Author Topic: Language and Truth  (Read 1714 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Language and Truth
« on: October 07, 2020, 08:05:16 PM »
A number of our discussions have strayed into the idea of "truth." "What is truth?" asked Pilate.


The idea of "language and truth" struck me as I was studying "Lucifer" (in Isaiah 14:12 KJV). The phrase, "Morning Star" or "Day Star" also appears in that verse in some translations for הֵילֵל. These are terms that refer to Venus.


The dictionary (poorly) defines "truth" as: the quality or state of being true.


So, I look at the definition for "true." There are two (of four) that apply to this discussion.
1. in accordance with fact or reality
2. accurate or exact


The use of the language of "Morning Star" or "Day Star" for Venus is not true, because Venus is not a star. Calling it a "star" is not in accordance with fact or reality. It is not accurate.


In a similar way, on the fourth day of creation when God created "the lights in the dome of the sky," and it goes on to say, "God made the stars and two great lights: the larger light to rule over the day and the smaller light to rule over the night" (Genesis 1:14 CEB). This language is not in accordance with fact or reality. It's not accurate. The moon is not a light. In addition, the language of "dome" (or "firmament" or "expanse" - see Job 37:18 for the Jewish understanding of the "dome" as a solid piece of metal spread out like a mirror), is not accordance with fact or reality. It is not accurate.


However, from the understanding of the ancient peoples, all of these terms were true based on their understanding of the facts and reality. They saw Venus in the morning as a Morning Star shining in the sky. They saw the moon in the evening as a lesser light shining in the dark. They saw the sky as a big doom over the earth (supposedly holding back the waters that were above it).


As human understanding of the world changed, so did our understanding of what was true. What they used to think was true (accurately being in accordance with fact or reality) was no longer true for those who now had a different understanding of what was real. As it is, the language remains. Venus may still be called the Morning Star, even though it's not accurate. We can talk about the moon shining in the night, even though it's not quite accurate. We are less inclined to talk about a dome above the earth since we have sent rockets beyond our atmosphere. However, we continue to talk about the sun rising and setting, even though we know it's really the earth turning that gives us the perception that the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west.


I maintain that when someone says, "That's true," that truth comes from their own understanding of the facts or their sense of reality.

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2020, 09:54:25 PM »
I maintain that when someone says, "That's true," that truth comes from their own understanding of the facts or their sense of reality.

So you do not believe in any sense of absolute truth?  Or rather, that truth is relative, varying with each person's perspective. 

How do you use the above reasoning when reading Jesus' words: "I am the way and the truth and the life"? Or for that matter, how do you preach that something in Holy Scripture is true?  Do you tell your listeners that it is true for you, but does not have to be for them? 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2020, 01:09:09 AM »
I maintain that when someone says, "That's true," that truth comes from their own understanding of the facts or their sense of reality.

So you do not believe in any sense of absolute truth?  Or rather, that truth is relative, varying with each person's perspective. 

How do you use the above reasoning when reading Jesus' words: "I am the way and the truth and the life"? Or for that matter, how do you preach that something in Holy Scripture is true?  Do you tell your listeners that it is true for you, but does not have to be for them?


If there was such a thing as absolute truth - even Jesus being "the truth," we wouldn't have dozens and dozens of denominations and independent church bodies. We'd all agree about "the truth." We don't even have all Christian groups agreeing on the ecumenical creeds.


Assuming that you are declaring that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life is true. My response would be, "How is it true for you?" "How does that being the truth affect your life?" Some questions I ask after studying a text and discerning the meaning(s) of it are: How has the biblical truth been reenacted in my life or in the life of someone I know? What differences does it make in my life that I believe this is true?


If what we proclaim as true doesn't accord with present reality, (a definition of "true,") how can we say that it is true?


I also argue that if you believe in absolute truths, it comes from your own subjective experiences. Those experience could include being taught by trustworthy teachers that there is absolute truths. What is it about your experiences that leads you to believe in absolute truths?


Note well: I'm not saying that there aren't any absolute truths. Our language is often not accurate about what is true, i.e., doesn't accord with the reality of the universe. The sun contains huge amounts of energies and shines. The moon does not. It doesn't shine. The earth is rotating on its axis so it appears that the sun rises and sets, but really we are spinning in a circle around the planet.


Or, to use biblical examples, how many times do people talk about Jonah being swallowed by a whale? Or sing about climbing Jacob's ladder? Such language doesn't even accord with the reality of the biblical texts. (I challenged one lady to actually read the book of Jonah if she was going to try and talk about it.) People should also read the biblical account of Jacob's ladder. He never climbs it.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James J Eivan

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2020, 01:30:28 AM »
I maintain that when someone says, "That's true," that truth comes from their own understanding of the facts or their sense of reality.

So you do not believe in any sense of absolute truth?  Or rather, that truth is relative, varying with each person's perspective. 

