Tell The Truth

A friend said the other day, that truth was becoming the most important thing in his life. (A quick note to my friend; sorry, but everything is ammo for the writers gun.) Anyway, it got me thinking. What is truth? You might think it’s obvious, but it’s not. Here’s a quote from an unremembered source: “We all see the world through our own eyes.” Think about that. Have you ever read “eyewitness accounts” from an event that has taken place? A car accident, perhaps? Several people can see the same accident and yet give differing accounts about what happened. Depending on where the observer was, what was on their mind at the time, what they were doing at the time, how much of the accident they were able to see, etc. And yet each person believes they gave a true account of what happened. When you go to court and you’re sworn in. “Do you swear to tell the truth…” what does that mean? You swear to tell your truth. But your truth can be vastly different from someone else’s truth. Does that make everyone else’s truth wrong, because you see yours as right?

Are there things that are true, that everyone can agree on? Like, “The Earth revolves around the Sun.” Does everyone agree? Science, we say, has proved this so there’s no argument, but there may be people who don’t believe it. Flat Earthers believe in a flat Earth even though most people don’t. You might look outside and notice that it’s cloudy and yet on the other side of town, only a few blocks away the sun is out. So when you say, “It’s cloudy today,” is it really cloudy? For you, at that moment, yes. But for someone else, only a few blocks away, it’s sunny. Which is true? Take politics. The Right and the Left see things very differently at times. One side is for immigration reform, the other side is not. Some support Israel while others support Palestine. Each make points supporting their cause that they believe are valid and true, and yet their opponents believe the opposite is true. So which is it? How do we discern what is true? Or can we?

Truth is subjective. Even that statement is subjective. So was that one. Truth can be and almost always is, different for each person. What you believe as truth today is subject to an entire lifetime of experiences, accumulated knowledge, beliefs, and opinions. And since no two people are alike, not even siblings, the truth is different for everyone. We might agree on many things and consider those things to be true but that is just an agreement. Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book, The Four Agreements, shows that we make multiple agreements everyday about what we think is true or false. That doesn’t make those things true or false, we just believe they are. So is there such a thing as truth? A Universal truth that no one can dispute? Some believe that religion, belief in a God is Universal truth. But considering that there have been about 3000 gods that people have believed in throughout human history, each with its own unique perspective, how can that be true? Some consider law to be the truth. The Constitution etc. Many would disagree. So how do we discover truth? How do we finally uncover what real truth is?

We don’t. And we do. What does that mean? As long as there are two people left on Earth who can think and reason, truth will be subjective. Truth will be based on the individual’s experiences, beliefs, opinions, etc. And there will be an argument about what truth is. Remove all people from the Earth and there will be no truth. Truth comes from your mind. I read a conversation on line where one person used a really obscure, strange word. The other person said, “That’s a made up word.” The first person replied, “All words are made up.” And that, was the truth.


No One Should Read This….

angry god
I’ll repeat the warning again. I don’t recommend that anyone read this. There. If you do, you’re on your own. I’m going to talk about religion again. These are my thoughts on why I don’t think the Bible is “the word of God.” Why am I writing this, you ask? Because for a time in my past, I believed it was. I found out the truth the hard way. I’m not going to go into that because it’s not relevant but I want to make clear, that if you are a believer and you still are after reading this then there’s no harm done. If this helps you to ask some questions, then no harm done again. And I always believe that humor helps the medicine go down. So, lets get started.

We’ll start at the beginning, with Satan. Bear with me, it will get better. According to the Bible, God is the perfect being. So he creates Angels. One of them, Satan, rebels and falls from grace. God kicks him out of heaven. So God created angels with the ability to rebel. He’d have to have, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. Why would God have done that? Anyway, Satan rebels. Wouldn’t Satan know that rebelling against God was futile? Wouldn’t God have known, because he is all knowing and all seeing that Satan would rebel? If he didn’t know, then how is God in charge? Wow, all these questions!

