(Indian b. American Christian apologist, b.1946)
All religions ascribe to the notion of exclusive truth
For Ravi Zacharias the truth is that all religions are not the same. All religions, for instance, do not point to God. No religions say that all religions are the same. Hence it does no good to put a halo on the notion of tolerance and act as if everything is equally true. In fact, even all-inclusive religions such as Bahaism end up being exclusivistic by excluding the exclusivists. It is more probable that all religions are false than that all religions are true. There are too many contradictions between religious systems.
The fact is that one notion to which all religions subscribe (either explicitly or implicitly) is the notion of exclusive truth. Populists like to deny that premise, but all religions make this claim. Zacharias’ premise is that the popular aphorism that “all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different” simply is not true. It is more correct to say that all religions are, at best, superficially similar but fundamentally different.
It is siginificant that most religions exact revenge against dissenters. This contradicts the claim that “all religions are basically the same.” If all religions were indeed the same, why not let someone be “converted” to another religion? What this revenge demonstrates so strongly is an inbuilt belief that conversion is wrong. And why is conversion so forbidden? It circles back to the one notion that all religions ascribe to the notion of exclusive truth.
It is mindless for instance to think that Christianity and Hinduism are saying the same thing and that, in the end, the differences do not really matter. Both claim to be true and legitimate. This rationally implies, then, that it does matter what you believe.
Truth is what corresponds to reality, and reality is absolute. There is a basic law in logic called the law of non-contradiction and Zacharias defines it: two categorical affirmations which contradict each other cannot be true together unless they are qualified. Those who affirm that all religions teach the same truth and have the same value contradict the truth that there is only one reality and one truth. All beliefs are contradictory and they cannot be true together. And for the convert evangelical Zacharias, only Chrisitinity is true – which implies that all other religions are false.
*Zacharias, Ravi, Walking From East to West: God in the Shadows. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006
(British academic, 1912 -1974)
The problem of mystics truth claims: the superiority of theistic mysticism
Zaehner maintains that it is not true to claim that all religions are equally valid paths leading to the same goal. The basic principles of Eastern and Western religions are not starting from the same premises. The great religions are talking at cross purposes. This must be taken into account to evaluate the problem of mystics truth claims.
Zaehner’s work involves an explicit repudiation of Huxley’s perennialist claim that ‘mysticism’ represents a ‘common core’ at the center of all religions. Instead, Zaehner argued, there are three fundamentally different types of ‘mysticism’: theistic, monistic and panenhenic. For Zaehner, the theistic category (which includes most forms of Christian and Islamic mysticism, Hindu theologians like Râmânuja, the Vishistâdvaitin) is superior to the other two: the Monistic category, which Zaehner describes as an experience of the unity of one’s own soul,( which includes Buddhism - despite its rejection of both monism and belief in a soul -, Sâñkhya, which has a dualistic ontology, and Advaita Vedânta) and Panenhenic or ‘nature’ mysticism, being something of ragbag collection of those mystics not easily classifiable in terms of the ‘world-religious traditions’. Theistic mysticism, Zaehner contends, is superior to the other forms, most notably because it is the only type of mysticism that has a firm moral imperative as a fundamental and constitutive aspect of the experience itself. Non-theistic religions lack a proper moral foundation since they do not believe in the existence of a benevolent deity in which the notion of a moral goodness can be grounded.
Because Zaehner links the psychological analysis of mystical union to the philosophical problem of mystics truth claims. He distances himself from the common core hypothesis that assumes that conflicting theological claims regarding mystical experiences have to be reconciled with one and the same experience. He instead suggested that there are several different types of mystical experiences. Each supports a different religious doctrine that is consistent with its own category of experience. Pan-en-hen-ist and monistic mysticism differed both as experiences and as doctrines from the theistic mysticism that Zaehner privileged.
Critics of Zaehner have argued that the unmediated and ineffable mystical experience is to be understood according to culturally conditioned interpretations. One should set aside doctrinally loaded interpretations in order to get closer to the phenomena of the experience itself. When we do this, we shall see that the various world religions have a pure experience in common which is interpreted differently according to specific socio-cultural norms and expectations of that religion.
