What is Truth?


What Is Truth was a #3 song for the late Johnny Cash (RIP) in 1970. Even though I was just an adolescent (and this really tells my age), I knew he borrowed the title from a line out of the Gospel of St. John. This famous question came from an exchange between Jesus and Pontius Pilate at Jesus’ judgment.

Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

Pilate was asking a question, albeit rhetorically, that man has been asking for thousands of years. It is a question of particular significance and interest today. Indeed, I hear many Catholics asking this question in various ways even now, but without realizing it, they already have the answer.

For me, Pilate’s question seems absurd. He is asking what truth is while staring Truth right in the face. This exchange is an actual event, but it is symbolic as well. Note what is happening. Pilate had already had Jesus beaten with a cruelly made whip that rips flesh from the body, and he was about to condemn Our Lord to be crucified. In other words, Pilate was abusing Truth.

Abusing truth (and thus Truth) is something we humans do all the time. It’s a consequence of our fallen human nature, and no one is immune to it. Our minds were created by God to know and live by truth, but the effects of Original Sin get in the way and we consequently often deny and abuse truth. You abuse the truth. I abuse the truth. We all abuse the truth.

But I’m not talking about lying. Many readers of this piece may have never told a lie in their entire lives. This applies to many people, but I’m ashamed to say I’m not one of them. No, lying isn’t the sort of abuse of the truth I’m talking about.

The sort of truth-abuse I’m talking about is the flat out denial of truth. Did you know there still exists a Flat Earth Society? Yeah, I’m serious; Google it. This group actually believes the earth is flat. Never mind that man has known for hundreds of years and has proven repeatedly that the earth is round, these folks deny every bit of evidence of that truth. Now, this is a seemingly harmless denial of truth, but there are forms of truth denial so prevalent today that they are destroying Western culture, society, and (most importantly) souls.

Denial of truth is actually an organized movement, and it’s all around us. It goes by many names, or at least has had names assigned to it. Perhaps you’ll recognize some of the names: liberalism, political correctness, the left, heterodoxy… I don’t use these labels to attempt to be condescending, but rather so we can all shift into the mental gear that will help us to understand what we’re talking about here.

An example of their truth denial that, unfortunately, all too many of us have bought in to, is the government’s preposterous promotion of unisex public restrooms. This is an example of denying a truth that man has known since the dawn of time: that there are differences between the sexes. And our intuitive need for modesty makes most of us reject that position out-of-hand. But it won’t always be that way.

Hitler won the hearts and minds of the German people by using the principle belief that if you tell a lie bizarre enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. His lies to the German people led to the Holocaust—the cruel murder of six-million Jews for no better reason than that they were Jews. That same principle is being used on us today by the left, and it’s working.

Homosexual behavior is wrong. It’s against the laws of God and a perversion of nature. There is a reason why God made two sexes: the continuation of the human race. Logic and right reason (even absent of God’s law) tell us that homosexual behavior is wrong because it is impossible to procreate when two people of the same gender engage in sexual activity. Yet the left has attempted the last fifty years or so to convince us it’s not only an acceptable alternative lifestyle, but that it’s also normal and even natural. They have, for the most part, succeeded in foisting that ridiculous belief on us. But as Catholics—indeed, as mere humans imbued with the ability to reason things out—we know homosexual behavior is a perversion of nature.

But the acceptance of lies on the perversion of nature didn’t begin a half century ago with the promotion of homosexuality as natural. It all started at the Anglican Lambeth Conference of 1930. The so-called sexual revolution was young and growing in Europe, thanks to Sigmund Freud, Margaret Sanger, and other social engineers of the day. Artificial contraception had always been considered a sin worthy of eternal condemnation by all Christian religions, but the Anglican faithful were caught up in the sexual revolution, so they told the Anglican bishops they wanted to contracept. Under pressure from their people, the Anglican bishops caved in. I’ve read what they wrote many times. What they basically said was, “Yeah, artificial contraception is a mortal sin, but by our authority alone we’re giving you folks permission to contracept.”

And the flood gates were opened! At the time, the use of artificial contraception was illegal (even if unenforceable) in every state in America. But by 1933, because of what began in Europe, artificial contraception was widely in use in America.

But the denial of logic and right reason, and the abuse of truth, does not change truth. Nothing can change truth, because truth is immutable by its very nature.

The Anglican bishops opened the door for their people to pervert nature, which is what artificial contraception is—a perversion of nature. When we accept one perversion of nature as “normal” or “natural” to satisfy our own desires, then we can find it easier to accept the next lie.

Let me make it patently clear: Artificial contraception is a perversion of nature, thus a soul-destroying sin that condemns people to consignment in hell.

So here’s the bottom line. We deny truth and abuse it all the time. It’s our way of justifying what we want to do instead of doing what we ought to do. But denying truth with our justifications doesn’t make those truths any less true, and we will all be held accountable for them by Almighty God. This means, of course, when we abuse truth or deny it, we are abusing and denying Christ, who is Truth. That means the blood of Jesus is on our hands.
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