Pastor’s Corner: What is True?

A stark painting of Pontius Pilate asking Jesus What is Truth?

July 22, 2020

During Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate, he told the Roman governor that he had come to testify to the truth. Pilate famously asked, “What is truth?” If he waited for an answer, the Gospel writer didn’t mention it. Instead, John described Pilate leaving the room to speak to the crowd gathered outside, leaving the question hanging over the heads of all the generations since.

What is truth?

It will not surprise you that the question has occupied the thinking of philosophers for generations. In the twenty-first century, however, we find ourselves confronted on an almost daily basis by a related by different question: What is true?

This has been a question to occupy the thinking not just of philosophers but of jurists, scientists, therapists, legislators, and criminal investigators. It has dominated the thinking of tradespeople, craftspeople, cooks, and journalists. It has guided the actions of teachers, engineers, parents, umpires, and even pastors.

It is a critical question.

People have used a wide variety of very effective strategies to obscure, confuse, or contradict things that are true. The “Big Lie,” endlessly repeated, tends to persuade people who cannot believe that someone would repeat something so unbelievable if it were not true. Gaslighting directs contradictions or falsehoods at a certain person or group of people, challenging their memories and their experiences. False choices offer a limited set of options when there are far more available. Flag-waving associates the positives of patriotism with the negatives of falsehoods.

What is true?

A proper response to a global pandemic will ask what is true over and over again. Fantasies, or worse falsehoods, will kill. A proper response to civil discontent must ask about the truth of the situation being protested – and the actions of those enforcing “order.”

Ask, and keep asking: What is true?

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Painting What is Truth? Christ and Pilate by Nikolai Ge –, Public Domain,

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on July 22, 2020

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