What is truth?
How do we determine truth?
A definition of true is “in accordance with fact or reality,” while the definition of truth can be “a fact or belief that is accepted as true.”
In recent years, there has been an incredible amount of anxiety over what is fact and what is fake; what is true and what is a lie.
In my mind’s eye, I do not always see a belief that is accepted as true as fact or reality. Beliefs can skew the truth, throwing it into the shadows of justification and denial. If someone believes the world is flat, that is not truth. If someone believes the sky is blue on a clear day, that is correct based on science and sight. If beliefs are based on gossip, a Facebook post, or the ill-informed assertions of an acquaintance, they may be meaningless.
On the other hand, there is belief in religious faith, non-religious symbols of Christmas, or the harmony of family, for which acceptance is a personal truth, not a matter of whether it is fact or fraud.
Truth or what is true is based in reality, in scientific fact, and in indisputable proof. And, yet, humans deny what is true in the face of an unwillingness to accept. Individuals place scales over their eyes. They minimize, justify, deny, and bury truth to their own liking. And then they declare they are on the side of what is right and just.
Lies and justifications do not make a wrong right again. They are not a platform for adoration or idolization. Untruths do not sell civility, they sell souls and division; they pit friends against friends, family members against family members, faith against faith, political party against political party, hope against hopelessness, and peace against war.
Truth is what should matter in the here and now. Truth based in fact, in science, in morality and ethics, in common sense, and what is best for all people in this world. Truth doesn’t maim, but it will help us toward peace and unity. Truth, in essence, is parallel to having compassion and love for others. It serves our fellow man in an honest way, not allowing deceit, selfishness or the god of material fortune to get in the way.
In Christianity, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) If Jesus is a symbol of what is truth, than this is what Christians must practice in life. Absolute, simple truth, not that which is adulterated or remodeled.
I return to the question of how truth is determined and that can be a tough one to answer. In this day of social media and TV, it can be difficult to make the determination of what is factual and what is not. Do we believe one televised news report? One article that we came across in our Twitter or Instagram feed? The word of a politician or religious leader? The research of science? The beliefs of our parents? Our neighbors? The years of thoughts and opinions imbedded in our brains or the time spent to gather research from many sources? The answer is in all of us, our fact-finding methods and what we choose to believe as truth in the end.
In my life, I’ve believed information that I later found out to be untrue. It was a matter of laziness on my part, not seeking the right answer, and taking someone else’s word for the truth or making a personal discriminatory judgment. And when I finally lent myself to the truth, I was embarrassed or perhaps a bit ashamed. In the present and for at least the last decade, I’ve worked to not be that person, especially when avoiding truth would mean hurting others or setting aside moral, ethical and spiritual boundaries.
Truth cannot be replaced by human failing or falsehoods. Truth must be an honest representation of what is real, what is fact, what is actual in the universe. We can determine truth by being wise in how we gather our information, who or where we gather it from and using a revered respect to determine its validity.
Search for the truth, regardless of whether you agree with it or not, if it brings joy or cuts deeply.
Hunt and dig for the truth, be the way and the life of a better human existence.
Find the naked truth, walk in it always.