Do All Roads Lead to Heaven? Part 2 What is Truth?

Do All Roads Lead to Heaven?

I will begin by defining what is meant when people say all roads lead to heaven.  When it comes to religious beliefs, all are equally valid and it is wrong to say a belief is false. All religions have truth.  It is equally wrong to say yours is the only way to heaven.  One survey said 70% of Americans believe many religions lead to eternal life[1].  According to this view no one has the corner on religious truth.

Do I believe all roads lead to heaven?  NO!  It is a ridiculous and self-defeating statement.  I will now spend the rest of my time justifying my conclusion and helping you understand how we can find a belief system that is true.  I will show you how it is the product of shallow thinking when it comes to religious belief.  In my attempt to show the statement “all roads lead to heaven” is false, I need to discuss the issue of truth.

We don’t create truth, we discover it.  It is independent of anyone’s knowledge of it.  If something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, and at any period in time.   The math problem 2 + 2 = 4 is true for everyone, everywhere, and at any time period.  Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincere they are.  All truths are absolute truths.

Contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible.  We can believe everything to be true but we cannot make everything true[2].  Our beliefs can be wrong.  When is a belief true?  When it matches reality, the way things really are.

I would like to look at two different categories of truth, subjective and objective.  To help you grasp these concepts I will illustrate them by contrasting ice cream and insulin[3].

I will begin with subjective truth.  When it comes to choosing a flavor of ice cream, you choose what you like or what is true for you.  There is no “right” flavor you must choose and no one is going to take issue if you like chocolate more than vanilla.  This is called a “subjective truth.”   It seems very odd for me to say, you are wrong because you think chocolate ice cream is the best.  There are no right and wrongs with subjective truths; there are just preferences.  Remember subjective truth is true for the subject, the person; the focus is on the preferences or choices of the individual. We are not talking about true truth; just personal preferences.

The other type is objective truth.  When it comes to choosing medicine you do not choose what you like or what is true for you.  Rather, you choose the right kind of medicine, medicine that will actually heal you, like insulin if you have diabetes.  This qualifies as an objective truth.  Objective truths are things we discover and cannot be changed by our internal feelings. Objective truths focus on the object at hand, whereas subjective truths focus on the subject; the person making the judgment.  Objective truth claims can be either true or false; whereas, subjective truth claims aren’t subject to that judgment.

Go to part 3 here

[1] USA Today reporting on data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,000 Americans.  Conducted the survey May through August 2007.

[2] Geisler, Norman & Turek, Frank, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Publ. Crossway Books, 2004 p. 37-38

[3] Koukl, Greg, Illustrations and definitions from various teachings.

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