So now God creates Adam and Eve. They live in a beautiful garden and God gives Adam the job of husbanding all the animals. He names them, and oversees them all. That’s his job. God plants the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and tells Adam and Eve not to eat from it for on the day that they do they will surly die. How are Adam and Eve supposed to know that disobeying God is bad if they don’t know what good and bad are? And why did God lie to them when he told them they would die if they ate from it? And how were they supposed to know that to die was bad? They had no idea what good and bad were until after they ate from the tree. Then Satan shows up and talks to Eve in the guise of a serpent. Instead of going, “Holy crap, a talking snake!” which is just what I would have done, She talks to him as if everything is normal. In my fantasy world, if I were Eve I would have shot straight off to find Adam to tell him. Adam would’ve squinted his steely eyes and said, “A talking snake? That’s not right. Where’s my axe?” And right then and there, thousands of years of human suffering would have been ended before it ever got started. But of course that’s not what happened. Eve probably put down her book, lit a smoke, poured herself a glass of wine and said, “So, talking snake, what’s on your mind?” And well, you know the rest of the story. Eve believed a talking snake instead of God. Really. That’s what it says.
talking snake
And then we have Job. Job is a pretty cool guy. He’s got lots of flocks of animals, a wife and kids. Probably got a membership at the local country club. Shoots 18 holes once in a while, and you know, drinks with the guys and stuff. He’s doing alright. And then Satan shows up. God gives Satan permission to ruin Job’s life. Kill his animals, kill his wife and kids and infect him with diseases. And God says he thinks Job will still love him. God and Satan play with Job for awhile until they get bored and then say, “Just kidding Job, you can have it all back now.”

Now we’ll skip ahead to Ecclesiastes. That’s a hard one to say and even harder to spell. Anyway, chapter One, verse Five says: “The Sun rises and the Sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.” (New International Version) You might think, “So, so what?” That’s just what I thought after reading it several times. But you really have to give this one some thought. Today we know that the Sun doesn’t actually “rise.” The earth spins on it’s axis once every twenty four hours and this give the Sun the appearance of “rising and setting.” So when we say, “The Sun rises,” we know it’s just an expression. But the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t know that. Science didn’t prove that until the late 1500’s to early 1600’s with Copernicus and Galileo. This biblical writer actually thought the Sun went around and around the Earth. And God created all this so he would know that this passage wasn’t true and yet it’s in the Bible. But it is insisted that the Bible is “The word of God.”

I could go on and on. Why did God, who is a perfect being, create such imperfect people, and then spend the rest of time trying to straighten us out? Why did God unleash Satan on us? Why does God play with peoples lives, like Job? Why did God tell Joshua to kill every man, woman and child in Jericho but put all the gold, silver and copper in the store house because these things are “precious to the lord.” Why did God need a son? Why, why, why?
god with hammer
So now if you’re reading this and your mouth is hanging open and you think, “This guy is going straight to Hell,” I warned you. I told you not to read this. By the way, I never did very well in Sunday School. Here’s another question. Why did God give us all these abilities and then expect us to be at war with ourselves to not use them? Like curiosity. To question why? To want to have an answer to these impossible conundrums? If God can do these seemingly amoral things, why shouldn’t we question that? Shouldn’t our creator have a higher moral standard than we do? If we are expected to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves” why does God get to let horrible things happen to people like Job? Why is that okay? If you were suddenly given the power to end all suffering in the world but didn’t use it wouldn’t you be considered a horrible human being? If God has the power to end all suffering, why does he sit back and let it happen? Drinking his coffee, watching the afternoon soaps and not paying attention. Oh, and by the way, why did God give a man nipples? Do you know that I have almost accidentally ripped my nipples off about a thousand times while pulling off a tee shirt? Like I said, I didn’t do very well in Sunday School.

Whether or not you believe God is real, the Bible is a fascinating read. 66 separate books written by many authors over a span of thousands of years. Did the hand of God guide the writers? I don’t think so. Is it deliberately false? I don’t believe that either. I think the authors wrote what they truly believed, as with the Ecclesiastes example. Where does that leave us? There are many things in the Bible that are horrible, like the book of Joshua or Job. But there are also many beautiful things like how to love one another and treat others right. I encourage everyone to take a crack at. So that about wraps it up. Try not to think to badly of me. I got my knuckles rapped a lot when I was a kid.
teacher with ruler