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What is Truth?

By Keith W. Munday

Lying, economy with the truth, spin, statistics and all that...

Tens of millions of words are spoken, printed and broadcast daily. They are the chief means of communication for homo sapiens. The Bible statement that there are many voices in the world(1) is all too true, and this verbal avalanche which descends upon us, whether in the form of advertisements, information, news, entertainment or even government propaganda needs careful assessment. It should all be measured against the truth.

This immediately brings us to one of the greatest questions ever asked What is Truth? It was actually addressed to Jesus by Pontius Pilate when he was examining Him in the Judgement Hall(2) at His trial.

However careless people may be about truth, it must be admitted that truth is the only foundation on which any trust can be built. A recent survey on this question yielded the following result. 40 years ago over 60% of those interviewed were happy to trust people and institutions. That number has now fallen to 30%. (BBC Radio 4).

How shall we define Truth? For starters it could be said that truth is that which agrees with reality and can be believed. For instance if I hold a pencil in my hand and I announce that I am holding a pencil in my hand, it will be the truth because it agrees with reality.

From a theological stance Truth originates from God Who is known as A God of truth and without iniquity(3). The ninth of the ten commandments given by God to Moses prohibits falsehood. It states that you shall not bear false witness(4), and lying is the very antithesis of the truth.

The Bible then goes further to unapologetically identify the Devil as a liar and the father of it(5). The strange thing about lying, although it is going on all the time, the inveterate liar is always regarded as a despicable person!

In reference to Pilate's question to Jesus What is Truth? Jesus had previously stated that He had come to bear witness to the truth(11), and a part of that truth is Holy Scripture. because Jesus in His prayer to the Father He said, Thy Word is truth(7). Seeing that Jesus is known as The Way, The Truth and The Life, we have two highly credible sources of Truth. Jesus and the Bible. He could be regarded as the Bible in person, and the Bible is Jesus in print!

Ultimate issues of course are black and white, but unfortunately contemporary issues are not, we must admit. There are variations of truth, or gray areas as they are sometimes called. Take first

Index to the Topic
What is Truth?
The deliberate lie
The mis-leading lie
What about the diplomatic lie
Exaggeration and Spin


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