* R.C. Zaehner, Mysticism Sacred and Profane, Oxford, 1961;
(Jewish British writer, 1864-1926)
A martyr’s death is not a witness to the truth of his belief--merely to the truth of his believing
Although we moderns work harder than our fathers for our opinions, we are sometimes taunted with not being so ready to die for them. But, as Renan points out, thinkers have no need to die to demonstrate a theorem. Saints may die for their faith because faith is a personal matter. Even so we are still ready to die for our honour. The Christian martyrs did prove that Christianity was a reality to them; but Galileo's death would have been irrelevant to the rotation of the earth. There is no _argumentum per hominem_ possible here; the truth is impersonal. It is only for beliefs that exclude certainty that a man is tempted to martyrdom. The martyr is indeed, as the etymology implies, a witness; but his death is not a witness to the truth of his belief--merely to the truth of his believing.
See Internet Zangwill Israel
Contemporary American author)
The Truth 'believed' is a LIE
Unless you experience something personally, first hand, you do not know whether it is the truth or not. What you know is someone's opinion of the truth, that may or may not be true..The truth believed is a lie, you can only experience the truth. A belief is like the menu, the truth is like the meal. One is the real deal and the other is not.
People get fooled by the words of others every day... They believe the truth rather than experience the truth. Most of the disappointments in life are a result of believing something someone told you as the truth. They say: I'll love you forever .
They divorce you 10 years later. If you never want to be disappointed by people pay more attention to what they do rather than what they say.... Actions never LIE....
It is my experience, backed up by scientific research, that people make all their decisions first emotionally, then they use their logic to justify their emotional decision. Politicians knows this piece of information better than most people and use it to their advantage. Advertisers do the same thing.
*See Internet Zappone Frederick
(Contemporary American author)
Truth is so simple: its message can't help but be understood
What is truth? This question has plagued scholars and philosophers since the beginning of time. Truth is not complicated; in fact the biggest lie perpetrated by man is the one that tells us that truth hides from us. Really! That's how people want to live? Denying that they have a nose on their face and toes on their feet? Open your eyes! You know that you have to breathe air to survive and that you lay your head down to sleep when you are tired. There is no secret to what truth is. Truth is all around us in the things that we see, feel, hear, and touch. Truth is the common sense understanding that people ought not to treat others unfairly. Truth tells us that we should love and cry, and truth tells us right from wrong. Truth gives us eyes to see.
The question is not "What is truth?" The question is, "Do we want to live with the consequences of truth?" No philosopher or scholar has ever struggled with the undying question of rather we actually have a nose or toes. Truth is recognized through common sense, but it is hidden through complicated deception when its message gets in our way. The problem with accepting truth is that there are huge consequences. Truth is easy to find; a thief knows that he is wrong…
Truth is so simple, so common, that its message can't help but be understood. But we don't like the message. Truth tells us to love, but we want to hate. Truth tells us to walk a higher path, but we all prefer to stalk in the tall grasses of the valley.
Truth is not simply a matter of living as a good person. We all make mistakes. Truth is about understanding; it is about opening our eyes and stepping out of the fog. But most of us don't really want that. We would prefer to believe in our own man-made, suit-yourself, made-to-order form of truth. Real truth holds us accountable and real truth says there is only one way to live a worthy life. Real truth is unwavering in its convictions. So, we turn our heads and overt our eyes, silently asking, "What is Truth" and pretending that we don't know the answer.
See Internet Mark A. Zarr
(School of Mahayana Buddhism, 700 AD onward)
Truth is not message but realization: meditation is Truth realized in action
Zen (Buddhism) has nothing to teach in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance. If asked what Zen teaches, one should answer “Zen teaches nothing”. Zen radically dismantles the mind by denying its most basic functions, such as rational conceptualization, logic, and common sense.
In a certain sense it is right to understand Zen as an anti-philosophy if the term “philosophy” is taken to mean the establishment of “the kingdom of reason”. Zen's stance of “anti-philosophy” maintains that reason in its discursive use is incapable of knowing and understanding what reality is, for example, what human beings are and what their relation to nature is.
