Before we can determine the nature of truth, we must be convinced that such a thing actually exits. Some might take it so far as to question our own existence, but I think I will concur with Rene Descartes and conclude that since we are able to think about these questions then we must exist. Certainly, even the most esoteric of you could agree that if we do not exist then truth (and everything else, for that matter) is not really very important. So I will accept my own existence as fact and move on toward the question of truth, itself.
Many people believe that what is true for one may not be true for someone else. If this is the case then these “truths” are not absolute. The question the truth seeker must ask is whether these truths are derived or descended in some way from absolute truth or if truth is always relative. A third possibility is that any truth can be described in “if-then” form; that is that if given certain circumstances and conditions, then a certain truth becomes, in fact, true. Truth, then, is not necessarily relative, but it may be conditional. Another consideration that must be included in our quest is that belief does not constitute truth. Something does not become true simply because many people believe it or because it has been believed for a long period of time.
It would be ideal to start with a most basic and foundational morsel of absolute truth and follow it from conclusion to conclusion in direct fashion to determine what is true and what is not. Unfortunately this assumes two things. First that there exist such an absolute truth and second, that all other truth is derived directly from it.
Truth be told, Kierkegaard said the very same thing: “Life may only be understood backwards, unfortunately, it must be lived forwards.”