This one little word can stir up so much trouble and so much joy. I hardly know what to do with it, let alone define it. But should it be difficult to define truth? The readings for class today say that truth is not hard to define.
Aletheia (noun): "truth, dependability, freedom from error, integrity."
"It is not always directly verifiable, but truth is always that matching up of an idea to reality."
"[Truth] is unyielding in the face of beliefs."
"Truth is a part of what God has put in creation to help us deal with reality... if our beliefs are true we are enabled to deal with reality effectively."
"Truth is also the only basis of tolerance." (Dr. Dallas Willard, Truth: Can We Do Without It?)
(It took me at least 2 times to read these quotes and grasp their meaning well enough to talk about them. As far as this topic is concerned, I am walking in the shadows of giants.) If truth truly is as easy to define as this, why is it that our society is perpetually seeking to "understand" or "discover" it?
Ultimately, I think it is because of the very nature of truth. Truth is unflinching. It is light without the trace of a shadow and it is spoken without a single ounce of trepidation. And this is what terrifies us as human beings- try as you might, you cannot twist truth to do your bidding. You may manipulate it, make tons of truth claims (that you know are actually fiction claims), and scream at the top of your lungs that you know the "real" truth, but deep down we all know that the truth doesn't need us to shape it; instead, the truth shapes you.
That's a terrifying thing to imagine. Truth is unchanging and unflinching and no matter how I try to tame it or selectively trim it as I see fit, there is nothing that can be done to stop its life changing power. Nothing. Christians should know this all too well- Jesus Christ was born, he lived and died for us and didn't stop there. He tore down all the bars that we had placed between us and God (or Truth) and defied death itself. Yet we as Christians still try to impede truth's progress in our lives, ultimately because I believe it's painful.
Today people are in desperate need of the truth. What it is, where to find it, how to recognize it, how to use it, how to understand it...these questions shake people to their very core. If the truth is known to you, don't keep it tucked away only to be used for special occasions. Let truth dictate your actions and thoughts and maybe the truth will not be as difficult to find as it may seem. Who knows, maybe someone will even ask to talk to you about the very nature of truth?