01 July, 2009

Truth Changes

Since we’re all of the same (human) species :-), we all get stuck in our thinking from time-to-time concerning what the truth of a matter is.  When I was younger, I used to hear my mom say, “sin changes.”  I asked her about that one day.  She explained that when she was young, it was thought to be a sin to go to a movie theater, to play any games with cards, to wear makeup, and so forth and so on.  But as Christians progressed in their knowledge and understanding of scriptures, and as civilization progressed, certain beliefs that were once held as true, were no longer believed.  The fact is: truth changes!

Years prior to the time of Columbus, the “truth” was that the world was flat.  It was also the “truth” in Galileo’s time that the Sun revolved around the Earth (geocentrism).  In fact, the geocentric view was so true, that the Church had Galileo imprisoned because of his teaching that it was the Earth that revolved around the Sun (heliocentrism).  The Catholic Church declared the heliocentric view to be "false and contrary to Scripture."

Any of the scientific areas of study - - Physics, Mathematics, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, Biology, Medicine, Chemistry, etc. - - have had major shifts in what they believed to be the truth from the time of their inception until now.  As we grow in knowledge, each new generation starts at a greater level of understanding than we did.  Therefore, this great wealth of knowledge continues to feed the study and research conducted in each of these fields, allowing new discoveries all of the time.

Why then, knowing this, do we get so “stuck” in our beliefs of what is the truth?  Might it be a more powerful place to stand if we could consider what we know to be true as simply a perception or viewpoint?  If we approached everything as if what we know is simply our viewpoint of that thing, we might open ourselves up to actually listening to others whose views differ from ours. 

If our views are true, they’ll stand up to the challenge of interrogation.  Truth needs no vindication.  And, truth has no need for anyone to believe in it in order for it to be true.  It just is - - by its own merits - - with or without agreement.

You could have an argument with a friend.  You might say, “Did you know that light travels faster than sound?”  Your friend says, “No it doesn’t!  Everybody knows that sound travels much faster than light.”  You could argue back and forth for 30 minutes and then ask others to weigh in on the argument with their beliefs.  For all of the good that would do, you might as well be pounding sand!  During the course of your argument, did the truth ever, even once, change?  Was the truth dependant upon a majority of people agreeing with it?  Of course not!  The truth remained that light travels faster than sound and it required no agreement or understanding from anyone in order for it to be so.

I assert that, what we see today as the truth, is fallible.  We would be better served by looking at what we believe to be true, as simply a position or a vantage point.  This would broaden our abilities to consider other possibilities and alternatives.  Regardless of whether we are flexible and open-minded, or whether we are guarded and unapproachable by others’ views, the truth will stand.  The truth will remain.  And, the truth will endure.  Will you?

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