ACCORDING to an ancient fable, when Truth and Falsehood went bathing together, Falsehood emerged from the water first and proceeded to dress in Truth's clothing. Falsehood offered its own garments in return, but Truth chose to remain unclothed rather than wear the garments of Falsehood. Thus the expression ``the naked truth.''
We often find ourselves confronted, sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly, with falsehoods that represent themselves as true or genuine. But we can learn to distinguish between the false and the true. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The notion of any life or intelligence in matter is without foundation in fact, and you can have no faith in falsehood when you have learned falsehood's true nature'' (pp. 485-486).
How can we learn the true nature of falsehood? And what do we gain by so doing? Today more than ever we are bombarded with various thoughts from so many sources--television, radio, and the print media among them. We need some sort of filter to help us determine what is acceptable, what should be accepted as true of God and His creation. The Bible gives us a valuable insight into how to do this. In I John we read, ``Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world'' (4:1). The discernment we need lies in a spiritual testing of what we see and hear. So as we ``try the spirits,'' as we sift and analyze the information coming to us, we should endeavor to determine the actual origin or motives that lay behind the ideas that are being presented. Reasoning that has as its basis materialism or self-interest is ``without foundation in fact.'' An idea or thought that is spiritual, however, expresses the harmony and goodness that identify its origin in God, Spirit. These ideas are the true ones that we want to cherish in our lives.
Concerning the origin of evil, Science and Health contains this statement: ``Evil is self-assertive. It says: `I am a real entity, overmastering good.' This falsehood should strip evil of all pretensions'' (p. 186). Evil is not a person, a place, or a thing. It has no reality. Being illusory, falsehood, or error of any sort, is powerless and is thereby deprived of any ``foundation in fact.''
The unreliability of the material senses is seen in the illusion of railroad tracks that appear to join together in the distance. Recognizing the deceitfulness of material sense should make us more alert to the harmful deceptions and falsehoods that challenge us each day.
Our Master, Christ Jesus, was never deceived by the evidence of material sense or mortal opinions, even when these argued that this man is blind, another has a withered hand, this one has the palsy, and your good friend Lazarus had been dead for four days! These falsehoods appeared overwhelming only to material sense. But Jesus looked beyond the testimony of material sense and spiritually perceived man's true nature as the spiritual idea of God. As a result he successfully overcame every challenge of falsehood. Assuredly, to have this correct view is to behold all according to truth rather than falsehood.
We, too, can gain a clear understanding of the reality of God's creation by following Christ Jesus' example and rejecting anything that would have us believe in any power or presence other than God and His ideas. Even though falsehood presents itself in different guises in order to gain our acceptance, we recognize its falsity when we are alert to spiritual reality. And our rejection of falsehood strengthens our ability to discern truth the next time. Then the illusions of material sense become more obvious to us, and we are learning falsehood's nature.