Truth (from 1994)

In the political mire of our day, the word “truth” is slung around like a worn-out baseball. Every politician, religious leader, self-improvement author and educator seems to know what will solve all our problems. Truth is thrown at us from every direction. Why then does mankind face the same problems today that it has faced since the beginning of time?

The problem is in the over-simplification of truth. Truth is not simple. Truth does not come with a hamburger and French-fries. Real truth is a solid reality that smashes all barriers. It transcends time and cultures. It never changes. The kind of truth that is tossed around in our society is not real truth. We now have two types of truth: real truth and play-dough truth.

Play-dough truth is the kind that makes us ooh and ahhh. This kind of truth enables us to make microwaves, automatic toasters, and toothpaste that sparkles, shines, and even tastes like bubble gum. This is great, but compared to the big picture, does this stuff really make a difference in our lives? It does make a difference in the way we do things, but does it really change why we do it? The Romans had bread and circuses. We have food-stamps and welfare. The Babylonians had spears and swords. We have guns, airplanes, and nuclear bombs. There is a place for this play-dough truth. It improves our quality of life. It awes us and gives us the ability to dream and impact our world. Scientists have been discovering this type of truth for centuries. It can tell us “what” quite well.

But it can not tell us why. It can not change human nature. Anything that we create can never surpass what already is. If one forms a doll out of clay that is pretty and nice. Yet it is nothing compared to the fact of the clay existing in the first place. Who can answer the question that explains why the clay is existing?

This calls for a greater truth. This truth is the unchanging, timeless force behind the existence of everything. It defies logic and baffles scientists. It just is. Great truth is found at the root of every field of study. Take mathematics for example. We can write proofs and theorems but we reach a point where we can no longer explain why things are. We have to guess. This truth is simple and powerful. It can not be explained, but it can explain.

For answers we have to dig down our very nature. Where it all happens. Where we find the motivations of our actions. A change in society can happen only by a change in heart.

For that to happen we must be careful to distinguish between both types of truth. We must realize the importance of great truth. We must face who we really are. That is the hard part.

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