The most basic idea of truth is that which corresponds with reality. If I say it’s raining outside, you can go out and see if what I said corresponds with what is real. It’s either raining or it’s not. That’s the idea of truth. Not what you think is true or may want to be true, but what actually is—objectively—true. Meaning truth is something that stands outside of us. It exists. It is.
God is truth—He’s the source of all truth. This means truth is transcendent. Truth doesn’t come from us, isn’t made up or determined by us, but rather comes to us. That’s why we speak of the Bible as God’s revelation. It’s God revealing Himself and truth about Himself that could not otherwise be known.
This is a radical idea.
Truth is not something we create, it’s something that we discover. It’s not what we choose to believe as truth, nor determining a 51% majority vote to be truth, nor what ideologies embrace as truth. Truth is. Something either corresponds with reality, or it does not. Something corresponds with the revealed truth of God, or it does not. It’s not a guessing game nor some subjective art.
This is why people who dismiss dealing with whether something is true and say things like, “All that matters is that you are sincere,” miss a very important point: You can be sincerely wrong.
I can sincerely believe that when I reach into my medicine cabinet at three o’clock in the morning with a headache that I am taking a Tylenol, but if I am really taking Cyanide, my sincerity will not save me from what I’ve ingested in my system.
If I put carbolic acid into my eyes instead of contact lens solution, no matter how sincerely I may have thought it was safe, I will still go blind.
During World War II, Adolph Hitler sincerely believed that the slaughter of six million Jews was justified—he was sincerely wrong.
Sincerity matters, but it cannot be all that matters, because sincerity alone has nothing to do with reality. This is why saying things like “Well, that’s your truth and I have my truth,” or “What’s true for you is true for you, what’s true for me is true for me,” or “There’s no such thing as truth—truth is whatever you want it to be” (as though truth doesn’t even exist outside of personal opinion) isn’t being careful in our thinking.
As mentioned, the idea of truth is the correspondence between our ideas or perceptions and reality. What is true is that which actually is. If you believe that kind of objective truth doesn’t exist, or that if it does it doesn’t matter, you have some serious challenges to overcome. Even a skeptic as noteworthy as Sigmund Freud had to admit that,
[If] it were really a matter of indifference what we believed, then we might just as well build our bridges of cardboard as of stone, or inject a tenth of a gramme of morphia into a patient instead of a hundredth, or take teargas as a narcotic instead of ether.