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‘What is Truth?’

From the July 2017 issue of The Christian Science Journal


In Pontius Pilate’s efforts to find his own moral compass, he came to the question “What is Truth?”—a profound question echoed in the cry of humanity today. Pilate, a Roman governor from the first century, is infamously known as the judge who sentenced Jesus to be crucified, ignoring all the facts affirming that Jesus was innocent. Inquiring “What is Truth?” under the pressure of politics and in his own confusion, Pilate was left without an answer he could understand. 

But at that same time, there were those who could answer that question with complete conviction. Christ Jesus’ life bore witness to Truth, and his followers understood Truth by his healing works. “What is Truth?” was answered by the demonstration of Truth in their own lives, which were healed and restored. They simply felt the gentle touch of the Christ, Truth, lifting human consciousness Spiritward. They understood in a degree what Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Unity of Good: “Truth is God, and in God’s law. This law declares that Truth is All, and there is no error. This law of Truth destroys every phase of error” (p. 4).

Today, we’re introduced to a wide array of humanly constructed “truths”—alternative truths, post-truths, and emotional truths with little regard for facts. And in societies that deeply value logical thought, these so-called truths clash with logic and bring up the question, “What do we really know to be true?” Once again, as Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The question, ‘What is Truth,’ convulses the world.” She adds, “Many are ready to meet this inquiry with the assurance which comes of understanding; but more are blinded by their old illusions, and try to ‘give it pause’ ” (p. 223).

In times of moral ambiguity, Christ Jesus’ teachings can help us understand Truth. Christian Science, the law of Truth, brings to light all that he taught, showing that Truth is not a human construct, but spiritual, divine, absolute. The human thought must conform to Truth, not the other way around. The angst comes from trying to squeeze the absolute and divine into changeable and material human circumstances.

But Truth cannot be so manipulated. Truth is universal, impartial, supreme. It can’t be divided up, nor curated into one selective brand of reality. Neither can it act as a pendulum—going from positive thinking, blindly hoping that “wishing will make it so,” to negative thinking, fearing that it might not be so. As light destroys darkness, so Truth destroys whatever is untrue.

Years ago, I had a profound experience seeing Truth in action. I designed an independent study abroad program that coincided with national elections in the country I would be in. While I was there, stories of violence and military coercion started emerging with the start of the electoral campaign. I was already praying with a Christian Science practitioner—an individual committed to helping others find healing through prayer. We affirmed that innocence is a quality of Truth, and because man reflects God, Truth, at all times, innocence was expressed by each of us, as God’s children.

We looked at Christ Jesus’ timeless instruction: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Jesus knew the truth that man is pure and holy, made in God’s image and likeness. This view healed the sick and the sinning, exposing and correcting all that was mortal and revealing the real and spiritual man.

To know the truth, we must look through the mirage of hype and reaction—that subtle denial of Truth that breeds suspicion, distrust, and fear. We need to look deeply into the spiritual law of God and man: that good is God and is not helpless, that man is never separate from God, and that Truth always triumphs. Knowing these truths about God and man changes consciousness from a material to a spiritual basis, and engages our spiritual intuition and intellect, guiding us to do and act rightly. 

One day during my program, I was traveling on a local bus, and it was stopped by an armed military group. This group was one of many military groups, known to target busloads of citizens, intimidating and terrorizing them with various degrees of aggression. As the men were ordered off the bus, I felt the power of innocence embracing each one of us. I felt Truth at work, changing consciousness. I felt no fear nor anxious thought, only the constancy of Truth and the calm assurance that God is governing and is All. A soldier entered the bus with his rifle, walked halfway through the bus, and then, without a word, turned around. The men were then ordered back on the bus. No one was harmed. The whole tense situation simply dissolved.

What a lesson this was! It affirmed that Truth is always at work in consciousness, breaking through the instability of the human condition, and changing thought to wholly embrace security, health, harmony, and wholeness. Man is the expression of Truth, the evidence of all that God is, the “compound idea of God, including all right ideas” (Science and Health, p. 475). These right ideas include integrity and honesty, which is spiritual power. These ideas also include purity and innocence. Being spiritual and perfect, man reflects all that God is at all times. There is never a time when man is separate from God, so there is never an opportunity for man to develop the capacity to sin. 

When chaos and discord strive to be heard, we can silence them by consistently and persistently knowing the truth. And when humanity cries out, “What is Truth?” we can answer by demonstrating Truth through our reflected honesty, integrity, and innocence. We can prove that “Truth is always the victor. Sickness and sin fall by their own weight. Truth is the rock of ages …” (Science and Health, p. 380).

Kim Crooks Korinek

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