According Zen, philosophers are too much the slaves to the conventional way of thinking. which is dualistic through and through. In the absolute oneness of things Zen establishes the foundations of its philosophy. This is characteristic of Zen, this is where Zen transcends logic and overrides the tyranny and misrepresentation of ideas. Zen mistrusts the intellect, does not rely upon traditional and dualistic methods of reasoning, and handles problems after its own original manners. Western philosophers stipulate a tension between man and world: the mind must conform to things and things to the mind. Harmony is achieved through mutual adaptation. Zen philosophy, on the other hand, stipulates an essential unity: the tension between man and world is the result of egocentric delusion. If we destroy that delusion, man's activity, his thinking and his doing becomes just an expression of nature itself.
Zen is not an idealistic rejection of sense and matter in order to ascend to a supposedly invisible reality which alone is real. The Zen experience is a direct grasp of the unity of the invisible and the visible, the noumenal and phenomenal, or an experiential realization that any such division is bound to be pure imagination.
That explains why meditation in Zen is an end in itself: meditation is Truth realized in action. As a result, Zen readily dispenses with the Buddhist (or any) scriptures and philosophical discussion in favour of a more intuitive and individual approach to enlightenment. Meditation is a strict discipline: the mind must be made sharp and attentive in order to intuit from itself the Truth of “Buddhahood”.
Zen aims at a kind of certainty: but it is not the logical certainty of philosophical proof, still less the religious certainty that comes with the acceptance of the word of God by the obedience of faith. It is rather the certainty that goes with an authentic metaphysical intuition which is also existential and empirical.
What a Zen master communicates is not a message, it is not a "what", it does not bring "news" which the receiver did not already have, about something the one informed did not yet know. What Zen communicates is an awareness that is potentially already there but is not conscious of itself. Zen is not message but realization, not revelation but consciousness, not truth about but truth within.
* See Suzuki, D.T., Essays in Zen Buddhism, New York: Grove Press, 1949
(Greek founder of Stoicism, 336-246
The Stoic sage finds happiness in the awareness of the truth of the material world
1. All knowledge is a knowledge of sense-objects, and hence truth is simply the correspondence of our impressions to things. How are we to know whether our ideas are correct copies of things? It cannot lie in concepts, since they are of our own making. Nothing is true save sense impressions, and therefore the criterion of truth must lie in sensation itself. It cannot be in thought, but must be in feeling. Real objects, said Zeno, produce in us an intense feeling, or conviction, of their reality. The strength and vividness of the image distinguish these real perceptions from a dream or fancy. Hence the sole criterion of truth is this striking conviction, whereby the real forces itself upon our consciousness, and will not be denied. There is, thus, no universally grounded criterion of truth. It is based, not on reason, but on feeling. 2. Man, in Zeno's view, has the key to true happiness within himself. He must identify with Nature (or Zeus or Providence or the Cosmos, for all were used interchangeably) and strive for self-sufficiency, which meant the rejection of all the external goods and values men traditionally cherish. In place of these, the divine reason given to every person must be cultivated toward the understanding and acceptance of God's universe. Social position is unimportant, and it is possible for the pauper or the king to strive toward the Stoic goal. The true Stoic sage is aware of the laws of Nature and follows them willingly because a beneficent Providence is guiding events. Individual suffering and misfortunes are subsumed under a larger and more important good. The ultimate goal is apathia, a state in which a person is completely indifferent to all but his own divinely given understanding of things. Virtue is defined as knowledge and vice as ignorance. The path to virtue is not easy, however. It demands tough discipline and strict control over natural feelings and reactions such as pleasure, lust, anxiety, and fear. It also demands a great deal of study of both theory and practical science, for only through complete awareness of the truth of the material world can the Stoic sage come to that understanding which gives him happiness.
* Zeno Of Citium. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 4 Dec. 2007
(Greek philosopher, 490-430 B.C.)
