Truth: Subjective or Absolute?

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“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#1 Feb 24, 2008
I hope to engender here a discussion here on the question of subjective vs. absolute truth. All views are appreciated and encouraged. It is hoped that our only guidelines be discussion with respect and common courtesy, and of course a little bit of foolishness. Life is serious enough - if we didn’t laugh, we’d cry. All views are the sole property of the authors and do not reflect the views of the management, as there is no management. Please don an extra skin (available for rental at the door) and proceed:

I propose that there are only three absolute truths in life:
1. Birth,
2. Death, and
3. There are no absolutes beyond these three.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#2 Feb 24, 2008
Subjective truth. Interesting concept, aka fluid truth. In many arguments, truth becomes quite similar to beauty, as "in the eyes of the beholder". Our challenge in accepting that is determining why we should listen to any particular version of truth.

But, by no means should one confine oneself to just any particular version! There is most definitely an argument that a certain belief set, of all those available, may produce an absolute truth in answer to a properly worded question. But there is no way to prove which one is the right one. Of course, if one's not really interested in working that hard, than I concede any ol' belief set will do. But if one has an interest in the area of spiritual truth one must look at all relevant versions and alternatives and hold 'em up against each inner light to see how it looks. Subjective truth has no copyright, there are no "release versions" for mass consumption - just as the term denotes - by definition, subjective truth is unique to each heart. The task of "society" is to meld these multiple subjective truths into a cogent whole.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#3 Feb 24, 2008
One way to meld multiple subjective truths into a cogent whole is with organized religion, but than invariably you get your absolutes, with each subset, or even each individual, declaring their truth to be the absolute. It is argued that among the Christian faith there are certain basics that are universally accepted as truth. I would respond that that statement is not demonstrable in light of the lack of internal agreement as it relates to the proposition underlying Christianity. Though all subsets may agree on the existence of God, that's about where it ends. One common response is that "All Christians agree that a profession of faith in Jesus the Christ, as represented in the (Xxx) creed, is fundamental," but this is a false statement. The beliefs in the nature and purpose of Jesus, as well as methodology for affirming same, are far from unanimous within the umbrella of "Christianity," even though many of the foundational elements underpinning the statement are fundamental to the salvation doctrine.

Though one belief sub-set certainly may just happen to hold the absolute truth, the inability to present absolute proof to the world, resulting directly in the lack of unanimity in internal definition of Christianity, renders the proposition subjective in result.

In the interest of social order we need socially-defined absolutes to set acceptable cultural boundaries. But these "absolutes" are the tail, not the dog, and we all agree we can't have the "tail wag the dog," or, IOW, the law serves man - man doesn't serve law. We love our absolutes tho' and, what's more, we notice our neighbors across the water have also got their own absolutes, and we don't care for ‘em. So we build whole straw dogs to go with the tails (which were our absolutes) in order to let the others know, "watch out - we've got a dog." In the natural order of things, our straw dogs serve us well but, time goes by, and we forget why we built the straw dogs - we forget they just represented the tails. We start telling each other that it's the straw dog that sets us apart from those across the water, and that in fact it always was the dog, and always will be the dog. Now it becomes all about the dog. We build an impressive house for our dog to reside in. Certain ones are enjoined to minister to the maintenance of the dog. More time goes by and ONLY certain ones now may perform this task. More time goes by and the maintenance folks begin alluding to certain secrets revealed by the dog. The tail is long-forgotten - the doG now IS. Now we'll die for the straw doG.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#4 Feb 24, 2008
Spiritual truth must remain subjective. Admittedly, the conundrum in supporting this version of subjective truth: is it absolutely true that truth is subjective? If the answer is yes than the statement cancels itself, and thus can't be true. I say this is merely a semantically-driven quasi-philosophical conundrum but lets run with it anyway. We are left with the alternative: There must therefore be an absolute spiritual truth. OK, which one of the many proposed? All claim primacy, and some form of Divine dispensation, but all can ultimately only offer faith as their absolute proof. Some belief sets realize this conundrum, and add in a semi-real divine intercessor, kinduva spirit/reality bridge, that is gifted. How is it gifted? By believing it - then the proofs are said to become miraculously evident. The intellectual honesty of this approach is questionable, as it is pretty evident the cart got out ahead of the horse there.

The argument is also a conceptual labyrinth. If we were discussing a yellow dog, there is possible an absolute description. But in the social/spiritual realm, that certainty doesn't extend to an "unproveable". An "absolute unprovable" is itself an oxymoron, and causes the sincere supplicant to perform many embarrassing flips and contortions in attempts to cogently express the concept.
dirtywhiteboy

Lapeer, MI

#5 Feb 24, 2008
i believe that the whole world operates from absolute truth. there is absolute truth to everything that happens in this world but peoples perspectives make it subjective to their point of view.
dirtywhiteboy

Lapeer, MI

#6 Feb 24, 2008
in order to know the absolute truth you must be objective and many people are not.

if you believe in anything like the fabric of time, past present and future will be recorded as an absolute and not from someones point of view.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#7 Feb 24, 2008
Another argument on absolute spiritual truth: No one can say anyone is wrong in anything, unless there is a standard by which to compare differing viewpoints. If that standard is subjective, then no one is ever wrong about any thing. They're at worst different. The concept of right and wrong can only exist in a world of absolutes.

