The United States of America is rapidly becoming one of the few countries in the world to allow religious freedom. Here we are free to worship God according to our individual conscience. I recently read a UN report that states 3/4 of the world’s governments prohibit and/or punish individuals from exercising this basic right.
This kind of Freedom is an immense privilege that restricts us only in the way we interact with family, neighbor and friend. How do we handle the truths we hold sacred? Do love and respect constrain us? If not, we inevitably commit the gravest of errors: PRIDE, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND INTOLERANCE resulting in wars, pogroms, ethnic cleansing, hatred, persecutions, fanaticism, and rage against those who don’t think as we do, or who dare to question our standards. There is nothing more dishonoring to God than cruelty done in the name of religion. When EVIL wears the mask of piety, or uses the “God Card” to excuse barbaric mistreatment, the ones who usually pay the price are defenseless women, the elderly and children. I think we have seen more than enough examples of that in our time.
This is an interesting thought: “The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error”.(Thomas Macaulay, poet, historian 1800-1859) In other words, the OPPRESSED becomes the OPPRESSOR.
TRUTH by its very nature doesn’t need defending, nor the sword to enforce it. Truth is defined as: A) 1) the body of real things, events, facts, actuality (2) :the state of being the case :fact (3) :a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality B) a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true truths of thermodynamics C):the body of true statements and propositions 3) a.the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality. b. fidelity to an original or to a standard. Science and Mathematics only work on the premise that there are universal truths underlying the Laws of the universe that are waiting to be discovered.
Our English word for TRUTH comes from a Germanic abstract noun *treuwitho as in TROTH or wedding vow: faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty; veracity, quality of being true; pledge, covenant.
Therefore TRUTH is not necessarily a belief, but an actuality, and integral to a person’s behavior. Both Science and Philosophy attest to the existence of truth, and therefore, the existence of error. Where there is truth there is order, peace, and a rational logic to that order, a harmony that results in beauty and unity of purpose. Where there is error there is chaos, violence, irrationality, and cruelty to one’s fellow man.
There is only one person in all of human history who had the right to claim He was TRUTH INCARNATE….Jesus. And the religious zealots of his day killed him, but could never silence the words of truth He has given to nourish our souls.