Over the weekend, Rudy Giuliani, who is most recognised as being the mayor of New York City during 9/11 and who is also one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, made headlines by saying, “Truth isn’t truth.” Giuliani said the now infamous line in response to Chuck Todd, the anchor of the show he was on, asserting that “the truth is the truth.” It has become quite the ironic cultural moment as the very culture that has tried to destroy objective truth mocks his gaffe.
We have seen over the last few decades a movement within Western Society that is trying to dismantle the idea of objective truth. What is objective truth? It is “truth independent from individual subjectivity caused by perception, emotions, or imagination. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject.” Basically, objective truth means that something is true regardless of who you are or where you come from.
In our postmodern society the idea of objective truth is being replaced by what is called subjective truth. It is a truth based off of a person’s perspective, feelings, or opinions. You will even hear people say the phrase ‘my truth’ in reference to how they view the world and live their life. What is true for you may not be true for me.
Truth seems to have become malleable and we are seeing the effects of this idea all over society. One such area is gender. For most of human history it was naturally assumed that there were only 2 genders: male and female. According to the Australian Government there are now 3 genders: male, female and non-binary. Facebook takes it a little bit further and gives it’s users a ‘custom’ gender option as well as the ability to state the pronoun you would like to be referred as – he, she, they etc. Apparently according to the people who keep track of these things there are more than 71 gender identities.
But is truth really subjective? Are there things that are true for you and not for me? I would argue that the idea of subjective truth, as a better replacement for objective truth, only exists because of a refusal to believe in the reality of God. The Apostle Paul talks about it rather bluntly in Romans 1:
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:21-25 NASB)
Professing to be wise, they became fools. Why? Because they rejected Truth. In Christianity, truth isn’t just an abstract idea but it is a person. Jesus, God in flesh, said that he was “the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus was saying that he was the very embodiment of truth.
Not only is truth a person in Christianity but the word of God is truth. Jesus was speaking to a group of Jews and said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NASB) Later, when he was praying for his disciples before his execution he prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NASB) The word of God is consistently equated to truth throughout the Bible. It is the foundation of reality.
So, when you openly reject God and his word you are exchanging truth based off of God’s perspective for truth based off of your perspective. From that point on, truth isn’t truth. It becomes something that can be bent and manipulated.