Truth

A definition

A word or a statement that has a solid base in what is real and can be confirmed by numerous others over a long period of time is a GOOD gift, because it is a word of truth. It can help a person to make GOOD decisions regarding a proposed course of personal action, a purchase, a medical treatment, belief in a religious doctrine or commitment to a religious ritual, a case in a judicial court, or other such matters, including even decisions regarding friends or a political course of action.

What’s wrong with “relative” truth?

The popular belief that all truth is “relative”, that there are no absolute statements that can be considered as universal words of truth is not good. In the first place, such a statement can’t be true by its own logic. If all truth is “relative”, then any and every such “relative” statement is nothing more than the momentary opinion of one or more individuals. Such statements, although they might claim to be true, would not be good or useful in making any decisions. And they certainly wouldn't be useful in a court of law. If a lawyer, judge, or jury were to operate on the basis that all truth is “relative”, then the testimony of any witness must be recognized by them as only a momentary opinion that can’t really be substantiated. Perjury, as a crime, would be unenforceable, because there could be no acceptable standard for the truth of anyone’s testimony.

For example, is it absolutely truth that all finger prints and DNA patterns are absolutely unique to each individual? This statement is generally accepted as being true in courts even though all the individuals in the world, or in a country, or in a city, or in a neighborhood have not been tested and had these patterns compared in any criminal case.

Perhaps a better example of the importance and complexity of this issue as to the nature of truth is to be seen in the statements that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq and that he was prepared to use them against any of his enemies. Such statements were made repeatedly in congress, in the United Nations by President Bush and other officials, and reported daily in the press as they considered possible courses of action against him and his “evil” regime in 2002 and the early months of 2003. Were these statements “absolutely” true, “relatively” true, “momentarily” true, “untrue”, or “lies” to justify a war? Opinions regarding these statements ran the range, yet the decision for war was made and approved.

It seems logical to recognize that statements that are commonly accepted as statements of “fact” are nothing more than the accumulated testimony of numerous observers over a considerable amount of time regarding the consistency and endurance of the details of what they observe and report in their statements, for example as in regard to finger prints and DNA patterns. Standards for “facts” have thus been established in scientific labs, in medical research facilities, in newsrooms, in courts of law, in some classrooms, and in some homes. But whether or not these standards are GOOD depends upon the extent of their basis in a solid foundation of truth and reality. The importance of this became evident in subsequent investigations regarding the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction; there wasn’t any convincing evidence that they existed in 2003. There is a lot of study, discussion, research, writing, lawsuits, and general concerns regarding this matter of standards for truth taking place in our society and world, so it is well to evaluate how firmly our statements are based in reality and the extent to which they are confirmable by many others.

The benefits of sharing truth

I encourage everyone to speak the truth in love, to avoid gossip, to carefully test their observations with others over a span of years. Sharing this gift of truth, when it is done in love and humility, will build and strengthen one’s reputation as a GOOD person, a GOOD worker, a GOOD witness, or a GOOD friend. Words of truth can be beneficial around the world as they are translated from language to language. Their value can span the centuries and be quoted from generation to generation. Lessons learned from words of truth can prevent a lot of suffering in our world, and they can repair a lot of damaged lives and relationships.

Truth is a very good gift that needs to be shared and highly valued in our world. It has a big influence in one’s religious decisions and choices. Its use or non-use has personal implications for one’s eternity. May you each receive its blessings in your life.