I really don’t like to be wrong. ( I’m getting more used to it, but I still don’t really like it!) So, if I find out what is true… what is truth… I’m always right! Right?
Well, this is easier said than done.
So, what is truth? It is defined as “the quality or state of being true.” Not helpful! The next definition is “that which is true, or in accordance with fact or reality.” Somewhat better. The third definition is “a fact of belief that is accepted as true.” So anything enough people believe as true is true? That sounds rather shaky and always changing.
When I was a child, my father told me the story of The Blind Men and the Elephant. Maybe you’ve heard it. This story appears in different cultures all the way back to the 13th century.
In this story, six men went to see an elephant to observe what an elephant was like. The first blind man fell against the “broad and sturdy side” and concluded an elephant was like a wall. The second man touched the “very round and smooth and sharp” tusk and exclaimed that an elephant is like a spear. One by one each blind man – seeing only through touch – drew widely differing conclusions. Were they wrong? No, each one was seeing from his own perspective.
Mankind has been on a quest for truth for a very long time. Today many believe that there is no absolute truth… that what is true for one person is not necessarily true for someone else. Everyone determines their own truth. I was surprised to find this is a REALLY OLD line of thought. A man named Protagoras from around 420 B.C. came to the same conclusion, and this idea was furthered by Plato who exclaimed that if a man thought something was true, IT ACTUALLY WAS TRUE. And I had thought this was a relatively new line of thought!
In the Bible, even Pilate muttered “What is truth?” (John 18:38) If truth is decided within each person, or even a group of persons, how does that fit in with the definition “… in accordance with fact or reality”? And even if someone has all the “facts”, is that really truth? Each of the blind men had facts, but they were not seeing the whole picture.
I know this is a bold statement, but I don’t think ANYONE has all the truth. We are just too limited! No matter what facts we know, we still look at everything through the lens of our own understanding, our own culture, and our own beliefs.
So, do we just give up on truth? No, there is a solution.
Jesus said “I AM … the Truth.”
Truth is not a conglomerate of facts – scientific or experiential.
TRUTH IS A PERSON.
He is the only one who sees the big picture – from every angle. He is the only one who understands everyone and everything … things hidden and things revealed. And His point of view? He may not always be pleased with what we do… but He always looks at us – who we are – through eyes of love.
2 thoughts on “What is Truth?”
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