What is Truth? – Pilate (John 3:38)

Truth. It use to be easy to define. It was based on facts. In our society and culture today, truth has become relative. In philosophy, relativism is any theory holding that criteria of judgement are relative, varying with individuals and their environments.

truth – true or actual state of a matter, conformity with fact or reality, a verified or indisputable fact, proposition or principle.

Truth for myself is based on my beliefs, principles and integrity. Our culture today says that your truth may be based on a different perception of the same facts. In other words, if you don’t believe the same thing I do, your definition of what is true can be different in any given situation or reality.

I reject your reality and substitute my own. – Adam Savage

Once one deviates from the actual facts they in essence create a lie. The problem with a lie is that the facts from the truth are easy to remember but the story one creates is not. This is what I like to call the “slippery slope”. Once you take that first step and slip on an ice cover sidewalk going downhill, steep muddy trail or a hillside with a loose gravel, gravity takes over and you only stop when you get to the bottom or crash into an obstacle. And so it is with the path of a lie.

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. – Abraham Lincoln

So what is truth? We know truth is based on facts that happen in our lives everyday. But to have truth one also must have a standard to know what is accepted as right and what is considered wrong. In the United States of America (US) we have the Bill of Rights as a basis for what is truth. In addition we have a googolplex of laws to define what you cannot do. The problem with making a law is that it is up to those defining the law, in our case our elected officials, to decide what is right and what is wrong. There are plenty of examples of laws in the history of the US that shows those elected to make the rules had a defective moral compass. Unfortunately history has a way of repeating itself.

right – in accordance with what is good, proper, or just. in conformity with fact, reason or some standard or principle; correct.

Major religions all have a moral standard as their basis to what is right and what is wrong. Judaism has the Pentateuch, or Torah, as their basis for what is right and wrong. Christianity uses both the Hebrew texts as well as the books that make up the teachings of Jesus Christ to form what is known as the Bible. The Bible defines what is truth for Christians. In Buddhism the path to truth, or way of living, is based on eight principles: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. – Buddha

I was raised to always tell the truth. I was also taught that integrity defined one’s character. One simple lie could destroy in an instant the trust that I had earned from those around me. Because of who I am, the way I was raised and my belief in the Bible, truth is defined as a narrow path that I must walk each day.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. – Matthew 7:13-14