This question occurred to me during a discussion about absolute and subjective truth and has me puzzled. The existence or non existence of God is an absolute truth - either he absolutely does exist or he absolutely does not. We as Christians believe it is true, and we have lots of good reasons, but believing doesn’t make it true. Others do not believe, but that’s doesn’t make it so either. They can’t say subjectively “that’s true for you but not for me” because God’s existence or non existence is true for all people in all cases. Maybe I’m over thinking this and not seeing the obvious. What do you think?
What we believe based on Divine Revelation and reiterated by the teachings found in the Deposit of the Faith/Sacred Doctrine, as expressed by the Church, are absolute truths, they may not be douted by faithful Catholics. They are in no way subjective. They are absolutely objective.
This means that they are true for all men at all times, whether or not they are accepted.
So truth being subjective suddenly becomes objective when it becomes absolute!
I agree- things either exist or they don’t, no matter what we want/believe. “God exists” it’s either true or false for everybody. Just because it can’t be proved doesn’t make it subjective- we can’t prove our disprove aliens exist, but they’re either out there or they aren’t.
It is true that mere belief does not make the object of belief true. However, when we say “we believe in God” we are expressing our faith, which is not a mere belief but a response to revelation by God who is the truth itself, which is why we say that faith is certain.
Also, I just would like to add a point of clarification regarding the statement “God IS” and “God exists.” By this we do not mean that “God has existence” or “God receives being” as if it were an accident, but rather that God is the act of being. That is, he gives being and exists through his essence, which is pure act.
You’re right, just because it can’t be proven (or proven to someone’s satisfaction) doesn’t mean it’s subjective. I’m glad you phrased it that way, it makes sense.
I think God Himself addressed this when He said:
I think Linus summed it up perfectly. A person’s refusal to acknowledge a truth has no affect on that truth. It just means the person is wrong, plain and simple. Either we are wrong, or they are wrong. We have to make a decision about what we believe to be true and then we have to live according to that belief. One of us will be proven correct in the end.
Personally, I’d rather believe in God and be wrong than not believe in Him and be wrong.
I agree absolutely. The question is, how do we know what truth is? Using the bible as evidence of truth is circular reasoning: God exists because the bible he inspired says he exists.
Yes, and that implies that God’s “subjective” existence, i.e., His existence as Supreme Subject, supercedes the importance of whatever exists as mere object. In that sense, our own existence as subjects is more important, in absolute terms, than the objects that exist as objects around us.
This why being made in God’s image, as persons or distinct “I ams” is far more significant than existing as trees, rocks or bugs.
That’s not phrasing the argument correctly. That’s how an atheist would frame it to try to make it seem unreasonable.
We believe in God because we believe the evidence for him (outside of the Bible or any other holy text) to be incontrovertible. There is existence, which demands a creator (since something cannot create itself). Knowing that an exterior creative force is necessary, we call that force God. Now that we believe in the necessity of God, we seek to know Him better. Knowing that God exists, we can then conclude that either he would reveal himself to us or he wouldn’t. Given that he took the time to create the universe and allow for our existence, I personally conclude that he would chose to reveal himself to us in some manner. At that point, I begin to look at the various religions and religious texts, and consider what they say about what I know of the God that must exist by observing His creation. In the end, I chose to accept Catholicism because it was the one that made the most sense to me, and that had the strongest historical arguments for its Truth (Starting with Judaism, and continuing through to the present day in the Church.)
I didn’t start with the Bible, so it’s not a circular argument. I believe in God because I believe that he -MUST- exist, and I believe in Catholicism because they present the most historical and rational argument for a belief structure. I am either right, or I am wrong. That is something we cannot determine absolutely until we meet God face to face. Taht does not make the belief in Him irrational though.
The countless miracles don’t hurt either
All truth can only be “known” by a knower or subject. Therefore, all reasoning about and knowledge of the truth depends upon subjectivity, not objectivity.
It comes down to how we can know anything to be true at all – ultimately THAT depends upon our subjective existence as knowers. In turn, that leads to the hard problem of consciousness.
Knowing depends upon consciousness which, as the hard problem shows, cannot be explained by biochemistry.
It isn’t exactly circular reasoning. Whether it is circular reasoning or not depends upon the strength of corroborating evidence that can be put forth to show that the Bible, itself, stands up to scrutiny as a reliable and valid source or proof for God.