To this I would respond: Absolutely ( ;-D) and Agreed. Relatively. An absolute in the social OR spiritual realm is still a conventional agreement, akin to agreeing that the green paper in your pocket stands for something of greater value than the paper and ink. It's value is relative to location and time, and depends upon, not proof, but local consensus. The Gradient had a neat little analogy about location/perspective. Everyone's horizon is fixed and absolute, AS LONG AS you stand still, but even then the objects in view refuse to remain static. If you're standing three feet to any side of me your horizon is fixed and absolute, but your view, however minute, differs from mine. Now I'll move over next to you and try to see what you see, but still can't do it through your eyes. Heritage and experience color our respective interpretations of what we can see. Nor can I see the thin edge at the horizon on your side opposite me. So, for example, you may see the very top of a ship at sea, that I can't see from my relative position. You can describe the scene to me, and so when I stand in your spot I can be pre-disposed to see somewhat the same view, but ultimately, no matter how fine you cut it, we're still back to our own filters - by our own unique lights. Subjectivism prevails!

As a society, we agree on certain conventions to communicate and maintain order. We codify them as law, or impose them through peer pressure. Even this is relative as we know by simply crossing an arbitrary "boundary", i.e. right-at-the-light in Illinois may be verbotten in Iowa. In another example: If you walk up to a man in 6th century BCE Judea and grab his “package” you might be closing a deal, absolutely. Do the same thing in Manhattan today and you might be dead. Absolutely.

No such order is necessary for a spiritual concept to thrive for the individual, but in the interest of society, boundaries are achieved only thru consensus, necessitated by the need to communicate effectively and interact peacefully. Then we adopt rules, protocols, and conventions. It's a mixed blessing tho' because before we know it's happening we find ourselves describing them as eternal and absolute, and we start building more straw dogs.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#8 Feb 24, 2008
dirtywhiteboy wrote:
in order to know the absolute truth you must be objective and many people are not.
if you believe in anything like the fabric of time, past present and future will be recorded as an absolute and not from someones point of view.
Thank you for your perspective. If I may, time is itself a relative concept. Kinda like, "If a tree fell in the woods...". Many philosophies hold that there is no such absolute as "time" - that it exists merely as an expediency, for descriptive purposes only. Yes, we can look through a long telescope and see a celestial event that happened way back in "time." But we are merely seeing the vestigial wave transmissions of that event' akin to a TV broadcast - we are not seeing the event itself in "real-time." On-site activity at that location has progressed to the exact point in time at which we stand today - we just can't see it.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#9 Feb 24, 2008
A Xtian has said, "If someone calls the Christian wrong who exclaims that Jesus the Christ is the only way to heaven, they would be making an absolute statement, and in my mind they should be prepared to back it up." I'd respond that both have made absolute statements and should in honesty both be prepared to provide backup justification. It would potentially be interesting, but still not necessary - if one posits that unproveable's inherently leave the playing field wide open to subjectivism. Evidences might lean a person one way or the other, but the questions remain ultimately irresolvable. This is what is so fascinating about the topic for so many people. It's when you add tradition and personalities to the mix, you get absolutes. A whole mess of relative absolutes.

But because I believe then that all spiritual perception is subjective it would be foolish to tell anyone my view is absolute. Likewise, I would not assume to say you were wrong in your beliefs, for YOUR spirit. It is only when one contends that one’s spiritual/social view is absolutely applicable to all, that we agree to disagree.

Since: Feb 08

Hagerstown, MD

#10 Feb 24, 2008
The only source of objective truth is our own personal experience in life. We know nothing about our birth. We know it occurred but must rely on others to describe it for us. Our death is in the future which is unknown. How we respond to those experiences can be objective or subjective. We can perform experiments (with a microscope or telescope, perhaps) to expand our knowledge of the world or universe around us. When that knowledge is supported by theory (or vice versa) the activity is known as science. When experiences are too painful to deal with we may respond more subjectively and invent fanciful explanations for them. Most times, our fanciful explanations will suffice. When they become a problem for someone else, however, reality must be injected by some means. This we call therapy.

“In the rustling of the leaves”

Since: Dec 07

Washington, D.C.

#11 Feb 24, 2008
Are all absolute truths in life , being alive, awareness, etc., fall under the heading of birth?

“orally fixated”

Since: Aug 07

Allentown, PA

#12 Feb 24, 2008
Janeebananee wrote:
Are all absolute truths in life , being alive, awareness, etc., fall under the heading of birth?
I'm not quite understanding your question, Jane. Can you clarify?

