When truth and lie get mixed up

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Truth and lie can sound and look alike. Both can make use of hard data and facts. The challenge now is how to distinguish between the two. It can happen that the lie can have greater appeal than the truth that often requires more effort, sacrifice, humility, etcetera, while the lie can offer instant convenience and other practical advantages.

Bluntly said, knowing the truth is dealing with God through Christ in the Spirit. It's living by faith, by God's commandments. It's not just us with our human resources studying and discovering things on our own, and accumulating all sorts of facts and data.

This latter way can have an impressive show of evidence but lacks the spirit that makes those facts and data the truth. That's because for truth to be truth, it will always be infused with charity, mercy, justice, etcetera. It cannot be any other way.

Without God, without the proper spirit, those facts and data would simply be at the mercy of our whims and personal interests which are always tainted with our frailties. Sooner or later, malice can animate those pieces of evidence and proceed to exploit them to one's own or selfish advantage.

Nowadays, it's good that people are aware that there many kinds of truth. You have truths that come from the physical sciences, or from the social and political sciences, or from our legal system. There are also truths that just come from our common sense, or from our direct contact with people, things and events.

Because of these kinds of truth, we are also quite aware that there are truths that are stable, and others not so, being subject to some changes and are therefore evolving. There are truths that we consider big, others small, some very important, others not so, etcetera.

There are many sources from which the truth can come to us. We just have to realize that truth has a range and scope that spans from the here-and-now to eternity, that covers the material and spiritual, the natural and supernatural, the created and contingent truths on the one hand, and the absolute, necessary, primary and ultimate truth, on the other.

We have to be wary when we confine ourselves in our appreciation of truth to what is only here-and-now, material, natural and contingent. That, I'm afraid, is the predicament of many of us, a predicament that we need to solve and get rid of.

As we can readily realize, we are equipped to know the truth. We have senses that can immediately capture the sensible, material realities. We have intelligence that can discern intelligible and spiritual (non-material) realities like essence of things, the causes and effects of things, cetera.

In pursuit of the truth, we can see, hear, feel, intuit, then think, judge, reason, discuss, argue, conclude, discover, invent, etcetera. We just have to realize also that we actually are also wired for faith that would enable us to discern not only spiritual realities but also supernatural ones. We can enter into the world of mysteries which are also truths, in fact, a higher kind of truth.

Our problem now is that many of us refuse to go far enough in seeking the truth. They get stuck somewhere, short of referring themselves to God, the source of all truth. And thus, we can arrive at a point once described by Saint Paul in the following words:

"Know this also, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, wicked, without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness…" (3,1-3)

Every time I read these words and look at least at what we see in the media that mirror the temper of our times, I can't help but notice the connection between the warning and the reality around us. I can only gasp, "How true!"

Many people don't pray anymore. They have made God a thing of the past, or at best, considered merely as a museum piece or an ornament. They now proudly talk about how the present is now a post-religion era.

Obviously, with this mindset detached from God, the source and measure of truth, we should not be surprised when we can witness a lot of delusions and sophisms or circular, closed-circuit reasoning.

What to do? Go back to God, of course. Revitalize religion. Strengthen the faith. Thus, Saint Paul says: "Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine." (4,2)

Reason and science cannot go alone without faith, without God. They'd be flying in dangerous circles.

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