Knowledge of sense experience is not conducive to truth, but reason only
Zeno of Elea presented his famous paradoxes - Achilles and the tortoise, the arrow, etc - in order to support the claims of Parmenides: that real existence is indivisible, which means it is immobile, immutable, and permanent; the movement, changes, and multiplicity of the world are illusory perceptions based upon sense experiences; truth is accessible by reason alone.
The school of Elea to which Zeno belongs was the first movement to treat pure reason as the sole criterion of truth. Logical consistency and internal theoretic coherence, rather than any sort of observational evidence, guided their entire search for knowledge.
Zeno is remembered as the master of dispute to demonstrate that, once we accept the assumptions of our common sense, we inevitably have to accept the logical consequences of the absurdity and contradiction in common sense in order to show that Parmenides' Being (to eon) is the genuine reality.
He attempted to show the contradictions and inconsistencies in our common sense knowledge. According to our common sense, the world of experience unveils the reality as it is. By demonstrating our common sense knowledge as paradoxical, Zeno exerted himself in proving that Parmenides' Being is the only genuine Reality.
The most important contribution by Zeno and the Eleatic School to the history of the Western philosophy is the clear establishment of the superiority of Reason (nous) both as the principle of Being and of cognition at the same time. They made knowledge of sense experience not only inferior (to that of Reason) but not even worth the name of knowledge at all, because sense experience provides us mere illusion, not truth.
It is also worth noting that, according to Zeno and the Eleatics, truth is for most parts covered up by illusion, prejudices and pre-conceived ideas. In order to "uncover" truth, we must free ourselves from our common sense and its conviction. Thus it was established that common sense is not conducive to philosophical inquires, but rather something which is to be critically questioned and from which we must liberate ourselves in order to pursue philosophical knowledge and truth.
*See Zeno's Paradoxes Wesley Salmon, ed. (Indianapolis, 1970).
(Chinese Buddhist philosopher of the Tiantai school, 538-597)
The threefold truth: ultimate truth, provisional truth, and the middle way
The basic philosophical doctrine of Zhiyi’s Tiantai is summarized as the “triple truth”. All things are empty, lacking ontological reality, yet at the same time they have a temporary existence. Therefore they are simultaneously unreal and temporarily existing; this is the "Truth of the Middle (Way)," which includes and yet surpasses the two others. The three truths are considered to be mutually inclusive, and each is contained within the others.
This amounts to saying that the ultimate truth cannot be separated from provisional truth and would not be itself without the lesser teachings that precede it. The provisional truth can never be eliminated or left behind, because then the ultimate truth would fail to be the ultimate truth; it is only ultimate by virtue of its mutual inherence with the provisional truth, which is also, therefore, ultimate.
The truth, in other words, is the process of falsehood (partial truth) leading to truth. The world is thus to be experienced as a teaching device, something that is in itself false if taken literally but true in that it is manifested by and in fact inherent in the truth itself, as a means devised skillfully to lead one to the truth, which will turn out to be this principle of truth and half-truth itself, fleshed out.
Zhiyi "opens the provisional to reveal the real," showing that actually all lower or negatively valued parts are identical to the higher or positive part, and have been all along. All falsehoods will turn out always to have been the truth. This is not to say they already are the truth, or that they will become the truth; there is both a necessary forward motion ("will turn out") and a realization, constituted thereby, that this opposite value has been copresent all along.
See Zhiyi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Chinese Taoist Philosopher, 350-275)
The " Way" (Tao) is real but any human description is bound to fail to represent it. "As to what is beyond, the sage admits it exists but he does not theorize about it". No word can possibly do the job of giving us the truth of the Way. Its description would be relative to our conceptual scheme. Therefore Zhuangzi resorts to using metaphors, fables, stories…to give us a mental picture of the Way.
Zhuangzi's view on truth has been branded as relativism and skepticism. But this is not quite the case. No doubt he claims that the truth of a judgement is relative to the speaker's perspective. If he is skeptical of our linguistic ability to express the truth of reality, he is not skeptical of the existence of the reality itself. If he is a 'conceptual' relativist, he is not a 'metaphysical' relativist. Zhuangzi points out that our judgements are made in accordance to our viewpoints, cultures and perspectives. Our judgements are relative to our perspective but Truth is not relative to perspectives. It transcends all human perspectives: Truth is a clear representation of the Way.
