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What to believe?

It seems that “Truth” has become nothing more than a matter of opinion. I looked up the definition and there is some agreement as to its meaning. “Being in accord with fact or reality” is a good summary of what I found, but where do you find such a truth as this in our world?

Sometimes truth is nothing more than a person’s perspective. Take the 2008 American political action thriller film, Vantage Point, directed by Pete Travis. The film focuses on an assassination attempt on the President of the United States as seen from various vantage points. In the film, the truth of what happened depended on your perspective.

What if, like the movie director, we had all of the information and could see from every vantage point? Ah, we would have a pretty good handle on the real truth – or maybe not. There is actually something else at play here, something called the Rashomon effect.

Simply stated, the Rashomon effect is the contradictory interpretation of the same event by different people, with a twist. The term is not only used to describe a difference in perspective, it occurs in particular where differences arise in combination with the absence of evidence to evaluate or disqualify any version of the truth plus social pressure for closure. In other words, we fill in the missing pieces to arrive at our truth!

Now we have really opened a can of worms – “Our Truth.” This is probably best demonstrated by political candidates. What’s true today, could easily change tomorrow, depending on the political landscape. And then, there is the concept of a second opinion. The service provider is attempting to steal “our truth” and we want someone to help us. We do not like, cannot except, do not believe, or simply do not trust the professional opinion. Thus, we seek out someone to confirm our truth.

With the frequent “spin” on the truth along with personal bias, mistrust, and differences in perspective, etc, how do we know what to believe? Well, there is such a thing as “absolute truth,” but where do we find it?

All of us are knocked down by life at one time or another and we desperately need help from something that we can hold onto or someone who we can trust – solid, steady, and unchanging are good descriptions. Ideally, we could obtain an understanding that will make things seem far better. Where do we find this insight that we can trust or does it even exist?

Allow me to close with a short story of a man who found absolute truth that changed his life. While many of the details are omitted, this man recognized the truth when he heard it.

A man was blind from birth and was miraculously healed. The once blind man was asked over and over how this came about. Each time he explained that a man made a sort of mud cast out of spit and dirt. He then applied it to the blind man’s eyes and was then told to wash it off in a certain pool of water. After the blind man followed those instructions, at once he could see. After telling this story a number of times, those around him began to ask the once blind man to explain “how” this could have happened. He simply replied, “… one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

Truth is distorted and hidden in today’s world, but I honestly believe that when you hear it, that you will recognize it as such. Maybe you already have. The real question is “What are you going to do about it?”