“orally fixated”

Since: Aug 07

Allentown, PA

#13 Feb 24, 2008
HipGnosis wrote:
A Xtian has said, "If someone calls the Christian wrong who exclaims that Jesus the Christ is the only way to heaven, they would be making an absolute statement, and in my mind they should be prepared to back it up." I'd respond that both have made absolute statements and should in honesty both be prepared to provide backup justification.
I thought of two questions as I read through this post, Hip, that I'd like theists to answer:

(1) Are absolute truths, by default, axiomatic truths?

(2) How can absolutes (like omniscience and omnipotence, which are contradictory) be applied to a deity as attributes?

“In the rustling of the leaves”

Since: Dec 07

Washington, D.C.

#14 Feb 24, 2008
Slightly Perfect wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm not quite understanding your question, Jane. Can you clarify?
Sure. In Hip's 1st post, he was saying he thought there were three absolute truths in Life.
1. Birth
2. Death
3. No others besides the first two.

So I was asking if the Birth catagory was all inclusive to any absolute truth pertaining to being alive. Like..." I am ". Or we need air, food, water, etc., to remain alive. " I am alive". Is that a seperate absolute truth, or included under the Birth heading?

“orally fixated”

Since: Aug 07

Allentown, PA

#15 Feb 24, 2008
Janeebananee wrote:
Sure. In Hip's 1st post, he was saying he thought there were three absolute truths in Life.
1. Birth
2. Death
3. No others besides the first two.
So I was asking if the Birth catagory was all inclusive to any absolute truth pertaining to being alive. Like..." I am ". Or we need air, food, water, etc., to remain alive. " I am alive". Is that a seperate absolute truth, or included under the Birth heading?
So... are you considering physical laws and necessities absolute truth? In that case, I’d have to disagree. They’re not absolute. We can live relative to our environment, but that’s not absolute (unless you mean it’s absolute within a specific system, in which case it would be a relative absolute—talk about a paradox!). The recognition of “I am” is axiomatic, one of the few axiomatic truths we have.(Some even argue it’s transpersonal. I can see that argument, but I’m not sure I wholly buy it.)

Since: Dec 07

Location hidden

#16 Feb 24, 2008
Truth is subjective.

George W Bush has prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.

Bill Clinton prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since the WTC bombing on 1993, then Bush took office and terrorists attacked.

Both are true but the meaning is different.

Absolute or Subjective?

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#17 Feb 24, 2008
Janeebananee wrote:
<quoted text>
Sure. In Hip's 1st post, he was saying he thought there were three absolute truths in Life.
1. Birth
2. Death
3. No others besides the first two.
So I was asking if the Birth catagory was all inclusive to any absolute truth pertaining to being alive. Like..." I am ". Or we need air, food, water, etc., to remain alive. " I am alive". Is that a seperate absolute truth, or included under the Birth heading?
What we have here is a failya to for-mat." (If ya haven't seen Cool Hand Luke that of course will mean nothing.)

Well that's what I get for seeking a snappy and provocative opening. The intent was to lead into the meat of the propositions following - trying to keep common ideas together led to that particular formatting.

Although in a broad sense I do believe these are the only absolutes in life, they are themselves far too broad in and of themselves to have a lot of meaning. That is intended to be delved into in the further posts. Relative to your questions, in a very broad view, and in avery strict sense, life is possible, albeit for a very short time, w/o the things you mention. My intention was to pare it to down severely to the absolutes necessary for a thing to have been said to have been alive.

“The future begins”

Since: Jul 07

every moment

#18 Feb 24, 2008
rollin wrote:
Truth is subjective.
George W Bush has prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.
Bill Clinton prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since the WTC bombing on 1993, then Bush took office and terrorists attacked.
Both are true but the meaning is different.
Absolute or Subjective?
Well, I'd have to answer that neither are entirely factual. Given the nature of these attacks, neither President "prevented" anything, and neither will any future President "prevent" the certain next one. You can't prevent a sucker punch. This understanding is fundamental to cutting through the rhetoric of the "war" propogandists.
NORMAND winnipeg

Winnipeg, Canada

#19 Feb 24, 2008
--- "TRUTH IS: ABSOLUTE"... NOTHING STRONGER THAN "THE TRUTH"... "THE BIBLE IS TRUTH"...

“orally fixated”

Since: Aug 07

Allentown, PA

#20 Feb 24, 2008
rollin wrote:
Truth is subjective.
George W Bush has prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.
Bill Clinton prevented any foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since the WTC bombing on 1993, then Bush took office and terrorists attacked.
Both are true but the meaning is different.
Absolute or Subjective?
I'd say this isn't truth at all. Both statements are logical fallacies. They're both based on the fallacy of confusion of cause and effect.

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