Things seen from the human point of view are necessarily internal to our conceptual schemes. The ultimate Truth of the Way is inaccessible to human knowledge and certainty. The Way is certainly the mind-independent Reality that metaphysical realism postulates. But it is impossible for us to know and describe this mind-independent reality. Zhuangzi would agree with the modern view according to which our mind and language so deeply penetrate into what we call 'reality' that the very project of representing what is 'language-independent' (such as the Way) is fatally compromised from the very start.
* See: Jeeloo Liu The Daoist Concept of Truth, SUNNY College of Geneseo ( Internet)
(Spanish philosopher, 1898-1985)
Real (not dual) truth: the impressive actuality of the real in sentient intellection
The classical notion of truth is or involves some agreement between thought and things - Zubiri terms it 'dual truth'. Zubiri does not wish to reject this notion, only to reject it as the fundamental meaning of 'truth'. The major problem with the classical idea for him is that it does not provide a reliable path for us to go beyond our perceptions; there is, so to speak, and unbridgeable gap between the world of sense perception and that of real things. But for Zubiri, this problem is a pseudo-problem because it is based on an incorrect analysis of our fundamental act of perception and on a derivative notion of truth. The correct analysis of perception is that of Zubiri's ‘sentient intellection’, according to which we do directly perceive reality in primordial apprehension; this is real truth and never subject to error; error can only arise when we seek to go beyond primordial apprehension via rational processes. Zubiri notes that the real is "in" the intellection, and this "in" is ratification. In sentient intellection truth is found in that primary form which is the impression of reality. The truth of this impressive actuality of the real in and by itself is precisely real truth. Classical philosophy has gone astray on this matter and always thought that truth is constituted in the reference to a real thing with respect to what is conceived or asserted about that thing. It is because of this that Zubiri believes that the classical idea of truth is always what he terms dual truth. But in real truth we do not leave the real thing at all; the intelligence of this truth is not conceptualized but sentient. And in this intellection nothing is primarily conceived or judged; rather, there is simply the real actualized as real and therefore ratified in its reality. Real truth is ratification, and therefore is simple truth.
The traditional view that truth is some sort of agreement of thought and things must be rejected because this notion of truth as agreement of two things, dual truth, is a derivative notion, which must be grounded upon something more fundamental. For Zubiri, the priority of reality is always paramount, and hence the primary meaning of truth, real truth, is impressive actuality of the real in sentient intellection. It is a quality of actualization, not agreement of two disparate things, which as the ground of truth would pose insuperable verification problems. As such, real truth is imposed on us, not conquered; dual truth, a derivative form of truth, we conquer through our own efforts. Real truth must be sought in primordial apprehension: the real is "in" the intellection, and this "in" is ratification. In sentient intellection truth is found in that primary form which is the impression of reality. The truth of this impressive actuality of the real in and by itself is precisely real truth.
Now, of course, truth and reality are not identical in Zubiri’s philosophy, because there are many realities which are not actualized in sentient intellection, nor do they have any reason to be so. Thus not every reality is true in this sense. Though it does not add any notes, actualization does add truth to the real. Hence truth and reality are different; nor are they mere correlates, because reality is not simply the correlate of truth but its foundation on account of the fact that all actualization is actualization of reality.
* Zubiri Xavier, Sentient Intelligence, L’Harmattan, 1980
(Contemporary Canadian philosopher)
A pluralistic concept of artistic truth
For Zuidervaart the truth content of an art work must be considered not in itself or in a traditional manner, but as coming to revelation by means of an imaginative disclosure in which the truth of the work is revealed. This means that his understanding of the truth content of artworks derives basically from Heidegger’s notion of disclosedness, an understanding of truth that is neither propositional nor derives from a correspondence theory of truth. Considering artistic truth from this perspective implies that truth is revealed in works of art created or brought into existence by human beings. It also implies that truth can take different forms and reveal itself in different ways, similar to the manner in which Dasein reveals or unconceals itself in the clearing that is the surrounding world. The notion of disclosedness implies that truth is relative to the situation in which it reveals itself: it is neither a metaphysical construct nor an eternal truth but is situated and determined historically.