How do you use the above reasoning when reading Jesus' words: "I am the way and the truth and the life"? Or for that matter, how do you preach that something in Holy Scripture is true?  Do you tell your listeners that it is true for you, but does not have to be for them?

If there was such a thing as absolute truth - even Jesus being "the truth," we wouldn't have dozens and dozens of denominations and independent church bodies. We'd all agree about "the truth." We don't even have all Christian groups agreeing on the ecumenical creeds.
There is absolute truth .. Jesus is absolute truth ... the fact that there are a myriad of denominations is not the result of a lack of absolute truth, the myriad if denominations is a direct result of the sinful condition of mankind .. more specifically mankind's failure to accept the good and gracious will of a loving God who would have all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sinful mankind continually perverts the truth to conform to their sinful nature.

Sinful mankind blames everything/every one for the myraid of denominations that results from mankind's sinful nature.

Thanks be to God for His forgiveness in and through Jesus our Saviour

Charles Austin

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2020, 04:29:37 AM »
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2020, 09:07:11 AM »
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”

Like saying that eventually the LCMS will ordain women?  Or that in a generation or two, all churches will accept homosexuality?  Because these things are God's will?  You mean, like that kind of smug and arrogant and boastful and sinful?

Pr. Terry Culler

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2020, 09:14:54 AM »
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”


We only know the will of God by the Word of God, not by speculations from people.  What is truth?  It is what God says it is, nothing more nor anything less
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James J Eivan

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2020, 09:23:26 AM »
There is absolute truth .. Jesus is absolute truth ... the fact that there are a myriad of denominations is not the result of a lack of absolute truth, the myriad if denominations is a direct result of the sinful condition of mankind .. more specifically mankind's failure to accept the good and gracious will of a loving God who would have all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sinful mankind continually perverts the truth to conform to their sinful nature.

Sinful mankind blames everything/every one for the myraid of denominations that results from mankind's sinful nature.

Thanks be to God for His forgiveness in and through Jesus our Saviour
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”
Through the miracle of the quotation function, one is able to see the evasively bogus nature of the above response.

In an effort to evade the good and gracious will of a loving God, the respondent attempts to substitute my use of “the good and gracious will of God” with his “sinful mankind” diatribe.

Those of this ilk actually fear God to the point that they deceive the itching ears of listeners by confusing and substituting the good and gracious will of God with the bogus thought that they can ignore the good and gracious will of God by falsely labeling it as the judgment of sinful mankind.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2020, 09:38:38 AM »
There is absolute truth .. Jesus is absolute truth ... the fact that there are a myriad of denominations is not the result of a lack of absolute truth, the myriad if denominations is a direct result of the sinful condition of mankind .. more specifically mankind's failure to accept the good and gracious will of a loving God who would have all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sinful mankind continually perverts the truth to conform to their sinful nature.

Sinful mankind blames everything/every one for the myraid of denominations that results from mankind's sinful nature.

Thanks be to God for His forgiveness in and through Jesus our Saviour
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”
Through the miracle of the quotation function, one is able to see the evasively bogus nature of the above response.

In an effort to evade the good and gracious will of a loving God, the respondent attempts to substitute my use of “the good and gracious will of God” with his “sinful mankind” diatribe.

Those of this ilk actually fear God to the point that they deceive the itching ears of listeners by confusing and substituting the good and gracious will of God with the bogus thought that they can ignore the good and gracious will of God by falsely labeling it as the judgment of sinful mankind.
Please continue to ignore him and those of his ilk.

Charles Austin

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2020, 09:42:24 AM »
Pastor B0hler, You are wrong in almost everything you say about what I suspect will be true in the future. I do not dictate future truth, I speculate on it and declare those speculations.
James, you are. . ., no, I won’t go there. But please stop.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2020, 09:54:38 AM »
"Language and Truth," quite a massive topic to discuss in a forum thread. To offer anything like a thorough discussion would take a journal article at a minimum, more likely a book. So, some observations.


Truth is context specific more than relative. I state that the sun rose this morning at 7:50 am, true or false? That depends on the context of the statement. If that is an astronomical statement describing the relative motions of bodies in the Solar System, it is false. The sun does not rise, the earth rotates and revolves. However simply using the common linguistic convention for denoting the time at which the earth rotates so that the sun becomes visible over the horizon, it could be accurate. The truth of the statement also depends on the time standard being cited. If we operate according to Greenwich Mean Time, the statement would be false for my context. Eastern Daylight Time? could be. Similarly, the date of this kind of statement is also significant. As I write this, it is October 8, 2020; if this is read on a different date, sunrise for that date would be different. However, it was very foggy this morning so that I could not see when the sun appeared over the horizon, so does that count? Finally, the time of sunrise is also location dependent. Where I am the sun came over the horizon at 7:50 am EDT. YMMV.


