Truth / Sannhet

As a result of my work on Acts 17 and apologetics, I became convinced that we need three key truth criteria when engaging media messages and the underlying worldviews. Those criteria are the following: (1) consistency and coherence («that which makes sense»), (2) correspondance with reality («that which fits the known facts»), and (3) adequacy / relevance («that which changes and transforms»).

These criteria can be applied to worldview issues in general, whether this relates values, views of humanity, views of reality or fundamental faith commitments, as well as to media messages.

This is well expressed by philosopher and ethicist E. David Cook (who was the supervisor for my doctoral work):

There are three main tests of truth. Consistency and coherence, correspondence with reality, and some form of pragmatic test provide these standards.

Consistency and coherence are necessary for a view to make sense on its own terms. They are necessary if a view is literally to make sense and is not self-contradictory. The second stage of testing is to see how far a view and its claims correspond with reality. The view must fit the facts and match up to the way things are. This is complicated, of course, by the way most views offer their own description of ‘reality’ and ‘fact’. Yet it is still crucial that the description given do have some correspondence with reality. The third test is some form of pragmatic one. This is a varied kind of test stretching from the crude and direct form of ‘If it works, it must be right’ to a popular expression in the philosophy of science which uses standards of fertility in producing new insight and other theories.

Christianity has tried to satisfy all three, but only in appropriate ways, given the nature of God and of Christian truth. These tests are applied in the context of the tradition and history of Christianity and in the company of the people of God. Consistency means that the view makes sense on its own terms and holds together. It is not self-contradictory. Christian truth must also correspond with the reality of God and be in keeping with his character, plan and revelation. Christian faith must work in the sense of transforming human life and society.

Thus the believer is required to talk sense rather than nonsense, to point to the reality of God in ways that are appropriate, and to show the difference God makes to life. Then, indeed, Christianity may be taken more seriously by the unbeliever.»

Thinking about Faith: A beginner’s guide (Leicester: IVP, 1986) p. 26 [Italics added]

 

 It is interesting to observe that these three truth criteria are used by the Apostle Paul in Acts 26:24-29 when responding to accusations. He claims that the Gospel of «Jesus and the Resurrection» makes sense, corresponds both to historical facts and Old Testament prophecy, and changes and transforms lives.

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Som en følge av mitt avhandlingsarbeid om Apgj 17 og apologetikk ble jeg overbevist om at vi trenger tre sentrale sannhetskriterier når vi skal vurdere mediebudskap og underliggende livssyn. Disse kriteriene er følgende: (1) konsistens og koherens / indre samsvar («det som gir mening»), (2) korrespondanse med virkeligheten / ytre samsvar («det som stemmer overens med kjente fakta») og (3) tilstrekkelighet / relevans («det som virkelig forandrer og forvandler»).

Disse kriteriene kan anvendes på livssynsspørsmål generelt – enten vekten ligger på verdier, menneskesyn, virkelighetsoppfatning eller tro – men også i møte med mediebudskap spesifikt.

Det er også interessant å merke seg at apostelen Paulus bruker disse sannhetskriteriene i Apgj. 26,24-29 i møte med utfordrende anklager. Han hevder her at evangeliet om «Jesus og oppstandelsen» gir mening, svarer til historiske fakta og gammeltestamentlige profetier, samt forandrer og forvandler liv.