Truth is in accord with fact, with reality, the opposite of falsehood and lies.
Truth is essential in a democracy. When we lose truth, we lose democracy, because truth is what makes us free. As Christ Jesus said: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John8:32). Anyone claiming to follow Christ ought to be earnestly seeking truth and eschewing untruths.
Actually, all religious persons, philosophers, and thinkers desire truth. Jews believe truth is “the seal of the Holy One.” For Muslims, the Qur’an calls truth one of God’s names. Truth is also a name for God in Christian Science and to the degree one understands truth, it can lead to healing. “Truth begins and ends with humility” writes a Quaker theologian. Catholic Catechism states, “Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.” Buddhism instructions come via “the four noble truths.” The core philosophy of Hinduism is the search for truth: “Satya (truth) is considered essential, and without it, the universe and reality falls apart, cannot function.”
I’d like to focus on this last idea: that without truth the universe and reality–which includes us–falls apart and cannot function. If we wonder why current times seem so non-functional, so rampant with wars, mass murders, terrorism, turbulent climate, hatred, hypocrisy, inequality, racism, injustices, falsehoods, fantastical conspiracies, and often cruel evil, we might do well to check what’s happened to truth lately. When misinformation claims to be truth we are in trouble. Our integrity erodes. Courage becomes rare. Speaking truth to untruths seems risky, even frightening. Enveloped in social media, real truth can disappear, convincingly replaced by perversions. Real truth needs to be maintained, cared for, nurtured. We need to know it, stand for it, speak it, live by it, teach it, demand it, praise it, protect it wherever we find it. We need to love Truth, like a precious child, and never let it go.
Artwork: Mother and Child, framed pastel, 29″x35,” NFS. I painted my daughter and her baby (that child now a high school freshman) in soft pastel–a perfect medium for portraiture as Mary Cassatt well knew.