Truth means everything. Reality means nothing.

Truth means everything. Reality means nothing. Okay let me explain. Reality as we know it today, will almost surely be completely different sometime in the future. Shagnasty makes some good comments that go along with what I am saying: “Deep thought on these subjects would include learning about the vastness of the universe, the likelihood there are extra dimensions we can’t even perceive, the strangeness of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, and the different theories about what isn’t included in our universe. Other study should include the biology of consciousness and how little we know.
It is just basically educating yourself very well on the parts of science that we don’t understand and yet play the most key roles about our existence, destination, and the origin of the universe.”

I live my life as if I am going to eventually live the lives of everyone who has ever lived. This way, when I help someone, not only do I feel great about myself, but I am actually helping myself . This will most likely turn out to be completely untrue. However, it does not change the truth one bit. Another example of truth would be when Christ confronts the Pharisees and the adulterous woman.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11"No one, sir," she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Whether this actually happened is up for question. Whether it is reality or not, changes very little. The truth will always apply no matter what. So in conclusion, reality does really mean everything, and truth means nothing. However, we have almost no way of knowing if our reality today is even close to the true reality. Nothing anyone says will stop people from trying to find reality. Thats a good thing. Truth however, always applies and should be valued even more than reality.

Christians seem to have a very strange definition for truth, which I can’t quite grok. Can you explain it to me?

Looks like a snippet from a larger, probably just as incoherent. e-mail mass-glurgification.

Reality is that which is real by definition. Truth is that which is true, also by definition. The only way they change is by a change in the world.

What is the point of the OP anyway ? Some sort of cultural relativism ?

That’s the hard part. I am not the best with defining words. I am not using truth in the normal sense. The best I have for defining truth in that sense that I mean is by those examples. Maybe someone who is better with words can say what they think about this and help me out.

Are all your posts this intelligent?

Yes you are correct. I did not mean truth as in the traditional sense. My problem right now is defining truth in the way I mean it without simply examples. The reason for this discussion is to find out what other people think about the ideas that truth (in the way I mean it which we have to define still) is more important than reality.

That must sting, coming from someone who posts this–

as a premise, and sums up the argument thusly–

with this coda–


If you don’t like the response, start a better thread, not just some obvious excerpt from Jesus-Tracts-R-Us where you didn’t even bother editing out the footnote reference numbers. I don’t think you read the text with any degree of seriousness, so why should I?

If you don’t understand what I am saying, then ask. Its very simple.

  • Reality does matter. It means everything since its, well, reality. however, we know almost nothing of what there is to know of the world. What we know now, will be completely wrong tomorrow. Therefore, the truths, are what matter. Truths matter because they hold no matter what reality is.

This threads purpose is to

  1. Help me find a definition for what I mean by truth.

  2. Once you understand what I mean by truth, then if you agree that truth is more important than reality.
    This has nothing to do with anyone being christian. Christ simply has the qualities of truth that are the most easy to see. Certain qualities of Martin Luther King. Certain qualities of Ghandi. Certain qualities Buddha had. Certain qualities we all possess and in no way is only applied to christians. It applies to everyone and in no way is a religious thing. I have a feeling cosmosdan can help me with my definition. I disagree with cosmosdan all the time. But he seems to possess the truth I am speaking of more apparently than others on this board.

You can say what you like. There is not a problem there. You are simply not adding anything to the discussion. Also, if you don’t think I read the text with any degree of seriousness, why don’t you say that in the first place so we can discuss why you think that. Can you see the obvious problem with assuming you know that I don’t read the text seriously, when you really do not know?

I’m not sure you understand what you are saying, since your conclusion directly contradicts your premise. First you say one thing, then another, as I have pointed out.

Honestly, can you not see how nonsensical this is? If you do not know what you mean by truth, how are we to?

See above. You contradict yourself. That leads to assumptions about your understanding of what you wrote.

Is this closer to what you are looking for?

Reality - a picture of the universe compiled knowing all facts about it (what really is)
For example - In the 3 standard dimensions (length, width and height) the planet Earth is roughly a sphere

Truth - a picture of the universe compiled based on limited information (what is believed to be)
For example - for much of history, it was ‘true’ that the earth was flat

An example would be saying: My mother’s birthday party will be held tonight. This is true; what I have been told and the activities occuring around me point towards this. However it is entirely possible that in reality it has been decided that it will be held in January and I haven’t been told yet.

I don’t personally agree with this definition of truth, maybe someone can point out the correct word (belief?).

The truth is what is. So is reality. The difference between the two is that the truth includes everything that is real, plus abstract truths like mathematics. 2 + 2 = 4 isn’t real, but it is true.

I like Professor Jones’ take on it: as an archaeologist, he taught facts. If his students wanted truth, he invited them to take a philosophy class instead.

As I see it, statements about reality are a subset of the set of statements that are true. For instance, we consider an aspect of reality:

The number of dimensions of physical space in our universe.

From that aspect of reality, we get a statement that may or not be true.

Our universe has eleven physical dimensions.

If the reality is relative and dependent on social beliefs, then the truth is also relative.

Perhaps I’m just being cynical here, but what I’m seeing is “I don’t like what the current majority considers to be reality, so I’ll argue that it’s transitory and insubstantial”. Sort of relativistic sour grapes. How close am I?

