You can’t get an Ought from an Is

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in Visual Theology | No Comments

One of the things highlighted in the  “What is Truth?” video is a simple, but old, conundrum. Individual pieces of information are just that, individual pieces of information.

Like so.

We can describe what they look like, how they taste, how much they weigh, maybe even what they’re made of. But anything more than  that requires a bit of interpretation. Questions pop up like “where did they come from?”  and “What is their purpose?” “Why are they so beautiful to me?”.  These are perfectly valid questions, however they tread upon ground where Science finds its limit.  At this point, people start to fill in the gaps about what these individual data points mean, and soon they connect the dots, creating an all encompassing worldview.

So this relationship between wasps, and the eyeball and Mars, all come together to make up some universal truth about morality, or logic or some other thing. A lot of people figure that this is all there is. That the material world is all there is for us to encounter and so truth, meaning, morals and beauty have to be derived from these things. People go from an eyeball, to “You shouldn’t steal candy from a baby.”

So basically this is what that worldview looks like:


For many people, only that which can be observed, measured and weighed, is actually “real”. That’s the big reason why a lot of people don’t believe in God.

But there’s a problem.

The very truth that these people hold, cannot itself be weighed measured or observed. It fails its own test.

So what does all this mean? It means that ultimate, transcendent truth, what “Ought” to be, must be non-material. If the existence of the non-material is acknowledged, maybe the idea of God is not so silly after all.

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