We live in a world of lies, hype and spin in which it is very difficult for anyone, Christians included, to know the truth, to separate truth from propaganda. Lying has become a sophisticated game that is used to manipulate hundreds of millions of citizens to support certain causes or to vote for a certain party or candidate. Lying has become common in politics, law and business. Western culture is quite literally being destroyed from within; media spin, lies and propaganda are the methods of destruction.
Pilate’s question to Jesus resonates today: “What is truth?” Many people deny that there is any such thing as objective truth. Surveys show that over 70% of young adults do not believe absolute truth exists.
Here is our working definition of truth:
Truth is what is real, statements that correspond with facts, that are reliable and accurate. Truth is objective or universal. Truth is the same for all people in all places all the time.
Everyone, except the mentally insane, relies on truth every day of their lives. Parents and teachers demand that children and students tell the truth and usually provide some consequence for lying. Every classroom in every school relies on truth – most tests and exams attempt to determine if students properly understand concepts… from 2 + 2 = 4 to the laws of physics, chemistry, microbiology and so on. Every scientist relies on objective truths, laws, and proven principles, including very exacting mathematical representations, that correspond to the real world. It is objective truths of science that enable all of the technology wonders of the modern world, from the iPhone to the Rover on Mars.
The touchstone for truth is this: Does the statement correspond with or accurately reflect all of the relevant facts, as best we can determine them?
On the flip side, some good questions to use to spot lies and propaganda are these: Is the statement partially true but leaves out some important information? Does it accurately reflect reality (the facts as you know them)? Is it an emotional claim without the support of reason? Is it coupled with an ad-hominem (personal) attack on anyone that doesn’t believe it?