I had some time to think about it so hopefully I can explain myself a little better. In everyday conversation, there is almost no misunderstanding once we get over the initial, “what the hell are you talking about?”. The blame is completely on me for not being able to explain myself.

Absolute reality- what really is.
Reality- what we think is absolute reality based on the facts as we know them today.

Truth. Truth has attributes of love, compassion, honesty, kindness, and wisdom. Truth holds no matter what the absolute reality is.

I have noticed a huge correlation between Truth and the Self-Actualization level of maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Truth is what you seek to reach the self-actualization level. Self-actualized people do not need to, for instance, put down other people for their looks. If you are secure with your own looks, you have no reason to put down others. This is a tell-tale sign of someone who feels insecure with themselves. Also, to reach the self-actualization level, you have to fulfill the lower levels of the hierarchy. Without fulfilling the lower levels, you cannot easily reach the self-actualization level. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Ghandi was an incredible example of this. Even though he was starving, he still reached self-actualization. Another example is Martin Luther King. Even though he was constantly threatened, he still held on to his beliefs of equality for all. By finding truth, you essentially skip the lower levels of the hierarchy. Just the thoughts of Christs’ teachings bring people to self-actualization in the face of unmet lower levels. It is for this reason that truth is more important than reality.

As far as contradicting myself goes. There are two main options.

  • If we know the absolute reality.

    • Then the absolute reality means everything. Truth means nothing.
  • Else if we do not know the absolute reality.

    • Then Truth (as I have defined it) means everything, and reality(not absolute) means very little.

This is the best way I know how of trying to relate truth to a scientific theory. It is not a perfect correlation however. I strongly urge you to understand the basic statements I am trying to get across. It is the reason for peoples beliefs in someone such as Christ that otherwise would seem borderline insanity.

Theory 1- Truth (as I have defined it), is more important than reality.

This is without a doubt completely true in my life. I am a very modest person, yet I would be stupid to not know how great of a person I am because of truth. I fully realize that being a good person can be defined differently by different people. What I am referring to is the qualities of a good person we have in common and just how much our actions speak for themselves.

Theory 2- Truth can be recognized without the needed belief in the reality of the truth. For instance, the truth of Christs teachings can be attained without the need for believing in Christ.

This appears to also be true. Ghandi said, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.” It appears as if Ghandi was not a follower of Christ. Yet he still had the truth of Christ.
My hope is not that we make our lives easier by not holding ourselves accountable for finding reality. My hope is that we value truth above reality so that the truth guides us to the self-actualization level. Finding reality at the self-actualization level is completely unbiased.

Your definition of reality (what I refer to as absolute reality in the above post) is correct. Your definition of truth is not what I was referring to. Rather, you showed an example of how our reality today will change. The reality was that the earth is flat. We now know otherwise. Would it really suprise any of you if absolute reality turned out completely different than what we know as reality today?

If you indeed understand what I am saying, then there is a lot to argue about.

I am basically saying that the work of Ghandi, Christ, Martin Luther King, (etc.) is more important than the work of, say, Einstein. The main reason being, the work of Ghandi, Christ, and Martin Luther King lead us to the self-actualization level. Our everyday lives are constantly changed just from the thoughts of thinking of these great people. I dont know of too many examples of times you are going to cite Einstein as the reason for helping out kids that didnt have any presents for christmas based on his work of quantum mechanics. Let alone reaching the self-actualization level by merely thinking of his life.

"I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure personages is the only thing that can lead us to find ideas and noble deeds.

Albert Einstein

So, when you say “Truth”, you really mean “The Christian God”. An approach to language usually associated with one Mr H. Dumpty.

Just out of curiosity, what about someone who doesn’t love Christ? Who is, at best, somewhat indifferent to Christ?

Gandhi wasn’t actually starving, was he? He’d practiced as a lawyer in South Africa and though he promoted an ascetic lifestyle, he was never personally deprived of food, only justice.

If you mean he was spiritually starved, pleased make the distinction. For that matter, is it possible to be “self-actualized” and an overall nice guy even if one has no knowledge of or interest in Christ?

So far, “reality” is doing quite a good job of predicting future outcomes, while schools of thought based on what you describe as “truth” are somewhat lacking. Paradigm shifts in “reality” occur when models have to be dramatically changed to explain new observations. Thus, flat earth ideas were lost when long sea voyages and large-scale mapping was attempted. Geocentrism was lost when epicycles proved inadequate and excessively complicated. Creationism, I hope, will be lost in the near future. Are you proposing that the teachings of Christ, being unchanging truth, will never be lost? It “holds no matter what the absolute reality is”? We can observe dramatic changes in Christian ritual just in the last few centuries, with the increasing importance of Christmas and its symbols, the discarding of older rules (i.e. eating meat on Friday) and the schisms created by Papal discord and Martin Luther. Exactly what parts of Christianity have held up as well as, say, Newton’s Laws of Motion?

Problem is that the words truth and reality describe a rather individual point of view. What is real and true to you is very different from what is real and true to me. I base my reality and truth on fact, whereas you are basing your reality and truth on a factually unsupported religious doctrine.

How about comparing fact versus (what I consider) fiction? Instead of trying to make one of two equally vague words appear to be the equivalent of the word fact.