I recently heard someone say this is the greatest theological question of our time, and I agree. In fact I’d go a step further and say it is the greatest issue of our time, bar none.
Most of us, at least those of us who attended school after the “swinging 60s” (which is by far the majority of the population), have been taught there is no such thing as truth, at least not true truth, capital-T Truth. There’s only “what’s true for you” and “what’s true for me”.
To suggest that there is an objective Truth that can be known is a dangerous statement to make. To say such a thing is to open oneself to charges of arrogance or insanity. Or perhaps sedition.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back 2000 years ago the religious leaders got themselves all worked up into a tizzy over some carpenter from Galilee, and they would do anything — including lie — to see that he was terminated. They turned him over to the Roman government on trumped-up charges and he was tried by a man named Pilate.
During his trial, Jesus said to Pilate: “for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
To which Pilate replied: “What is truth?”
Pilate didn’t really want an answer so Jesus didn’t answer him. But Paul offers an answer in his first letter to the Corinthian church: “Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than humanity’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than humanity’s strength.”
Greeks — that’s us, any of us who are non-Jews — demand reasons, but Jesus offers knowledge based in experience, something that throws our Descartes-soaked, if-I-can’t-think-it-it-doesn’t-exist rationalistic minds for a total loop.
Truth exists. It may not be what we think it is — in fact I can pretty much guarantee it’s not what we think it is. God’s thoughts are as high above our thoughts as our thoughts are above the thoughts of ants. Nonetheless truth exists.
His Truth exists whether I like it or not, whether I believe it or not. If I say “I don’t believe in gravity” and then go jump off a building, my not believing in gravity will not make me any less dead. Disbelieving God’s Truth is equally dangerous.
So what is Truth? Jesus says: “I am the truth.” Not ‘I speak the truth’, or ‘I live the truth’, or ‘I encourage people in the general direction of the truth’, or ‘I am one of many paths to the truth’. “I AM the truth.” And the truth will set you free, and you will be free indeed.