What is truth? How do we find it? and What is our reaction to it?
I found myself just a few months ago entangled in conversation with a man who, while being bat crap crazy, asked me a question that left me pondering the answer.* We were embroiled in a debate over what the reality of God was and whether any religion was truly the right religion. But, over the course of this argument we wandered onto what is truth. It was then that this crazy old man asked my this:
“What is the difference between truth and fact?”
After this obviously unsuccessful attempt at witnessing to a man at McDonald’s I just went about the rest of my day; however, I found the man’s question sticking with me. What was the difference between truth and fact? A point he made, and I was hard pressed to disagree is that fact is unquestionable! You can’t get rid of facts no matter how hard you may try. You can deny them. You can hide them. You can even obscure them, but they never truly go away.
So if fact is so absolute then what is truth? Being raised as the good christian that I strive to be, I was always taught that truth is absolute. Could both of these things be correct? It took a lot of prayer and many hours of study to arrive at my answer, but finally I found it.
Truth is the most accurate interpretation of all of the facts!
As I said before facts are absolute but they can be obscured and even misused to produce a false truth, but that is not TRUTH. Truth is when all of the facts are put in the correct order brought into the light and exposed for all to see.
The realization of this caused me to question then an even older philosophic question I was given. It was this:
“If you could spend the whole day in a room with another person and you had to speak the truth would you want to?”
This question was posed to a group of about twenty-two senior high school students, and with the exception myself and one other all of them answered with a firm and unshakable no. Even at the time I was stunned how could this group of seventeen to eighteen year old Christian students not want to be open and honest with each other. Wasn’t one of the tenets of our religion to be truthful?
They of course gave the answers that you would expect of a question such as that. What if the other person told? What if a deep dark secret came out? What if I was basically a devil and them an angel? Who would come out on top? These questions and more plagued there minds. They were scared about which truths might be found out. What then was changed about this question then you might ask?
What changed was this: If truth is the most accurate interpretation of all of the facts, then what you were telling in that room was not truth but fact! Now that may get lost on some but the distinction is very important. These people were afraid, not of what truths this person might find out but what facts. That fear, however, ran deeper.
There fear was that with enough facts this person might learn the TRUTH!
All that is left to ask then is why is this such a frightening thing? Why does someone knowing the truth about us frighten us so much? There is I believe a very simple but haunting answer. When the truth about us is known it forces not only the one who finds out and the one whom the truth is about to face that truth. When someone has all the facts and knows us so completely, they can force us to confront who we really are!
“Is this then the reason we are all so afraid of allowing God into our lives?!”
*As all good questions should!