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Tell Me The Truth: Thoughts on Our Times

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Cherry Laithang/Unsplash

Cherry Laithang/Unsplash

Tell me the truth.

 

One of the oddest beliefs in human existence is in this idea of truth. There is no truth. There is only us. We are truth. There is only now. It is truth. Or maybe there is nothing at all.

 

I don’t know the truth.

 

I have long been fascinated by the events at Jonestown. Nearly a thousand people committed suicide under the guidance of Jim Jones. How did such a thing happen? Almost unanimously, people call the events at Jonestown evil. However, multiple letters were found amidst the bodies that tell a different story. For some, there was a deep and abiding righteousness about what was happening. They took their own lives for truth…their truth. Can we deny them their truth?

 

The truth is undeniable.

 

Deconstruction is the most human of activities. We find meaning in breaking down what is. The truth we find is always fake and we are left digging for more. At numerous institutions, I have earned degrees that have bestowed on me titles denoting expertise. While I consider myself a historian, I have long distrusted the field. I don’t even know if it is real. How can we know that there is a past? What if the evidence isn’t real? Who’s to say that we are real? What is real?  Can truth even be touched?

 

Truth isn’t real.

 

This morning I watched the resignation speech of Senator Al Franken. Numerous women have come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. I have no doubt that each of the women believe their accounts to be truth. I believe them too. We live in a society where we are encouraged to believe such accounts until they are proven false. Such truths are difficult to prove false. I was surprised this morning to hear Sen. Franken respond to this situation with such defiance. In more or less words, Sen. Franken denied much of what he has been accused of. Sen. Franken left no doubt what his truth is. So whose truth is truth? Does belief make things truth? Maybe it’s all truth.

 

Truth is a ghost that constantly haunts us.

 

Tell me the truth.

 

Amen.

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