Saturday, 4 February 2012

What is Truth?

Can we ever know The Truth, about ourselves, others or God?  Or is the truth relative to our situation, culture, ego, our particular choice of religion or our relationship with God?  Much of what we see as truth is based on our adopted ‘belief system’ as influenced by any of the factors mentioned above.      

I invite visitors to read the following article by Dr. Susan Gregg, with her kind permission, about this daunting question.   

There is No "The Truth"

I spent years studying countless philosophies, religions, and metaphysical doctrines looking for the truth. I finally realized they were all belief systems developed by someone else. All of them were merely someone else's filter system. At first I found my discovery upsetting, but eventually I realized how freeing it really was. There is no such thing as the truth. I don't have to defend my beliefs, because they aren't necessarily the truth.

Everyone has his or her own truth, and the truth is relative. There is no one truth. Truth is part of our per­spective. Another word for the truth is belief. Once we realize there is no "the truth" we realize how words such as right and wrong are relative. Once we let go of our need to find "the truth," we are free to let go of many other limitations. We can stop searching for some ultimate yardstick against which to measure life and ourselves. We can begin to release our iron grip on our need to judge everything and everyone. We judge things so we can feel safe, so we can feel like we are on the right side. If there is no "the truth," we don't need to choose sides anymore, either.

Giving up your quest for the truth will set you free. It will also allow you to see what your truth is for today and release your attachment to it. You won't need to defend yourself and your truth, which prevented you from changing. Since there is no "the truth," you can't he wrong. It becomes easier to accept the fact that you're perfect just the way you are.  – Dr. Susan Gregg, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spiritual Healing (2000).

Most Christians after reading this will hastily interrupt and demand an answer  to their question: “what about Jesus when he says “I am the way and the truth and the life”?   At the same time I can hear more fervent voices argue, yea, see your completely wrong Trebert, Jesus clearly stated (John 14:6) that he is the Truth, so don’t tell us there is no such thing as “the truth”!  And here I will readily admit that that is exactly what Jesus said, as well as on many other occasions.  But here’s the difference.  Living Christ’s word enables one to know the truth and so be free (John 8:32).  Christian freedom is not due to possession of correct knowledge (God, after all is beyond all human understanding) but rather comes from relationship to that which is truly real, namely, God.

Still sure you or your religious institution can contain truth?  One of the most disturbing or challenging passages quoted by Jesus can be found in Luke 14:26 as follows:   If anyone come to me and does not hate his own his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple”.  If ever there was an example where we might find Truth then here it is as based on the words of Fr. Anthony de Mello, from his book ‘The Way To Love’. 

“If people want happiness so badly, why don't they attempt to understand their false be­liefs? First, because it never occurs to them to see them as false or even as beliefs. They see them as facts and reality, so deeply have they been programmed. Second, because they are scared to lose the only world they know: the world of desires, attachments, fears, social pres­sures, tensions, ambitions, worries, guilt, with flashes of the pleasure and relief and excitement which these things bring. Think of someone who is afraid to let go of a nightmare because, after all, that is the only world he knows. There you have a picture of yourself and of other people.

If you wish to attain to lasting happiness you must be ready to hate father, mother, even your own life and to take leave of all your posses­sions. How? Not by renouncing them or giving them up because what you give up violently you are forever bound to. But rather by seeing them for the nightmare they are; and then, whether you keep them or not, they will have lost their grip over you, their power to hurt you, and you will be out of your dream at last, out of your darkness, your fear, your unhappiness.

So spend some time seeing each of the things.”

Long before his election, Benedict said that relativism—the idea that one man's truth is as good as another's—was the central crisis of modern culture. And as pope he aims to halt that trend by reinvigorating the traditional faith and reconstituting the very idea of holding a firm belief in a divine, unchanging, and uncompromising truth. But that starting point is also where Benedict's agenda ends, and it is a powerful indication that the great era of Catholic social activism may be drawing to a close.
Award winning British author David Gibson in his book 'The Rule of Benedict' (2006) has this to say about Benedicts use of the term Relativism "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.  It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love".
God’s gift of freedom comes with heavy price – our ego’s. Religious extremism, in all its ugly and deadly forms, is born out ofbelieve that we, not God, possesses the ultimate truth.

“Reprove yourself if ever the devil, or your own short-sightedness, should do you the disservice of making you want to force all my servants to walk by the same path as you yourself follow, for this would be contrary to the teachings given you by my Truth”. – God speaking to Catherine of Sienna  
Addendum: 26/06/13
What is Truth?
Monday August 26, 2013
Karen Berg
Truth is a very interesting concept. What is truth? My truth and your truth are not necessarily the same. Each one of us sees what our own senses allow us to see, and this can create sometimes minor, sometimes major differences in what we each consider to be the truth.

How do we know the actual truth? Look around the world. There are so many religions, so many types of faith. Some of them even assert themselves to be the truth faith.

The word “spiritual” means “involved with the spirit,” and that spirit has no name. It is not a Christian spirit, nor Jewish, nor Buddhist, nor any other limiting description; it is only Spirit. When a soul leaves the body, that soul is connected to — and returns to — Spirit. The soul goes to its source of Light, which I do believe is beyond what we consider the limitations of a particular faith. Being one of the “faithful” is simpler than being spiritual because you can become a follower of what you are told without thinking about what it means. Sometimes the faithful follower has little connection with spirituality.

The reason that many people in the world follow something — be it a religion, a way of life such as vegetarianism, an individual, or any other structured way of living — is because on a personal level, we as humans naturally resist taking responsibility for our own spiritual growth and change.

But love, joy, and tenderness are not necessarily involved when one is a follower. Many followers are merely content in their belief that the rules that they live by will guide them and that they are doing the proper things in life; they require and ask for nothing more.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that religion (or specific eating habits and lifestyles, for that matter) are not spiritual: Anything that gives rise to a purification of any kind, whether of the body or the mind, leads one to a closer awareness of the Spirit. What I am saying, however, is that true growth requires that we constantly check ourselves as to whether we are accepting responsibility for our own thoughts and actions




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