Pontius Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth” as he was interviewing the Savior before the inevitable death sentence. While I don’t think many of us would like to be compared to Pontius most of our culture shares his sketchy understanding of truth. So many have fallen into this trap of relative truth, “If you think it’s true then it’s true for you. Everyone has their own beliefs.”
It must be nearly ten years ago now, I was teaching school as a special needs IA. My student had gone off to his job placement and I was busy reading the Telegram during my lunch hour before geometry class when one of the teachers brought up the topic of religion. She began to talk about “those fundamentalists” and how if they were real Christians they would understand that God loved everybody no matter what they believed and that a loving God would surely never send anyone to Hell but would accept everyone’s beliefs no matter what they were.
I listened for a while as she spoke to everyone in the teacher’s lounge. I tried, oh I tried, to bury myself in the Celtics scoreboard but when other teachers started nodding their heads in affirmation I had to speak up.
“What church do you belong to?” I asked.
“I am a Catholic.” She replied.
“Do you believe Peter was the first Pope?”
“Of course I do.” She replied a little taken aback.
“Well your first Pope disagrees with you.” I replied. “Because he said ‘There is no other name under Heaven whereby men can be saved but the name of Jesus.’; So that means, according to the guy you say was the first leader of your church, if you do not believe in Jesus you cannot go to Heaven.”
The room fell silent. The lady stared at me as if I had just murdered her kitten. Then she stormed into the bathroom and wouldn’t come out until I had vacated the room.
Our society has really lost its grip on truth and with it, its grip on reality. The idea that everyone can make up their own idea of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, is just…well… crazy. My idea about reality cannot be as valid as a divergent idea about reality. One of them has to be right and one of them has to be wrong. Case in point either there is a God or there isn’t. Christians and Atheists can’t both be right. Both ideas cannot be equally acceptable. Further the idea that every man gets to decide what is right and wrong isn’t working for our society now. What makes us think it is how Heaven runs?
We struggle with truth because we struggle with telling people they are wrong particularly in the area of morality. For some reason we think that the area of morals should be subjective. Honestly though, morals are mostly as cut and dried as 2+2. Adultery is as wrong as 2+2=5. Lying always causes trouble. And stealing will never be O.K. It doesn’t mean there is no room for mercy but lets not confuse mercy and forgiveness with changing moral codes to fit our lifestyle.
So fellow Cylons you tell me: What is truth?