If false promises are the problem, what then is the solution? Is it the truth? How, after all, can the truth make promises it cant keep? And how can the truth ever sour itself on mendacity? Truth is immutable. It can neither be created nor destroyed, and, like the First Law of Thermodynamics, remains a constant. All that can be added to it are lies and, to take from it is merely to conceal it.
Truth is at once an ideal and an actuality. It can be the possibility of human equality and it can be the inability of humans to fly without wings. Truth is an observable and verifiable science, and truth is also the science we dont yet understand. Truth is what we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch, and its also everything beyond the scope of our perception.
Truth is so many things that we dont always know what it is. Our ignorance doesnt keep us from proclaiming the truth as if it could be summed up in a few words. And when were not fighting over commodities and territories were fighting over ideas, truth favoring one nation of another as if truth ever picked sides. But no single nation state ever held a monopoly over truth and no war was ever won on the basis of truth alone.
We can use truth as an excuse to fight wars, but truth has never required a war. In fact, a single, overriding truth would dispense with the possibility of disagreement altogether. The only problem is when people are wrong and yet believe theyre right. However, all combatants believe theyre right when life and property are at stake, which makes personal protection the only truth that could warrant the risk to the lives and property of so many people. And yet, what kind of truth seeks to protect life by indiscriminate slaughter, and what truth seeks to preserve property by claiming the property of others? Such truth vows to protect; but in order to protect some, it must take from others.
As such, no war can ever be waged for truth, since war always subverts the truth. Death attempts to chip away at the truth of human worth. However, war, if anything, does quite the opposite. In fact, it takes a deadly and costly war to remind people that nothing deviates further from the truth.
It could be argued that human worth isnt a truth but, rather, a value judgment. If this is the case, however, then not only do humans have no value, so it is that human assumptions about the truth have no value either. By devaluing ourselves we devalue what we think, until its clear that no human being will ever know the truth.
This poses the possibility that, perhaps, there is no overriding truth. This, of course, would explain war, nation-states disputing ideas which can never be resolved. We fight, not from the belief that were right but from the hope that we wont be proved wrong. And as long as were not proved wrong, we can convince ourselves were right.
Truth might then be a case of self-deception, the need to find a purpose to our existence compelling us to manufacture meaning when we can. Truth, then, isnt the value of human existence but, merely its existence. Truth is the universe and the laws which created it, sustain it and which may one day end it all. Truth is what brought us into being and what keeps us alive as long as we can.
Yet, if truth is human existence, humanity, then, has worth, in so far that truth is by its very nature, worthy. If truth is the universe and everything in it, then truth takes stellar form, planetary form and even human form. Truth is everything that is, was and will ever be. Its because truth is everything that its so difficult to pinpoint, as if it could reside exclusively within a single planet, nation or even individual.
Truth, being everywhere, doesnt have to be sought out. Its inside and out, within easy reach and as inaccessible as the furthest reaches of the known universe. To seek it is most likely to find what weve already found; although theres still something to be said for the reassurance that theres a truth in all things.
As long as there is truth in human life, there is truth in our thoughts. Our very existence is proof enough in truth. The problem is that, with so many of us, we see that truth from multiple perspectives. Such perspectives make it difficult to agree on the same thing, making conflict inevitable.
The very fact that people see the truth differently is not proof of multiple truths. There can still be a single, unifying truth; however its impossible for the sensory perceptions of a solitary human to encompass the full breadth of reality; and for anyone to claim he or she can is the height of presumption, not to mention folly.
In short, truth may be inherent in our very existence, yet were not capable, as individuals, to comprehend it; nor are we capable, as a species, to comprehend it. The most we can do is appreciate what we see while acknowledging that we cant see all of it. Besides, truth cant be known. Truth is beyond knowing. We, at the Church That Is No Church know this well as weve always maintained our ignorance on the matter of truth and continue to assert it with the utmost confidence. Its about the only thing were sure of: the fact that everything we think we know we dont know and what dont already know we may never know.
All we can do is attempt to comprehend as much of the truth as possible, not by assuming we know all that we need to know but by acknowledging what we dont know. Only be conceding ignorance can we commit ourselves to the quest for understanding; although such understanding does not necessarily come with the certainty of knowing. Truth never makes itself plain, often assuming disguises or seeming to vanish altogether; and its a curious thing that the truth, which is inherent in all things, can be so difficult to appreciate.
Ignorance is not the absence of truth nor is it the natural state of humankind. Truth exists irrespective of ignorance. And whether or not we can distinguish the truth from the lies, it makes no difference. Its like saying that blue is red and that 10 is really 5. Truth remains truth and everything else is either what we want to see or what we want others to see.
The problem with truth is not truth itself but the fact that we use the idea of truth as a tool for leverage over other human beings. Either we claim superiority for knowing more or we lie to keep others ignorant. By we, I dont of course mean the Church That Is No Church since we gain nothing from ignorance. By we, rather, we mean all of us since all of us have misused truth at some point. Who, after all, hasnt told a lie?
Since no lie can alter the truth, nothing we say about it will ever change what it is. It is, after all, immutable. And for those who can see through the lies, it is easy to find. The only reason it isnt found is because some people never look.
Our advice then is to always look and never believe what youre told, since what youre told is only part of the truth (that is if it isnt a lie) and a part of a whole can be a misleading thing. Since all of us see only part of the whole, its easy for any of us to be misled or betrayed. Were all vulnerable to deceit. This, however, doesnt mean we have to be easily fooled. And the less we rely on what others tell us, the less likely well be fooled. We must rely on our discerning independent judgment, and though we at the Church That Is No Church dont always demonstrate discerning judgment, we at least make the attempt.
