What is Truth?

The question Pilate asked Jesus (John 18:38) before sentencing him to a brutal execution is as valid today as it was then. Not only is this a great question to ponder, but we might do well to review some of the “top 40” of Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew, Chapter 5 and 6, Jesus teaches us.

    • Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one
    • if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other
    • if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well
    • if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile
    • Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you
    • Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
    • Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them
    • store up for yourselves treasures in heaven
    • You cannot serve God and wealth
    • do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink

These are the part of the operating playbook of living a Christian life. Of course, we are also commanded to follow the moral teachings of the Hebrew Bible, especially the Ten Commandments. Two of these are vital to our question today:

9          You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

10       You shall not covet …

When we “bear false witness” against someone else, we are lying or not telling the truth. The motivation for lying generally has to do with commandment number 10, our insatiable desire to take things that do not belong to us.

What happens when institutions and their leaders do not tell the truth?

The church (Catholic and Protestant) has been involved in the “misinformation” business (not telling the truth) for centuries. My favorite is “Pope Joan” who is not my wife, but a 9th century fiction that persisted for 900 years. Look it up. It is very funny now. But there are more serious fictions that lead to church doctrine such as claiming the bible is without error. False doctrines that cannot be supported by the Bible cause harm to people today, just as they did during the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Protestant Reformation.

How many people will continue to be seriously harmed or even killed by the false doctrines of people presented as the “truth” of the bible? And when will church leaders condemn such falsehoods as causing harm as bad or worse than racism or sexism?

Our nation is rotting from the inside out from a blizzard of lies all designed to maintain power and control. Yes, lies have been told from both sides of the aisle for two centuries. Yes, tech companies on the Internet have figured out how to monetize misinformation (lies) and made a fortune. But a lie on one side does not justify a lie on the other. The lies of late have reached a point never seen before – murder in the capital and an attempted coup d’etat.  It grieves me deeply.

Before you forward to all your friends that clever thing you see on your computer, just remember, real Christians DON’T FORWARD. Instead of telling people your political and social views, try to sit down and listen to others without judging them. Ask clarifying questions. Do not try to convince or argue with them. St. Francis advises that it is better to seek to understand others than to be understood by them. Real Christians LISTEN.

Finally, we might create a better world, if people simply respond “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the evil one.

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