Can there be fake truth?

July 31, 2018

We certainly see and hear a lot about so-called Fake News these days. So extend that thought to include the concept of Fake Truths. It was, to a certain extent, Fake News that claimed to the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and therefore an invasion of the country to prevent their use against other countries in the area was justified. That news turned out not to be true; it was based upon faulty intelligence andfact erroneous assumptions and conclusions by the intelligence community – essentially fake truths. The real truth later came out that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. So, was that fake news? Not really. It was news fabricated out of false or bad information (fake truth) that was provided by normally reliable sources and embellished a bit by politicians eager to justify a decision that likely had already been made. The news media, always hungry for a good story, took it and ran with it.

In today’s post to his blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote from Buddha – “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Unlike opinions or assumptions or prejudices, the truth stands the test of time and inspection and is always trying to find a way to get out. William Shakespeare said “the truth will out” in the Merchant of Venice. 

It is interesting that the definition of the word truth leaves some leeway for doubt or later correction. Look it up on-line an you will get these three definitions –

the quality or state of being true.

“he had to accept the truth of her accusation”

that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.

“tell me the truth”

a fact or belief that is accepted as true.

” I believe that is true”

It is that third definition that applied to the Iraq weapons of mass destruction item of fake news that the Bush administration at the time used to justify its action to invade the country. We will probably never know how much the intelligence was fudged or faked to get to that conclusion; but, for a while we all believed that it was the truth.

These days, our attention has been re-directed to the news of Russian interference in the last presidential election. There are almost certainly nuggets of truth within the surprised emojiintelligence reports and more of them are bound to come out as the truth struggles to the surface. It is not hard to imagine a bunch of Russian hackers (be they military, the intelligence community or civilians) deciding to see what they could do to influence the election or undermine our concept of democracy. It is also not hard to imagine that a contact within the political apparatus of any of the candidates would find a receptive ear to anything that might give them an advantage. After all, politics is not practiced to the highest of moral standards. However, it might prove to be as false as the weapons of mass destruction news to jump all the way to conclusions about collusion or conspiracy. Stupidity, yes. Poor judgement, most certainly. Self-serving, of course.

However; leaping to accusations of collusion, or worse, before the truth is fully out, serves only the third definition of truth. I think we need to work our way through theFacingFactsWordCloud first two definitions before we form our beliefs about what the truth really was. The good news is that Buddha and William Shakespeare were both right and we will eventually see the truth come out. Let’s all hope that Jack Nicholson was wrong in the movie A Few Good Men. Let’s hope that we can handle the truth.  The truth will out and there will be time enough then for a reckoning.

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Know the facts, but accept the Truth…

April 14, 2015

“The truth is more important than the facts.”  (Frank Lloyd Wright) – as seen in a post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I must admit to initially being nonplussed at this little quote. My initial confusion grew a bit when I researched the two key words – facts and truth –

Fact – (from the Merriam Webster Dictionary site)

: something that truly exists or happens : something that has actual existence

: a true piece of information

Truth – (from the same source)

a  (1) :  the state of being the case :  fact (2) :  the body of real things, events, and facts :  actuality (3) often capitalized :  a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality

b :  a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics>

c :  the body of true statements and propositions

d :  the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality

It took me a while to discern the key differences in those definitions, especially since each definition uses the other term within the explanations of their meaning. So, the big difference that I finally realized  is that facts exist as free-standing entities and truths, while perhaps based upon some facts, exist as beliefs.

My next revelation (I’m a bit slow sometimes) was me finally understanding why Wright might have said this and why Jack (the ex-pastor at my church) might have found it to be so appropriate for his blog. It boils down to the facts that support the existence of a man named Jesus, who lived over 2000 years ago, was from Nazareth and went about preaching and performing miracles, and who died on a cross was buried and then disappeared from the tomb. There are enough recorded stories from a great variety of sources at the time to establish those facts. And then there is the Truth. There are also recorded eye witness reports of the risen Jesus appearing to a great many people after his “death” and before ascending into Heaven.

As I said in an earlier post, any prosecuting attorney always likes to have some facts, like a fingerprint on the weapon or a DNA test from the crime scene; however, they also love to have eye witness testimony from someone who was there and saw what went on. It is that testimony that cements the truth about what happened in the minds of the jury. We have that testimony from witness after witness in a recording of the events called the Bible and other historic document of the time. We can establish the Truth based upon those eye witness accounts – He is risen!

Why is that Truth so important? Because it established the fact that death can be defeated; that death is not the end. If you had to point to one overriding concern (worry, anxiety, fear, call it what you will) that drives men’s search for faith, it is the burning question, “What happens when I die?” It is egotistical and self-serving; but, no one wants to believe that the end of our existence is the death of the body here on earth. All sorts of facts point to the Truth that one man defeated death and has shown us all the way to join Him after our lives here are over. There may not be enough facts for the skeptics to embrace this Truth; but, I would ask them what they have to offer as an alternative? As for me, I have decided to believe the Truth and not worry so much about the facts. The Truth is more important than the facts.

Have a great week ahead. The Truth is out there.