The Power of Truth

by Penni L Smith on June 29, 2013

Few things are more powerful than truth. Yet those who seem most passionate about Truth often treat it as a weakling that must be protected and pushed. Their very actions serve to cripple Truth, making it harder for Truth to prevail.

Is There Truth?

Some people believe there is no absolute Truth, that everything is relative, subjective. They say things like, “Well, that may be true for you, but it’s not for me.” Indeed, there are personal conditions for which that statement is actually right, but they err in thinking there are no universal truths. They are confusing absolute Truth with our finite beliefs and opinions.Truth by Webster

What is Truth?

Truth is reality, fact. The challenge is that we have limited knowledge about many things, and often cannot know Truth fully. So we believe something is true; we have an opinion about a subject. That in no way diminishes actual Truth.

Truth applies to everything, but some things are more easy to verify. Sometimes when we think of truth, we think of things that can be proven by science or observation. The truth of gravity can be tested by anyone. The truth that the earth is round can be denied, but only by those who disregard overwhelming evidence.

The truth of something observed is harder to know. Consider disparate witness accounts of a crime, for example. Even if we were there, our recollections can be unreliable. Nonetheless, there is truth about what happened, though we cannot fully know it.

And that’s the key. There are many things we cannot know, but they are still true. Consider the many beliefs people have about whether there is a god, or gods, or no god at all, and what that god (or gods) is like. There is an absolute truth there, but we will not know it until after death (unless the atheists are right, in which case we’ll never know). That we cannot prove it now makes it no less true.

So we have beliefs and opinions, and we put faith in our understanding of their truth. This applies to spiritual issues, political issues, medical issues, policy issues–almost everything. We put our faith in truth we cannot fully know. That leaves us with a dilemma. We can either admit our limits, or hide them behind a facade of bravado. This is where truth is harmed and weakened.

Truth Needs No Defense

Absolute truth needs no defense. It will eventually be known. Truth is therefore incredibly strong, and will overcome doubt, distortions, and denial.

Yet people treat truth as weak, unable to endure contrary ideas. Thus individuals and governments ban books or other media so people won’t have to consider alternatives. Some governments prohibit proselytizing lest people learn other thoughts about God. Folks refuse to listen to those with opposing viewpoints.

Clearly, they don’t realize that when they do this, they are showing that the truth they want to defend isn’t strong enough to survive on its own. If people hear something else, they might go that way instead. Treating truth as weak weakens it.

No, truth is strong. Even if a society abandons a particular truth, there will always be those who keep believing it. Truth does not die. Champion it, but don’t defend it.

Truth Needs No Force

Of course, people should share–even promote–their ideas of truth. If their opinions really are true, they should be able to persuade others by presenting evidence and credible arguments.

What they shouldn’t have to do is push, force, legislate, or otherwise require others to agree with them. Truth does not need to force its way in. If something really is true, people who are genuinely open-minded will come around through compelling evidence and arguments. This is true whether we are talking about God or gun control, aliens or abortion, health care delivery or what makes a healthy diet.

That doesn’t mean that everyone will reach a universal conclusion, because, as we established, much truth cannot be fully known. Even if we agree on a problem, we may not agree on a solution, and the effectiveness of any solution can depend on so many factors. But in time, truth will be revealed.

Truth Will Prevail

It’s a logical impossibility to have an opinion you think is false. You believe you are right, that you have the truth, whether you are talking about what the best type of music is–an individual preference without an absolute truth–what we should do about a societal problem, or what God is like. But accept that while you believe what you do, and that there may be loads of evidence that you are right, you probably cannot be 100% sure. Accept that you do not know truth fully.

But trust your view of truth. Know the limits of your view, but recognize that if you do have the truth, it doesn’t need you to defend it. No amount of attack can kill it.

Promote the truth and persuade others, but do not force your view on them. Truth is insidious, and it can find its way in without people having to fight for it.

Finally, if you desire truth, pursue it. Be open minded and listen to–really consider–other ideas. If you already have truth in that particular area, you will be even more convinced, and if you don’t, you will be acquiring it.

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