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“What is truth?”

This is the main question mankind has asked for thousands of years. I daresay we crave the answer more today than any other time in history, because a lot of doubt exists if we can know or discover the Truth.

Social Media, news outlets, and so on have made it hard to trust anyone who says they are speaking the Truth. Fake news warnings are everywhere. AI, ChatGPT, Visual Effects, and Virtual Reality, all have contributed to the cloud blurring what is real.

Whatever side of the political or belief aisle you are on, everyone wants to know what is true and what is real.

From where I sit, the war on reality is being made for various reasons—far beyond the scope of this blog. However, we can find ways to know what is true, accurate, and rock bottom.

Truth Supersedes Fact

Madeleine L’Engle once wrote that Truth supersedes facts. Truth is more significant than facts. I wrestled with that idea for a long time. But I now understand what she means in light of my role as a father of three sons.

Many times, the facts of a situation with my sons were turned right side up when it came up against the Truth.

One of my sons used to be scared of the dark. He was afraid of shadows and other things he wondered about. The facts said that he was unsafe. But the Truth is, he did not need to be scared. He was safely inside the home, under our protection, backed by the city police. The fact of his fear was beaten back by Truth.

One of my other sons was failing math at one point in elementary school. The facts said he would not make it through that level of math. But the Truth, as we explored it, showed that he was not failing due to a lack of intelligence—it showed that he could do the whole problem in his head and get the correct answer. The issue lay in his unwillingness to show his work on the page and the timed tests he had to take. His failing grade was bested by the Truth that he was very intelligent in math—he just had to follow the rules more closely.

3 Questions to Help Find Truth

Because Truth is greater than fact, and what we face now tells us that Truth is unknowable, the reality is that Truth is knowable. Truth just needs to be recognized once again.

How do I know this can be done? Because you and I are constantly searching for Truth. It is out there, and we want it. And it will always be so.

In our search for Truth, there are three questions we can ask when faced with a story or a situation we aren’t sure about; they are derived from a Christian belief system, grounded in attributes of the Triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—but will prove worthwhile whether you are a believer or not.

Question #1: How was the Truth delivered?

Many people think Truth acts as a gavel, in the hands of a judge, slammed down in a final decision and unquestionable and unalterable. It causes fear, and anyone who delivers their message this way must be telling the Truth.

However, when we look at Truth, the kind that has changed each of us in profound ways, we recognize that it came suitably over a period of time, often beginning with a still, small voice. Gently, it walks next to us and whispers, “Go this way.”

It is rarely combative at first. In fact, it only grows combative when we ignore it for too long. Then, it has to become more obvious—like a gavel.

But not at the outset. At first, it was a bumper sticker on a car, a sly remark by a spouse, or a blurted statement from a child—my sons have all been great messengers of Truth. It will come to us repeatedly until we accept and act on it, or ignore it and must be shaken awake.

Herein lies the first clue: Truth most likely is not being delivered when it comes at us for the first time with a combative, militant demand for obedience. Truth most often waits until the time is too late to be abrasive in this manner.

Question #2: What is the effect of the experience?

When we encounter Truth, we need to see its effect on us and other people experiencing it. Truth tends to:

  • Produce stability. True things can rock us at first, but then they have a stabilizing effect. We find life on firmer ground. Things become clearer.
  • Develop maturity. People who deal in Truth, I have discovered, rarely attack people. They are mature, calm, and present reality in ways we can receive it. Truth received will do the same thing. Avoid those who demand attention with histrionics.
  • Balance things out. Truth is unbiased. It is what it is, and that is it. It doesn’t pick sides. In fact, it forces us to pick its side.
  • Root us in faithful, long-standing reality. Truth is never a new thing. This is a bold statement, I know. But Truth has roots. It’s been around for a while—millennia, in fact. It’s rooted in history, has been tried, and found to last over time.

Question #3: What are you driven to do?

When we come face to face with Truth, it inspires us to act. The question is, what is the action it is driving you towards? Will that action benefit others? Will it produce wholeness in the lives you are going to touch?

We might have different definitions of what is beneficial and what wholeness looks like. But as C.S. Lewis wrote, there are two things we can all agree on: loyalty and justice.

No one wants a disloyal friend, spouse, or employee. We want to be with people we can trust and depend on.

No one wants to be in a system where injustice rules—one set of rules for one group and another for another group. We want fairness and balance to make decisions between two parties in disagreement.

So, are the actions the Truth you have heard driving you towards creating loyalty or disloyalty? Is it creating justice or injustice? These are good barometers for whether what you are seeing, hearing, or experiencing is real.

Not Easy, But Possible

What does this have to do with sports, skateboards, society, etc.? Quite a lot, actually.

We are fast approaching a time when tangible, physical things like a skateboard, a basketball, or a real person we can touch will again be vital to our existence. We’ve shoved those things off for a time in favor of phones and V.R.

But A.I. is everywhere. Robots are over the horizon. We need to know what is true and what is real, and we need things that will help us reconnect with the physical world to remind us what is true.

So, while we skate, play basketball, and talk with friends, helping us stay grounded in reality, we need to learn to analyze the headlines, the stories, and the online experiences we have through the three questions I’ve proposed to stay mentally sane and sound for the generations to come.

These aren’t foolproof steps but they are worth the time and effort to try out. They might spur you on to find your own ways of figuring out what is real, true, Truth.

Christopher F. Dalton

Christopher F. Dalton is a writer, author, illustrator, small business owner, but more than that he is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of three stellar sons, and friend in need. He and his wife run Huck&Dorothy, an entertainment company.