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  • Added November 4th, 2016
  • Filed under 'All Sorts'
  • Viewed 1094 times

What is truth?

By Trish Patrick in All Sorts

Just as everyone's experience differs, so does ones perception of truth; truth is elusive sometimes. However, one truth is immutable... the truth of goodness / godness.

"What is truth ? The world asks in apathetic disillusionment, none any closer to life's intent or meaning. Learning truth comes from experience, everyone's experience differs, so too does the truth. Humans, basically intolerant and untrusting reject others ideas and their own truth simultaneously, yet still they amble along life's hike in hope of something better, or become fatty content with materialistic gain blindly encouraged by society."
Duncan Patrick....( 1989 )
Looking through some journals the other day, I came across these words penned by our son. They were among a collection of his musings written when he was in a rather challenging (for both him and us!!) period of his life...namely the angst-ridden teenage years. I had forgotten he had written these verses, and as I read them, was intrigued by his perception and cynicism of life. When asking his permission to use this verse, he was quite bemused by my interest, thinking they were of no particular interest to anyone.
In fact, all the poems are insightful and thought-provoking.
The phrase that peaked my interest was 'everyone's experience differs, so too does the truth.' This, because of a conversation I had with a member of our extended family who was reeling from a bombshell dropped by one of their adult kids saying how unloved he had felt since age three. Now, this particular 'unloved' kid happened to be raised by
parents who deeply loved all their children, providing them with a super home and upbringing. However, for this child, HIS perceived experience therefore 'HIS truth', namely the injustices inflicted on him over the years, bore little resemblance to the facts. Indeed the facts had become in his mind, irrelevant. A devastating thing for parents and offspring to work through.
It's so difficult for anyone, especially parents, to allow the aggrieved person their perceived truth when the facts often speak a very different truth.
Over the years in my work, I've been intrigued when listening to siblings raised by the same parents, in same environment, tell their stories. One could be forgiven for thinking each sibling was raised in a totally different environment with totally different parents in totally different families.
Just as everyone's experience differs, so does ones perception of truth and all have to be taken seriously though 'lightly held'. Hopefully, with maturity comes insight, and the 'unloved' one can move from a place of grievance to a place of understanding and acceptance, learning that feelings are not always a reliable conveyor of truth.
On a more global level, perception rather than truth, has the potential to influence people's political judgement. I was listening to a debate on the US elections and it seems both nominees are pawns of perception rather than fact. The perception that Hilary Clinton is untrustworthy has dogged her throughout the election campaign. Her technological judgement might be flawed, but in fact, she has been a trustworthy Secretary of State, and trustworthy in her other roles as well. Donald Trump is perceived by his supporters as someone who will champion the interests of the lower paid and be a voice against corporate interests, hence they perceive him to be trustworthy. The fact is, he has demonstrated beyond doubt his untrustworthiness in business, relationships, and tax dodges to name a few.
Hopefully common sense will prevail and the transfer of power goes
Truth is elusive sometimes, and what we consider to be true one day, may not be true another day. Science, physics, astrophysics, genetics etc are constantly expanding or changing the truth about our world.
Historical truths have to be put right, because scholarship reveals irrefutable facts long buried in the mists of time. Fresh expressions of how we understand God at work in the world (or not) can take us new places, perhaps where angels (like Greta Vosper) fearlessly tread.
However, one truth is immutable... the truth of goodness / godness. It's no accident that the motto of our church is ' Finding good in everyone...finding God in everyone'. Goodness is of God...the ground of all our being...the creative energy that proclaimed the goodness of all created things ( Genesis 1: 31).
An unchangeable and timeless truth. The author of Galatians in chapter 5: verse 22, describes goodness as one of the 'fruits of the spirit'. Often as we listen to the ghastly events happening around the world and closer to home, Goodness seems to have been bombed, starved, and driven out of existence. Our perception could be that the world is 'going to hell in a hand basket'. However, I believe the creator of goodness will indeed have the last word...I have no idea how, but, the created and creating truth of God will be;

'held and known in its goodness forever'.

Trish Patrick