In the US courts of law, a witness is required to swear an oath to tell the truth. Generally the oath is recited aloud by the clerk of the court and is as follows. “Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” The expected answer is, “I do.” The underlying assumption is that the “truth” is something easily defined and understood. But is it? At the trial of Jesus, Pilate mockingly inquires, “What is truth?” Whey are the US courts so confident that truth can be established, while the Roman judge Pilate did not appear so sure?
How do we determine truth? Unfortunately, most people employ, albeit unconsciously, methods of determining truth which are flawed. They “feel” something to be true. They “wish” something to be true, so it is. They rely on a belief because it has been a “custom” in their family or community to do so. They believe because it is “popular” to do so; everyone believes it. They believe because it is “practical” to do so; it works for me, it must be true, or it is “significant;” it gives me meaning.
People slavishly accept the testimony of “experts” to be true, be they a news anchor person, a doctor, a lawyer, a politician or a preacher. How often do we question anything we are told by a friend or acquaintance? People are entrapped by their own pre-programming and bias. Do we not all think, speak and believe with our emotional thumb on the scale?
How should we determine truth?
to be continued…..