Is a personal truth less of a truth compared to an objective truth?

(Sanchia_J) #1

I have two questions on this topic.

In a video ( Click here) Neil deGrasse Tyson stated that there are objective truths, and personal truths. Objective truths are truths that exist regardless whether or not you believe in them, where as personal truths are relative. He went on to state that “Jesus is your saviour” is a personal truth and that “You cannot convince someone else that Jesus is their saviour in an objective way”. 1) Is this true? My own spiritual convictions, however, came from hearing the personal stories of Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, Dr. Benny Prasad and Dr. Ravi Zacharias. 2) Is a personal truth less of a truth compared to an objective truth?

(SeanO) #2

@ClairDeLune Thank you for this question. In this particular case, Dr. Tyson is playing a game with words. He is claiming that religious claims cannot be objectively true. In other words, he is saying that all faith claims are subjective rather than objective.

subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions
objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts

For Dr. Tyson, science can lead to objective truth - factual data that can be peer reviewed, but religion is entirely subjective and cannot be verified. Epistemology is the study of how we can know things and Dr. Tyson’s epistemology disregards the idea that we can know things at a spiritual level. But the Bible is clear that there are some truths that are spiritually discerned - that cannot be comprehended by someone with an impure heart towards God. Romans 1 makes it clear that when people reject God at a heart / spiritual level, their mind is then unable to clearly perceive truth. This epistemology is different than Tyson’s epistemology.

I Corinthians 2:14 - The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

In conclusion, Dr. Tyson holds an epistemology that only considers scientific analysis to be objectively true. The Bible’s epistemology has a spiritual dimension and the reality of the eye witness testimony of the apostles who did see, hear and touch the risen Messiah.

I John 1:1 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

William Lane Craig Article

Here is an article by William Lane Craig defending the reality of objective truth in the realm of theology and faith.

I hope those thoughts are helpful. Do you have any further questions? Blessings!

(Jamie Hobbs) #3

Sean has pretty much covered it, but I wanted to add in this little tidbit. To that statement, I’d have to ask Dr. Tyson if that truth he is positing is objectively true. If it is, how did he use science to come to that conclusion? You can’t use scientific thought to objectively prove that something outside of science is true. He’s employing word gymnastics. Truth is both objective and exclusive by its very nature. Anything else points to a massaging of definitions to fit an agenda.

(Jimmy Sellers) #4

To all these fine answers you have throw in history. You can’t recreate history in a lab, you can dispute it, you can agree with it but at the end of the day a man was crucified on a cross. How can you test that? So how are we going to fit that into objective truth?

(SeanO) #5

Exactly @Jimmy_Sellers, and that is where the eye witness testimony of the apostles comes into play. We have the testimony of men who did live during the time of Jesus and those documents reliable by the standards established among historians when evaluated objectively. So there is historical evidence, but it is not something you reproduce in a lab like a physics or chemistry experiment.

(Carson Weitnauer) #6

Hi @ClairDeLune,

What a great question! Thank you for asking it.

I think Sean’s definitions are quite helpful:

subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions
objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts

Consider, then, the statement, “Carson likes chocolate ice cream.” This is subjectively true. But, therefore, it is also objectively true! That statement is a factual description of my preferences.

What about, “Carson worships Jesus as Lord.” Again, that is both subjectively and objectively true. That is an accurate description of what I do - observed from both an internal and external point of view.

One step further - how would you evaluate the statement, “Jesus is Lord”? If you think Christianity is true, this is an objectively true statement. If you think Christianity is false, then it could only be the kind of statement which someone personally feels is true - but they are wrong.

So when you listen to Ravi, for instance, share his personal story of encountering Christ, some will see this as the retelling of a merely personal story; others will hear it as not only a personal story but also as an accurate description of the God who is there.

For this reason, I don’t think Dr. Tyson will convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. It is the equivalent of a Christian saying, “Atheism is a personal truth, but it isn’t objectively true.” I don’t think that kind of argument is going to convert Richard Dawkins! It just isn’t the kind of argument that is very interesting. However, having these labels can help us better describe our understanding of how we see reality.

(Sanchia_J) #7

@SeanO @Jamie_Hobbs @Jimmy_Sellers @CarsonWeitnauer

Thank you so much for an enlightening response. This does clear the confusion for me. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Tyson, so I am quite surprised, that he does not consider the truth as a whole, but rather as segments (or maybe deliberately worded his discussion as so). He has only regarded one method of analysis as a true representation of reality, and completed disregarded the rest. As he is considered a reliable source of information, I think what he has done in this video is incredibly dangerous and reckless :open_mouth:

I also recall a video by Dr. Zacharias where he discussed how/why the Judeo-Christian faith is objectively reliable. I’ll have to revisit it. Thank you again <3 :slight_smile: