How do you know something is true?

You know something is true when it is measured against something that is certain truth. In my case, I look to scripture as the primary source for understanding the truth about life, the universe and everything. As a United Methodist Christian, I seek to discren whether something is true by comparing it to what I find in scripture. I seek to understand the truth as found in scripture by using my own reason and intellect, the tradition of the church across time and the experience of a community of believers as well as my own experience of faith. These tools guide my search for truth and help me know whether something is true or false.

I recently met with a congregant who shared some deep questions with me. I asked for permission to share them on this blog to more broadly share my response.

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3 thoughts on “How do you know something is true?

  1. I’m hearing the question at a different level, perhaps.

    What if the questions isn’t “What sources do you use to validate or correct your perception of a given proposition or claim?”

    What if the question is, “What is there that, in the face of whatever sources I may consult, can reliably give me some assurance when I’ve gotten closer or further from truth?”

    So, perhaps the question is less “How do I verify or correct something based on X criteria” (i.e., how do I know it in my head, as it were) and more “How do I ‘know that I know”” or even “How do I get to the place where something ‘feels’ right?” (i.e., involving the body, or the “heart” as well as the brain/mind).

    It seems to me, at least, that Scripture may not form the heart well or at all among people who have no practice with Scripture doing so through worship and other means. And so the capacity for folks to address “what is truth” ends up being far more formed by whatever other formation they have actually received through other cultural practices that may be far better honed in them– both cognitively, and, perhaps especially, affectively.

    I’ll be interested in seeing where you go with all of this…

    Peace,

    Taylor Burton-Edwards

  2. On andrewconard.com’s web site, the question @ www. andrewconard.com/2010/03/30/how-do-you-know-something-is-true/ is and excellent question.

    Are their any good sites that intellectually answers his question?

    Thanks,
    Ron Kess

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