Truth

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Mountain Road

Without question, the number one reason given by those who have left their faith behind is that they no longer believe that it is true. Sometimes Christians can be insensitive to those wrestling with their faith and imply the reason why must be because they just want to be free to live a life of sin. While that might be true in some cases, it's not reflective of the  vast majority of those I have spoken. For them the issue was one of truth. In the end, Christianity no longer seemed true to them. 

 

Believing of rejecting claims of any kind should be done for one reason, the belif's truth value. If a claim or an entire system is not true then it shouldn't be believed. 

 

One caveat. When it comes to what we believe, truth takes the highest place in the echelon of our values. We intuitively feel that we should only believe claims that are true. That makes sense if God exists. But if God doesn't exist then I'm not so sure that truth is the most important reason to believe a claim. I admit that it seems strange to suggest that the truth of our beliefs might not be all that important if God doesn't exist, but bear with me. If I'm correct, then the strong intuition we have that compels us to give such a high priority to having true beliefs will turn out to be evidence of the existence of God.

 

 

Shouldn't truth be the only reason why we believe something? What does God's existence have to do with the importance we place on having true beliefs? If God doesn't exist, then why is truth more valuable than pleasure? If God doesn't exist but I think he does and living as if he does gives my life meaning, hope, purpose, community, identity, and satisfaction, why is it more important that I believe true beliefs about his nonexistence if it is going to steal all my subjective joys? In other words, why in this case, if God doesn't exist is knowing the truth of greater value than a fulfilling life? The answer isn't obvious. I suppose one could respond that living according to the truth - no matter what the truth turns out to be - is inherently virtuous. But that's not so clear. Why is the virtue of being in the truth, which is nothing more than having "a positive attitude toward a claim that corresponds to a fact of reality", given priority over having other virtues such as compassion, fidelity, generosity, love, patience, peace, goodness, and self-control? It's not self-evident, at least to me, that thinking correct thoughts is more important than being a good person or having an enjoyable life. Perhaps someone might respond that holding true beliefs increases the likelihood that we will become good people and have enjoyable lives. After all, if we live according to the truth it ... Clearly false. 

 

 

 c that  truth  totruth come to realize the truth? In the end, if my life is enjoyable and it doesn't hurt others, then why does it matter if I am living a lie? There aren't any eternal consequences for holding false beliefs. So why should I care if my beliefs are true if they are pleasurable and don't result in negative consequences? 
If God doesn't exist, and it's not emotionally beneficial for us or detrimental to our physical well-being why care if our beliefs line up with the facts of reality? I can only think of one reason, and that is that being in the truth is inherently valuable in and of itself. This seems to be intuitively the case, but upon reflection, it seems to be the case that unless God exists that not even itself truth has any intrinsic value.