world is an art form and one that I do not always do well. But, hopefully, we can all learn from the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. “Seldom affirm. Never Deny. Always make distinctions.”