Monday, May 9, 2011

On Absolute Truth - Part 1

Some of my own definitions:

Absolute truth: what is correct, what is, the way things really are, regardless of perception, as would be known by an omniscient being.
Knowledge: information stored in the mind, can be correct or incorrect.
Incorrect knowledge: Knowledge that doesn’t happen to match absolute truth.
Correct knowledge: Knowledge that does happen to match absolute truth.
Absolute knowledge: Correct knowledge combined with the ability to know it is correct with zero potential sources of error. An omniscient being would possess absolute knowledge.

In between absolute truth and absolute knowledge lays our human limitation, an inescapable source of error. Our minds do not store a perfect copy of the absolute truth, but rather a limited perception of the absolute truth. Even if our knowledge happens to match absolute truth perfectly (happens to be correct), we have no way of ultimately knowing that it matches. Being able to check how correct our knowledge is would require a cheat sheet of absolute truth that has zero potential sources of error. We don’t have this cheat sheet, so as far as we know there is always the human source of error. We can never ultimately know whether our knowledge is correct or incorrect; we can never have absolute knowledge. Absolute truth, absolute knowledge, correct knowledge, and incorrect knowledge are unverifiable concepts to humans. All we have is knowledge and a degree of confidence regarding its correctness based on evidence and reasoning. People tend to agree most on matters which are well within the reach of our senses (such as whether gravity pulls up or down) because the evidence is most clearly and readily perceived. As we begin to discuss matters which approach or exceed the limits of our senses, our perceptions are fuzzy and we tend to disagree more. The human source of error becomes more problematic. The origin of life and the universe, the cosmos, other dimensions, theoretical physics, religion and spirituality approach or exceed the limits of our senses. Interestingly, some people’s degrees of confidence remain quite high on such matters.

I mentioned a cheat sheet earlier; if we indeed had a perfect cheat sheet then absolute truth, absolute knowledge, correct knowledge, and incorrect knowledge would indeed be verifiable by humans. A tenet of Christianity is the claim to possess this cheat sheet, the Bible. It is a matter of Faith to accept that the Bible is indeed man’s cheat sheet. Having personally studied the Bible, I’ve seen that human limitation is a major source of error in the Bible, rendering it ineligible as a cheat sheet. Absolute knowledge must have zero potential sources of error, otherwise “absolute” is the wrong word.

Christianity has disregarded the human source of error and declared absolute knowledge, describing itself as the “only way.” Christianity has assumed that because they’ve found meaning in their belief in Jesus, every one else should too. If feeling that you need to be right is considered arrogance, Christianity is indeed arrogant.

No comments:

Post a Comment