Is Truth Subjective?
I spent much of my late childhood, teens and early adulthood, believing that the world could be pretty simple if everyone just told the truth and did the right thing. You know what I mean. It is either black or white, wrong or right, isn’t it? This has probably been the longest learning curve of my life. Now in my 40’s I have slowly come to realise that my truth and yours are probably very different. My truth comes from my life experience and upbringing, yours is your own.
So what is truth? Truth to a scientist is derived from the evidence of their last experiment, until someone else’s experiment debunks theirs. Truth to the pastor of their church is what they believe to be true, through faith, which can not be quantified or qualified. Truth to the young women who was abused as a child could easily be that all men are evil. Truth to the young man fighting in the Sudanese militia is that if he doesn’t kill his enemy today, tomorrow he may die, or his family may starve.
With the world being in constant communication, knowing what is happening in most places, much of the time, we are all becoming far more aware of the life and truth of other cultures. Maybe this communication and awareness will mean the next generations will be better able to understand the variance of truth across cultures, religions, politics and science.
My lesson in all of this has been that judging other people is not my job or right. I have no idea where they are from, what their circumstances are, how they were brought up, what truth they were taught to believe. This doesn’t always stop me from making judgements, but it should. My hope is that through relationships with people; real, deep and meaningful relationships, we might learn enough about each other to help where we can, free of judgment or our own motives.
I so love the internet, because I am really bad at remembering exact quotes from famous people, but Mother Teresa comes to mind when I think of truth, love and relationship without judgement or ulterior motives. She was a rare person, in a world where nearly everyone has their own agenda or ulterior motives. Rich or poor, big or small, atheist or religious, young or old, we all have our own version of the truth. That shouldn’t mean we can’t respect other peoples truth and meet them where they are, instead of always trying to convert them to see their life according to our truth.