So is the statement of the time of sunrise an objective or relative truth? Both. It doesn't matter who you are, your race, gender, age, ethnicity, mental acuity, or species if you were at Baldwin, Michigan this morning at 7:50 am the sun rose whether you could see it or not and using the common linguistic metaphor for the sun appearing over the horizon. If you were at a different place or using different frames of reference or linguistic conventions, then the statement would have been false. But then again, that is not person relative. If someone who thought like me, had the same race, gender, age, ethnicity, mental acuity, political, social, and religious beliefs were located in Chicago, the statement that the sun rose this morning at 7:50 am would still be wrong, even if he were my identical twin and just like me. The truth is relative to the context in which it is stated.


The statement that all truth is relative is typically misleading. If you were standing next to me this morning at 7:50 am local time, the sun rose for you just as it rose for me no matter how you differed from me. To that extent it is objectively true. If you were standing in Chicago, or came back in a month, it would not be true, so it is relative to date and location. One must ascertain the context of the statement, including what kind of truth the statement intends to convey. So it matters if the statement of the time of sunrise intends to convey astronomical truths concerning the relative motions of bodies in the Solar System, or the time that the sun appears over the horizon (if one had a clear view of the horizon [I live in a heavily forested area] on a clear day).


The statement that what is true for me may not be true for you is misleading. Is the statement itself always true for you and for me? Basically, it is far too simplistic. The linguistic frames of references used as well as the physical frames of reference do affect the truthfulness of a statement. But that does not leave us simply adrift on a sea of relativism and uncertainty. The frames of references in which statements operate can be investigated or specified and determinations made as to the variables involved in assessing the truth of a statement.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 10:36:05 AM by Dan Fienen »
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James J Eivan

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2020, 10:12:13 AM »
There is absolute truth .. Jesus is absolute truth ... the fact that there are a myriad of denominations is not the result of a lack of absolute truth, the myriad if denominations is a direct result of the sinful condition of mankind .. more specifically mankind's failure to accept the good and gracious will of a loving God who would have all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sinful mankind continually perverts the truth to conform to their sinful nature.

Sinful mankind blames everything/every one for the myraid of denominations that results from mankind's sinful nature.

Thanks be to God for His forgiveness in and through Jesus our Saviour
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”
Through the miracle of the quotation function, one is able to see the evasively bogus nature of the above response.

In an effort to evade the good and gracious will of a loving God, the respondent attempts to substitute my use of “the good and gracious will of God” with his “sinful mankind” diatribe.

Those of this ilk actually fear God to the point that they deceive the itching ears of listeners by confusing and substituting the good and gracious will of God with the bogus thought that they can ignore the good and gracious will of God by falsely labeling it as the judgment of sinful mankind.
Please continue to ignore him and those of his ilk.
So as clearly demonstrated Rev Austin responds to my post and I am chastise and censored from responding to falsehood in his response? 


Why does he continue to receive protection and preferential treatment?

peter_speckhard

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2020, 10:31:18 AM »
There is absolute truth .. Jesus is absolute truth ... the fact that there are a myriad of denominations is not the result of a lack of absolute truth, the myriad if denominations is a direct result of the sinful condition of mankind .. more specifically mankind's failure to accept the good and gracious will of a loving God who would have all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Sinful mankind continually perverts the truth to conform to their sinful nature.

Sinful mankind blames everything/every one for the myraid of denominations that results from mankind's sinful nature.

Thanks be to God for His forgiveness in and through Jesus our Saviour
Sinful mankind enjoys arrogantly denouncing what they see as the sins and alleged errors of others, smugly using the false cover of boastfully knowing all there is to know about the “good and gracious will of God.”
Through the miracle of the quotation function, one is able to see the evasively bogus nature of the above response.

In an effort to evade the good and gracious will of a loving God, the respondent attempts to substitute my use of “the good and gracious will of God” with his “sinful mankind” diatribe.

Those of this ilk actually fear God to the point that they deceive the itching ears of listeners by confusing and substituting the good and gracious will of God with the bogus thought that they can ignore the good and gracious will of God by falsely labeling it as the judgment of sinful mankind.
Please continue to ignore him and those of his ilk.
So as clearly demonstrated Rev Austin responds to my post and I am chastise and censored from responding to falsehood in his response? 


Why does he continue to receive protection and preferential treatment?
He doesn't. And even if he did, that would be beside the point. I tell him to stop as often as I tell you to stop. And in both cases, maddeningly, it is more than once. I delete his posts all the time.

John_Hannah

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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2020, 10:34:21 AM »

So as clearly demonstrated Rev Austin responds to my post and I am chastise and censored from responding to falsehood in his response? 

Why does he continue to receive protection and preferential treatment?


Why do you continue to put up with it?   ???
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Re: Language and Truth
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2020, 10:54:16 AM »
Emoji looks just like your photo.
Nice!

Peter (Emojis and Truth) Garrison
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