Truth you can trust
Is truth relative, or is there such a thing as absolute, pure truth, independent of opinions?
In times like these, when the noise of opinion is so overwhelming, so loud, we may find ourselves echoing John Lennon’s lyric “All I want is the truth / just gimme some truth” (“Give Me Some Truth,” Imagine, 1971). Yet one person’s or group’s “truth” can be exactly the opposite of what another claims as truth. How are we to know what is actually true? Is truth relative, or is there such a thing as absolute, pure truth, independent of opinions?
Similar questions were probably common in the time of Copernicus. His radical idea that the earth revolved around the sun was viciously and stubbornly opposed and stirred mass confusion about what was true. Yet there never was a moment when the earth did not revolve around the sun.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was keenly engaged in humanity’s struggle to find absolute truth. Referring to the question the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, put to Jesus, she wrote: “The question, ‘What is Truth,’ convulses the world. Many are ready to meet this inquiry with the assurance which comes of understanding; but more are blinded by their old illusions, and try to ‘give it pause.’ ‘If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’ ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 223).
Divine Truth is the ultimate fact-checker—the standard against which we may know what is true and what is mere opinion.
Truth, one of the synonyms for God taught in Christian Science, is not dependent on opinion, belief, or whim. Opinion is subjective and changeable. Truth is absolute, divine, and perfect. It is indisputable, universal fact because God is infinite, All-in-all. God is also all-good, all-loving, and all-powerful, and God’s creation reflects His nature.
Divine Truth is the ultimate fact-checker—the standard against which we may know what is true and what is mere opinion. By aligning our thoughts with divine Truth as Jesus did, we can uncover bias, manipulation, hypocrisy, and lies. And we can see them as powerless because they have no divine basis or support. The Bible tells us that God is Spirit, and as we yield to and prove the goodness and completeness of God’s nature, we can prove our true nature as God’s children to be wholly spiritual and good and founded securely on divine Truth.
A great example of the power of aligning thought with Truth is the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (see Nehemiah, chapters 1, 2, 4, and 6). This worthy, God-directed project met with intense opposition from the Israelites’ enemies. They ridiculed the Jews, made plans to attack those working on the wall, and spread a rumor that Nehemiah intended to rebel against the king. When that didn’t stop the work, they attempted to distract Nehemiah by urging him to meet with them—an invitation he wisely refused. Finally, they plotted to deceive and lure Nehemiah into hiding, which would likely have eroded the people’s trust in him and kept the nation in chaos and fear—just what his enemies wanted.
In each situation, however, Nehemiah’s spiritual intuition, discernment of Truth, and trust in his God-governed purpose protected him and kept him from being manipulated or intimidated. The wall and gates were finished at last—a testament to Nehemiah’s unwavering faith in and obedience to Truth.
To help us discern between Truth and deception, this Bible verse describes the way divine Truth communicates itself to us: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
Pure, peaceable, and gentle Truth is not perceptible by the physical senses, which are consumed with their own dialogue and material viewpoint. The following passage from Science and Health elucidates, in part, the viewpoint of material sense: “The false evidence of material sense contrasts strikingly with the testimony of Spirit. Material sense lifts its voice with the arrogance of reality and says:
“I am wholly dishonest, and no man knoweth it. I can cheat, lie, commit adultery, rob, murder, and I elude detection by smooth-tongued villainy. Animal in propensity, deceitful in sentiment, fraudulent in purpose, I mean to make my short span of life one gala day. What a nice thing is sin!” (p. 252).
It is important to recognize that the falsity of material sense is impersonal. The issue isn’t people lying vs. people telling the truth, but rather lying material sense saying that God made good-and-evil personalities vs. spiritual Truth declaring each one’s true identity to be the image and likeness of Spirit, divine good.
When I was growing up, I heard conflicting testimony from two people close to me. I knew that one of them had to be lying and the other telling the truth, but as a child, I didn’t know which was which. At one point I became angry and hateful toward one of these individuals, which felt unnatural and uncomfortable—hardly “pure,” “peaceable,” and “gentle”!
As I continued to grow in my understanding of Christian Science, though, I began to notice actions more than words. I discerned honest speech backed up by honest living. The anger and hate then had no foundation. I realized I’d fallen into the trap of material sense and been manipulated into thinking exactly the opposite of what was true about a loving, honest, and strong person. Affirming the fact that God is Love itself reestablished my love for this individual and dissolved the mental fog that had hidden the truth.
Since then, I have realized that this error, though feeling so personal at the time, was actually impersonal. It was a lie, as was the fear and confusion it tried to instill. The lie proved to be powerless against the omnipotent, healing light of divine Truth and Love.
So if we are faced with turmoil, confusion, uncertainty, or deceit, we can humbly listen to divine Truth speaking above the arrogance of opinion and the ignorance of blind belief. And we can trust that we are all governed by absolute, divine Truth and therefore able to discern between right and wrong, because we are all children of God, children of Truth. Science and Health assures us: “Marvels, calamities, and sin will much more abound as truth urges upon mortals its resisted claims; but the awful daring of sin destroys sin, and foreshadows the triumph of truth. God will overturn, until ‘He come whose right it is.’ Longevity is increasing and the power of sin diminishing, for the world feels the alterative effect of truth through every pore” (pp. 223–224).