However Heidegger’s notion of disclosedness involves a confrontation between the individual and the truth that is revealed such that the individual must somehow determine authentic unconcealment from the non-authentic. Thus because Dasein’s disclosedness can also be false, the relation between truth and disclosedness becomes problematic. In order to avoid this difficulty, Zuidervaart proposes that we “recognize principles according to which human self-expression, orientation, and discovering can be more or less true”. That is to say that Zuidervaart replaces Heidegger’s notion of disclosedness with the notion of “life-giving disclosure”, a “process in which human beings and other creatures come to flourish”. The principles that are to serve as the bearers of truth are those that people hold in common and that in turn hold people in common, although Zuidervaart is quick to add that the principles he is referring to are not those of an ‘unchanging and universal human nature’. Rather, they are “shared reference points that have emerged historically through clashes between societies and within them”. This implies that, in place of Heidegger’s existential confrontation of the individual with his or her own existence as a thinking being, Zuidervaart substitutes a pluralistic approach founded in his so-called ‘shared principles of society’. The truth of disclosedness can then be measured, as it were, with respect to such principles, and the validity of the truth claim can be determined. The three domains that Zuidervaart invokes as revealing the truth content of a work are authenticity, or the artist’s intentions, significance, or the public’s appreciation of the work, and integrity, or the more or less harmonious content of the work, that is its coherence. Thus it would seem that for the traditionally singular framework of epistemology, Zuidervaart has substituted a plural in the form of social norms and validity principles that we hold in common and that bind us together.
Critics of Zuidervaart have pointed out that establishing criteria for the validity of a truth claim would pose limits on interpretation, limits that artists would undoubtedly seek to surpass if they were to be erected as normative criteria for art interpretation. It would seem that the open-ended character of artworks, the notion that Zuidervaart borrows from Heidegger’s notion of disclosedness, would have to forgo any attempt to impose validity criteria on art interpretation in order to remain open-ended. It would seem, further, that the notions of truth in art and discussions concerning the interpretation of art would have to involve different and changing criteria. One wonders if truth in art and common social principles are not in fact two different discourses. Would art interpreters not simply choose whatever principle they thought best to illustrate the validity of their own aesthetic judgements?
* Lambert Zuidervaart, Artistic Truth: Aesthetics, Discourse and Imaginative Disclosure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
(Swiss reformation leader, 1484-1531)
Against the “truth of the real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist
Whereas Luther sought to prune the bad branches off the tree of Roman Catholic sacramentalism, Zwingli believed the problem to be rooted at least partly in sacramentalism itself. The only way to legitimately resolve Roman excess was to reinterpret the nature of the sacraments. Pruning the tree was not enough; pulling the tree up from its roots was the only action that could actually fix the problems.
Applying his modified understanding of the sacraments to the Eucharist led Zwingli to affirm its primary purpose as the proclamation of salvation and the strengthening of faith in the hearts of believers. Zwingli insisted that the biblical text taught that the Lord’s Supper was a sign, and that to make it something more violated the nature of the sacrament. However, this caution did not keep Zwingli from strongly affirming a “spiritual presence” of Christ in the Eucharist brought by the “contemplation of faith.”
What Zwingli could not accept was a “real presence” that claimed Christ was present in his physical body with no visible bodily boundaries. “I have no use for that notion of a real and true body that does not exist physically, definitely and distinctly in some place, and that sort of nonsense got up by word triflers.”
Zwingli claimed that his doubts about ‘transubstantiation’ were shared by many of his day, leading him to claim that priests did not ever believe such a thing, even though “most all have taught this or at least pretended to believe it.”
The striking feature of the Zwinglian observance of the sacrament was its simplicity. Because the bread and wine were not physically transformed into Christ’s body and blood, there was no need for spurious ceremonies and pompous rituals. The occasion was marked by simplicity and reverence, with an emphasis on its nature as a memorial.
See Stephens, W. P. (1986), The Theology of Huldrych Zwingli, Oxford: Clarendon Press,