“Fundamentalists need truth to be absolute. They are extremely uncomfortable with uncertainty or estimates of truth. They think truth is an object. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” But a person cannot be the truth. Truth is not a thing. Truth is simply a measure of how well a statement matches reality. The only thing that can be true or false is a statement, a proposition. Reality is not truth: reality is reality. If the sky is blue and I say, “The sky is blue,” then there is a strong correspondence between my statement and reality, so my statement would be true. If I say, “The sky is orange with black polka dots,” there is a very low correspondence, so my statement would be false. Of course, the sky is always changing color ( it is sometimes orange), and is dark during the night, so “the sky is blue” is a true statement that has to be qualified. It is not absolute.
In science and history, truth is always a matter of probability, not 100 percent certainty. Scientists talk about needing 95 percent confidence, or 98 percent confidence before claiming something is a fact, and even then it is qualified with a small amount of uncertainty. History is the weakest of the sciences, so weak that some do not consider it a science at all. Historians use words like “very likely,” or “almost certainty,” or “probably not,” or “if the records are to be trusted,” or “nearly universally rejected by scholars.” Did Homer exist as an actual historical person? Maybe yes, maybe no. The Iliad and The Odyssey exist, so it is conceivable there was one person, possibly named Homer, who could not see blue, who wrote them. But some scholars think the poetry as we know it was a later compilation from earlier oral sources, edited, redacted, interpolated, and that even the earlier sources may have been compilations of poems from one or more persons. If by Homer we mean “a person or persons who wrote those earliest poems,” then yes, Homer existed. But if we mean a specific person in history whose name was Homer who wrote the epics as we know them, then we have to back off and say “probably,” or “probably not,” depending on which scholarships we consult. However, if historians were fundamentalists, they would have to say “definitely yes” or “absolutely not,” disallowing uncertainty. Fortunately, most historians are not colorblind.”
–Dan Barker, Life Driven Purpose, pgs 122-123