We must all be truth-seekers, even though theres really nothing to seek that hasnt already been found. The truth is ours and always has been. Its the lie that suggests we have nothing; the lie that claims there can be no truth or that the truth is only what one person says it is.
The truth is one, but it assumes many forms. This doesnt mean its less trustworthy or dishonest. The forms are only portions of the whole, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, everyone in possession of just one piece. But each piece is just as crucial to the whole; and to lose one is to make the larger truth all the harder to discern.
Since the truth is everything, the truth cant be properly discerned by excluding portions from consideration. Theres no selecting the truth. The truth cant be selected. Only lies, such as false promises, are selected. The appeal of lies is that they can be chosen while the truth must be found. For the impatient, the lie is preferable to the truth. For those who prefer to know, no matter how long it takes, the truth is the ideal path. Only when everyone chooses the path to truth will the individual components coalesce to reflect a larger picture.
Our human view of the truth is still only a component, limited by our perceptions, our logical acuity and our position in the universe; nonetheless, a collective human view of the truth is still preferable to the view of one man or woman. As it is, its the views of individuals that have, in human history, shown others the way forward. Individuality is the impetus that prods people in the right direction. The danger is that it might not be the right direction, leaders often directing people in the name of truth, without actually having any truth to offer.
In short, collective human truth is more expansive than individual truth, and yet the only way to distinguish lie from truth is to exercise our own individual judgment. At first glance, the two seem irreconcilable. However, its only through the discerning judgment of all individuals that we can achieve a larger scale vision of the truth; and as long as we all seek the truth, without relying on others to tell us how to think, then we will all share the same expanded vision of the truth.
The truth cant be coerced. Anything thats forced on others is likely false since people will instinctively resist lies. People only resist the truth when they prefer the lies, but the choice between lie and truth implies an understanding of the difference; and understanding the difference is half way to dispensing with the need for lies altogether.
Claiming the truth requires an open and discerning mind as well as an independent spirit. Skepticism is pivotal, provided the skepticism isnt so rigid that individual notions cant be surrendered. An open mind means a flexible mind, one that can embrace the truth despite the mistrust of lies. A discerning mind will know how to distinguish the truth from the lies.
How can we tell the difference between truth and lies, you ask? We at the Church That Is No Church dont always know, but we make the effort, as should you. Believe nothing that youre told but, by all means, believe in something. The failure to believe is just as much a departure from the truth as the lies that discourage belief.
Understanding the truth is our greatest task, and a work in progress. As long as we dont expect to understand all truth, we can explore without expectation. And as long as we dont expect others to agree what our findings, we wont ever use coercive tactics to keep others in line.
The danger of claiming a single truth is that despots may use the single truth as a hammer to knock out those who disagree. Since humanity isnt in a position to view the full truth of the universe, the individual claim of truth is invariably a lie. It isnt always a lie, but the distinction between truth and lie gets blurred, such that beliefs get maintained even after the lies corrode any semblance of truth. Leaders, after all, require some degree of obedience; and unquestioning obedience isnt possible from discerning, open minded individuals seeking the truth. Truth seekers never make for compliant citizens, but they are model human beings nonetheless. Such human beings can inspire others to be equally discerning and independent-minded.
The solution is never expecting others to conform to an individual truth; its making every effort to see the truth and encouraging others to see the same, so that humankind might benefit for a shared commitment to truth. If truth is used for self-interest, its no longer truth since truth serves no purpose. Truth needs no purpose because truth is self-sufficient.
Truth - which some call God - never requires the same path for all people. Collective truth cant be achieved by collective coercion. It must be accomplished by individual discovery. A slow process, to be sure; but truth doesnt respond to prodding. Wars over religious belief serve no purpose but to reinforce division when, in fact, it makes no difference how people pursue meaning; and religion gives meaning to many. It doesnt give meaning to everyone, because there are paths to truth that dont involve divinities.
There are many paths to the same truth, but all paths serve the same truth. And, for humankind, that truth is the truth of human value which comes of our very existence. There may be higher truths, but our human perspective may keep us from understanding them. It doesnt matter, of course. What matters is not truth itself its the fact that we seek it without forcing it upon others or lying about what we see.
If truth is human value, then giving value to others will keep us on the path to Truth. We all deserve the truth and when we remember that, we never have to settle for less.
As weve seen, promises come in many forms, but promises are not what we need. What we need are empowered individuals who dont require power over others; truth seekers who dont use truth to coerce; independent-minded people who learn to rely on themselves rather than domineering nation-states and manipulative corporations. To leave matters to other people is to invite ignorance and even enslavement. The power structure that sustains the transglobal economy has empowered a select few: the elites. But empowerment is not just for the few. Empowerment is for all.
Only empowered individuals can seek out the truth without coercion and misdirection. Only empowered individuals can choose a path to that truth, whether it be the Church That Is No Church, or any godly or godless path that serves to create meaning.
But by all means choose a path, because unless you choose for yourself, choices will be made for you. and those who make those choices are the same people who make all the empty promises that keep you ignorant of your true purpose. That purpose is to exceed yourself so that others might learn by your example and so the same.
Our fate is a shared one. Let us never forget that. After all, the empowerment of every man and woman is the empowerment of all; and only an empowered and undivided humanity can ever fully value itself.