How important is the truth to you? I expect it’s important to most of us, so let’s dig into what truth is. And, since its December, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s first look at what He says about truth. When being interrogated by Pontius Pilate prior to His crucifixion, Jesus directly references this question of truth. In the Bible, John 18:37 (NKJV), Pilate asked, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” In fact, Jesus referenced truth over 75 times in the Bible; it’s clearly an important issue to Him. So, for those of us who call ourselves Christians, truth should be as important to us as it is to Him. Jesus’ truth is not relative, it remains the same – then, now and forever – it’s reliable.
From a secular perspective, Webster Dictionary’s 1828 edition defined truth as, “conformity to fact or reality”, and I think that hits the bullseye. Today, in a sad twist of irony, Webster has rewritten the definition to: “Truth, n. 1. That which is actually so. 2. Accuracy.” As our culture progresses (or digresses), for many, finding the truth becomes increasing challenging. This secular “truth” has become relative and culture has deemed truth to mean whatever you want it to mean.
The availability of information and advent of social media have both contributed to this muddled truth. It’s incredibly easy for us to consume information online that already aligns with our relative perspective of truth. This puts us in a “bubble” of sorts wherein we’re constantly shown information that feeds into what we’ve already established as truth. These bubbles are seriously hampering our ability to see viewpoints that differ from our own. And so, extremism, on both ends of the spectrum, becomes more common. Enter the “powers that be” who demand the censorship of media – both social and mainstream, left and right.
When I was a kid “Fake News” was found in grocery store tabloids. Readers could discover the “Bat Boy of Illinois” and where Elvis was hiding in his afterlife all within the same pages. They were obviously ridiculous and only your crazy aunt even read them for anything more than silly entertainment. They were popular because you could read the headlines and chuckle. Now, those crazy headlines are widely shared in print, on TV and online and given credence by your own social circle and peers. So, you start searching online for information. There you’ll find “evidence” to support any outlandish story under the sun. And truth becomes even more subjective. Now we must become expert researchers in order to wade through the ridiculous and find something based in fact. Even then, there are contradictions and competing arguments on both sides. We have made lies for truth an art form. Sadly, most don’t delve deep into these serious issues and accept whatever they’re fed as the truth. Two recent examples shine a light on these issues quite clearly.
Take “Russia-gate,” wherein it was widely reported that Trump colluded with Russia to get elected in 2016. This conspiracy theory was disproved in early 2017 and, yet, remained a talking point throughout President Trump’s time in office. Further, the same report suggested Hillary Clinton should be investigated for collusion. Even so, anytime someone hears election and Russia in the same sentence, they think of Trump. The fact that he didn’t collude with Russia simply wasn’t as juicy as the rumor that he did.
The second example is found in the “Wuhan Lab Leak” theory that was disparaged by media in 2020. Articles referencing the theory were censored as false information or misleading by social media. Traditional media decried anyone reporting on the theory as racist. This year, a report on the origins of COVID-19 indicated that, not only was a lab leak from Wuhan the possible origin, it was also the most likely. And yet, rather than owning up to the spread of false information, mainstream and social media simply continued with their newest target of truth. This brings me back to the original question: What is truth, and is it relative?
Real truth is not relative, it doesn’t conform to opinions or feelings. It’s always reliable and never changes. Cultural truth, which can change with trends, from person to person and is based on feelings, is not reliable. It’s a rickety bridge that leads to nowhere. It’s a lie.
Genuine truth can be found only in Jesus and through God’s word, the Bible. If you want peace and a solid foundation, you find it with God alone. You may disagree with this claim, and that’s fine. All I ask is for you to investigate it yourself. Seek Him and He will reveal Himself to you; this is His promise. Anyone that disagrees, I invite you to prove Him wrong.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”