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W.W.S.D. (What Would Socrates Do?)

I don’t trust people. Recently, I took a very detailed and intensive personality assessment. It consisted of over 300 questions designed to expose my greatest weaknesses and strengths as they pertain to leadership. When I received my scores, I had a whopping 6% out of 100 when it came to trusting others. Long story short, my greatest weakness is that I am all too skeptical of people and their intentions.

Maybe you are in the skeptical camp when it comes to religion. If so, churchgoers and Jesus followers may seem annoying at best when trying to convert you to “the truth.” In fact, we Christians often have the boldness to claim there is only one way to the truth: Jesus. If you feel skeptical of Christianity, or even the belief in God as a whole, you are not alone, nor are you the first.

Skeptics have been around since the ancients. One example is the sophist philosopher Protagoras who famously claimed “man is the measure of all things.” A more modern version of this quote might be something like, “the truth is what you make it.” The sophists were excellent speakers that appealed to emotion and used eloquent speech. But their philosophy usually lacked in substance and intellect (which may explain their hesitancy to debate others).

In contrast, there was another philosopher who was well-known for logical debates, in which he exposed the truth to his opponents. His name was Socrates. Along with his stubborn pursuit of truth came disdain from the skeptical philosophers of his time. In fact, Socrates was so controversial that he was eventually executed for his teachings.

Socrates revealed that skeptical logic, like that of Protagoras, falls apart under its own weight. The skeptical claims about the concept of truth are almost always self-defeating. It was Socrates who knew which questions to ask to debunk their weak philosophy.

Let’s look at a few skeptical claims and the questions we should ask if we follow Socrates as our role model:

Claim: The truth is unknowable. Question: Is that truth knowable?

Claim: The truth doesn’t exist. Question: Is it true that the truth doesn’t exist?

Claim: What’s true for you is not true for me. Question: Is that true? How do you know?

All of these claims are self-defeating.

So if the truth exists, it must logically be knowable (to claim otherwise is self defeating, as mentioned previously). If it’s knowable, then the people who claim to have it just might be right. So for my fellow skeptics out there, it might actually be possible to trust in someone. Can we trust these Christians that knock on our door with pamphlets around Easter time? Maybe. Maybe not.

The question really is, do the claims Christians make have good supportive reasons or evidence?

We will get there. But let’s not rush through our conversation about the nature of truth just yet. Stay tuned this month as we discuss truth and how we can discover it.

For answers, reasons, or evidence for the Christian faith purchase your copy of Solid Faith today!