The Shroud of Turin, for example, corroborates the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels for Jesus’ Resurrection. It provides, along with reliable testimonies of eyewitnesses, a strong case for the Resurrection, which in turn makes a compelling case for the existence of God.
This is not circular reasoning, by any means. It may be disputable, but it must be disputed by showing that the eyewitness testimonies were inherently faulty or the Shroud has been faked. Neither of which have been done.
As more and more independent evidence comes to light to support, say, the authenticity of the Gospels, the more the Gospels themselves become reliable sources of evidence for the claims contained within them.
Therefore, for example, the finding of very early copies of Mark’s Gospel such as:
makes the claims of skeptics – that the Gospels were fabricated long after the events they describe – much more dubious and strengthens the case for the Gospels as reliable eyewitness testimony.
As far as, “They can’t say subjectively “that’s true for you but not for me””
But they can say, That is your belief but it is not mine.
Truth is always absolute. Otherwise it is violation of the principle of contradiction. A statement or fact cannot be both true and subjcetive at the same time in the same respect. The very foundations of society, science, learning, religion, and communication are based on this fact.
God is Truth - as in Reality, Existence Itself.
“Objective” or “subjective” are labels we use to describe aspects of the relationships we have with reality.
For example, the colour red can be said to pertain to the subjective world of the mind as a colour being experienced; it is also a feature belonging to the object “out there” being perceived. Now when we speak of red as a specific set of electromagnetic frequencies, we sound like we are being objective, but it is actually a situation no different from that in the case of perception. The idea is in the mind and what is being understood is in the world. To me, what we both identify as red in colour is little different from what we both identify as a range of numbers.
This all hinges on our being relational in nature - we connect to the world.
It is all about relationships, which we can intellectually separate into self and other.
One’s self is the rational soul, which we are.
Interestingly everything about us is also other to that self.
We can know ourselves in being ourselves.
One’s life is an ongoing relationship with reality.
Our individual, unique existence appears as an unfolding self-other dialogue, within which we encounter beauty/ugliness, goodness/evil, truth/lies, mystery/ignorance, life/death, joy/suffering.
This relationship is quite complex in that our individual tastes, needs and who we have become by that particular moment cause us to attend to different aspects of any one object.
In the realm of ideas this is reflected in the fact that we have different opinions and values.
Excluding what for most of us are the extremes, in the middle ground of experience, we like and dislike different things.
At the foundation of this reality lie the three mysteries: the relationship itself, the self, and the other.
We are created in the image of God.
We do not bring any of this into existence - not ourselves, let alone what is other.
Briefly stated: we are created through God’s infinite compassion.
This entire voyage is one towards our being able to reciprocate, returning His love and thereby commune with God in eternity.
The ugliness and beauty that arises within a relationship reflects who we are in the context of that in which we participate.
A hardened heart sees no beauty. Sin’s encounter with God is grime.
The beloved is the most wondrous of creatures.
Loving union through surrender to what is true and good, is joyous and beautiful, bringing greater life.
Prayer, conteplation of the Good News, charitable works, the mass and partaking of the eucharist constitute the day-to-day acts that form one’s relationship with God.
I don’t think I would say something so narrow as, “God is an objective truth”.
There is an important difference between truth and fact. God may be considered a truth, but there is no way, at this point, to list the same as a fact. To be considered fact, you must have tangible and testable evidence…revelation, etc. are matters of faith.
What does it mean to say that “God is” as opposed to saying “Kenny Loggins is”?
As far as, “We believe in God because”, you can speak for yourself but you can NOT speak for me.
Personally, until I met God, I believe the reason that I believed in God is spoken of in the bible and what the bible says about Faith and that is that Faith is a gift and it was a gift that God gave to me and that Gift of Faith was to believe in God.
I also believe that no one can “know” that God Is unless God somehow lets someone know it to be.
Sometimes God surprises you when you take a blind leap of faith with your eyes wide open.
One of the things about “believing in God” is that “God” can mean pretty much anything and by listening to what people say and write concerning their “views” of God, one will see that many that believe in God, have quite a few different beliefs concerning God.
I was taught that God Is Love and in meeting God the Father, I came to the realization that the statement, God Is Love, is quite literal, in that Love is NOT an attribute of God but is God’s Very Being and this “fact” is why I believe some of the things that I believe.
Mary pondered and I think that if we have the ability to ponder than we should also ponder, of course, this is just something that I think/believe, others can think/believe what they want.