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There is truth

Postmodernism and its view that truth is subjective has taken a vice-like grip on the minds of so many in our society. Reducing truth to my own personal perception of reality has meant that a sense of objective moral right and wrong has evaporated. It has also meant that argument from reason has no place. All is now fuelled by emotion.


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Yet we cannot get away from the undeniable reality that the human person by their nature is a truth seeker. We seek to know and live on the basis of what we believe to be true.

However, powerful forces in the culture are trying to suppress the desire to know the objective truth.

As Christians we believe that there are two ways to come to know the truth, through the use of human reason reflecting on human experience and through divine revelation.

Along with ancient Greek philosophy the Christian believes that there is an objective structure to reality which is knowable through the use of the human intellect. However, while the human mind faces challenges to fully grasp this objective reality by itself unaided, Divine Revelation provides access to the fulness of truth.

The Sacred Scriptures provide some important insights into the nature of God’s desire that we know the truth. Three times in his final words to his disciples, during the Last Supper Discourse recounted by St John, Jesus speaks of the promise of another helper, or advocate, once he is no longer with them. This helper is the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel records that this gift of the Father to disciples of His Son will be the ‘spirit of truth’.

During the years of his public ministry the Lord performed the role of a Rabbi, a teacher, and was often called that by the people. He came as the definitive revelation of the nature of God. He came to reveal the path for human life. He came ultimately to secure the means for each person’s eternal salvation.

Truth, then, was an essential element of his mission and purpose. Now, that the time of his physical presence was coming to an end, the Lord promised that there would be a means by which truth would be accessed and preserved. The Holy Spirit, he assured them, will lead his disciples into complete truth.

In the face of the nihilism of our age we must continually proclaim our belief that there is truth, and the truth, as Jesus said, will set us free.

Christianity offers a path for the real enlightenment of the mind.

In these confused times we must keep proclaiming this fundamental belief which we have as believers – that truth is accessible through the use of human reason but that the fullness of truth is to be found in the Christian faith. In particular, Christianity not only offers the truth about the nature of God but about the nature of the human person and the meaning, purpose and destiny of every human life.

Pope St John Paul II addressed the issue of the interaction between faith and reason, the two ways to the truth, in his encyclical, Fides et Ratio, where he used a beautifully apt image. He said, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

Pope Benedict was an ardent promoter of the interaction between faith and reason. Speaking during the ‘Year of Faith’ he said, “As the Year of Faith progresses we carry in our hearts the hope of rediscovering our joy at believing and our enthusiasm for communicating the truth of faith to all. This leads us to discover that our encounter with God brings value to, perfects and elevates that which is true, good and beautiful in mankind”.

Pope Benedict spoke of an “irresistible desire for truth” that lies in the human heart. We know this. We are seekers after truth. Theology is, as Anselm of Canterbury said, “faith seeking understanding”. Again, quoting Pope Benedict, “God, with His grace, illuminates reason and opens up new horizons, immeasurable and infinite. Therefore, faith is a continuous stimulus to seek, never to cease or acquiesce in the inexhaustible search for truth and reality.”

Faith is not an imposition on reality, rather it reveals the truth of reality, of how things are.

However, today we are living in an age of ideology. Ideology closes the mind to objective truth and to reality. It does not relentlessly pursue the truth, instead it imposes human ideas onto reality, it seeks to manipulate reality. A clear example of contemporary ideology can be seen in the ‘transgender’ movement, which seeks to deny the very biological reality of the human body.

Our task, among so many, is to wean people away from ideology to a life of faith and truth. To do this we must firstly call people to a living faith, a faith which is under the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The Great Truth that the Church proclaims to the world is that of the kerygma – that a God who is love has come to the aid of fallen humanity and sent his Son. We have been saved by the death of Christ, and that we are called to live a new life in the risen Christ. The kerygma is the essential truth about human existence. We can never tire of declaring it to the world. This is the truth that can set each person free.

Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now”. He promised to provide an ongoing means by which we believers would be able to receive enlightenment and be guided to the fulness of truth. We have been promised that the Holy Spirit would accompany the Church as the Spirit of Truth.

These words are surely words of encouragement and hope. Christianity alone possesses the fulness of truth about God and about human life.


    6 responses to “There is truth”

    1. Michael Holland says:

      Like you, I believe in absolutes. In the 1970s I went to university and read stuff about parallel universes, multiple realities, and subjectivism. Then it hit me THERE IS A SOLID UNIVERSE AND I CAN FIND IT. This experience blew all the other stuff out of my head.

    2. Jude says:

      Thanks again +JP- Jesus didn’t leave wriggle room for ideology – for your truth or my truth, The absurdity of relativism collapses under the authority of his claim as being – the way the truth and the life. Thanks for the reminder and your defence of sanity.

    3. Margaret O’Hagan says:

      We need leaders like Archbishop Porteous. Thank you!

    4. Karen Mace says:

      ‘Our task, among so many, is to wean people away from ideology to a life of faith and truth. To do this we must firstly call people to a living faith, a faith which is under the grace of the Holy Spirit.’

      This is so true. Thank you Archbishop Julian for being the example we need to follow in this. ‘Enough is enough’ you said, and you are right. We, as disciples of Our Lord Jesus, must follow in His footsteps. In choosing to do that, and guided by the Holy Spirit, we must speak life and truth into the hollowness of ideology.

    5. Heath Clark says:

      We need more people to stand up for the Truth in this world

    6. Andrew Prenter says:

      Thank you Your Grace. “They” will continue to attack and criticize, but as you remind us, there is only one truth, and it will prevail. (Guess you don’t need me to tell you).

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