Truth And Faith

​Truth isn’t correspondence to reality. However, that’s the common idea on the street. But, what test can we conjure to see how our language comports to it?

Truth is a grade. It is an “A” given to any sentence we feel justified to assert more than any other. Justification is through deliberation, which all hangs on “reason to assert”. We have nothing to say about truth because it entails to, and only to, a conversation about justification.

Positivism was abandoned long ago, and though you can hear folks like Hawking and Mlodinow cry “Philosophy is dead”, one can’t help but laugh when the next idea they utter is “new”, but is restated 1870’s Peircean Pragmatism, and is philosophy rather than science. All we can say is that belief is justified by whatever reasons we’d like, by whatever methods leave us most comfortable, most satisfied.

If faith is supposedly belief without reason, then how is the desire to have something be true any different than the desire to know what is true? The only difference is the reason for faith is that one wants to obtain in the future while other propositions speak to what has obtained.

And to be consistent with theories of knowledge, blind faith is exactly akin to the principle of “benefit of the doubt”, where one doesn’t know what to believe but must believe something because belief is action and the outcome has moral implications.

So as it regards the world we live in, faith is a proposition about the way things ought to be, whether that be that a certain kind of God should exist, or whether or not one will be hopeful or dreadful about what kind of world we’re creating to live in, or whether or not a person, discounted by nearly the whole of society, is worth you loving just the same.

At the heart of epistemology is this: we only know ourselves because of our relation to other things; reality is our mirror. So then, we want to know what the case is with reality so we can know ourselves as clearly as we can. This makes all inquiry a moral, ethical enterprise. Being human, being self-aware, conscious, entails to being an agent with a will. In that case, we also learn about ourselves through the kinds of things we desire. So then, in all matters of faith, this too is a moral, ethical enterprise because especially in this case, we are responsible for the kind of world that results from our belief “that it will be so” as opposed to “it is true that this is so”; two very similar propositions but one far more existentially urgent.

That sense of urgency, by the way, is why people don’t think of truth in terms of sentences, but instead as some property of things in the world. There is no truth property and capital “T” truth is just the reification of the desire to know things as they are. There is only reality and what we choose to say about it and intersubjective agreement on the best way to talk about it. In the end, truth may best be seen as the ethical conversation about the way things are, and faith similarly seen as the ethical conversation about the way things should be.

Faith is a desire about an outcome. Truth is a desire about an outcome. They differ only in timing; a belief about what will be and a belief about what is.

Just a thought.

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