Truthiness as truth.
I am amazed at the emphasis of the the word “truth” in relation to the LDS Church as preached from the pulpit. It appears, to this writer, that there is a concerted effort to profess this concept as an emphatic, dominating theme. Why the emphasis, I have wondered. Should not truth be self evident? Isn’t truth something that is easily demonstrated? What if an organization, person, etc claims access to “the only truth” or “the complete truth” at the exclusion of all other sources? Should proof be applied and accountability demanded? If these statements are, in fact, demonstrable, wouldn’t an actual demonstration settle the debate? Does truth fear examination or contradiction?
The stake president in my girlfriend’s ward stated “I know for a fact that the church is true. I know for a fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God”. I was left wondering about the truthfulness of this statement. Is this a verifiable statement? What is a fact, anyway?
1. an event or thing known to have happened or existed
2. a truth verifiable from experience or observation
3. a piece of information get me all the facts of this case
4. (Law) Law (often plural) an actual event, happening, etc., as distinguished from its legal consequences. Questions of fact are decided by the jury, questions of law by the court or judge
5. (Philosophy) Philosophy a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement
after (or before) the fact Criminal law after (or before) the commission of the offence an accessory after the fact
as a matter of fact, in fact, in point of fact in reality or actuality
fact of life an inescapable truth, esp an unpleasant one
the fact of the matter the truth
So…. A fact is subjective. Interesting
Here’s the kicker…if purported truth cannot be substantiated, is it really truth and is it ethical to continue to refer to unsupported historical / theological information as such?
What if we call it something else? What about “truthiness”?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In satire, truthiness is a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.
American television comedian Stephen Colbert revealed this definition as the subject of a segment called "The Wørd" during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and "gut feeling" as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.
Truthiness, it seems, is a powerful toll in the toolbox of conversion to any cause that is devoid of demonstrable, evidence based fact. It is the still, small voice. It is the burning in the bosom. It is all subjective, personal somatic response to a spiritual meme. That seems more precise. Lets start saying that .
Hmmmmm. There is a problem with the word “truth” itself. It doesn’t always mean what we think it does, especially in relation to religion. Interesting.
Contrast this with truth.
1. the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual the truth of his statement was attested
2. something that is true as opposed to false you did not tell me the truth
3. a proven or verified principle or statement; fact the truths of astronomy
4. (usually plural) a system of concepts purporting to represent some aspect of the world the truths of ancient religions
5. fidelity to a required standard or law
6. faithful reproduction or portrayal the truth of a portrait
7. an obvious fact; truism; platitude
8. honesty, reliability, or veracity the truth of her nature
9. accuracy, as in the setting, adjustment, or position of something, such as a mechanical instrument
10. the state or quality of being faithful; allegiance Related adjectives veritable, veracious
So…. truth is subjective. Interesting
Which of these, if any, can we apply to LDS doctrine and system of belief?
Is it true, genuine, actual or factual?
Is it proven or verified?
Does it demonstrate fidelity to a required standard or law?
Is it a faithful reproduction or telling?
Is it an obvious fact?
Is it reliable?
Has the doctrine changed?
Are the facts, especially concerning history and early origins, transparent and readily available to the body?
Is there an open, honest, concerted effort toward scientific validation of the existing records and facts?
If the fullness of truth is contained in LDS doctrine, and if this claim is the official position of the Church, there should be no fear, concern or opposition regarding a thorough examination of the facts. If truth is subjective, and the claim of eternal truth is taken off the table, no such proof is required.
There is nothing wrong with truthiness as a basis for belief. Spirituality is a very subjective thing. Truth, however, is another issue. All authority within the LDS church derives from the claim to a fullness of restored, eternal truth as a basis for the very organization itself.
“Truth” is a mighty strong claim. It demands strong evidence. Fortunately for the brethren, both “truth” and “fact” can also apply to one’s own personal system of belief. They are, in fact, telling the truth when they state their convictions and beliefs over the pulpit, albeit the selective, personal nature of those beliefs. Doesn’t this approach actually validate ALL personal belief regardless of what that might be? How does one actually maintain authority over a subjective, personal process? Hmmmm, that might just be the snag. Perhaps the bridge between subjective truth and universal truth is only bridged by that elusive ability to disregard the facts. Faith.
1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence
2. a specific system of religious beliefs the Jewish faith
3. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) Christianity trust in God and in his actions and promises
4. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) a conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion, esp when this is not based on reason
5. complete confidence or trust in a person, remedy, etc.
6. any set of firmly held principles or beliefs
7. allegiance or loyalty, as to a person or cause (esp in the phrases keep faith, break faith)
bad faith insincerity or dishonesty
good faith honesty or sincerity, as of intention in business (esp in the phrase in good faith)
So…. faith is subjective. Interesting
Given the total subjective nature of faith, truth and fact, how can anyone, really, claim authority?
I’m just sayin…
So many questions. So little faith.