What is truth?
A Christian Science perspective: Discovering the truth that Christ Jesus taught.
—It seems to have become a truism that Americans are living in parallel universes. What passes for truth on the “left” of the political spectrum becomes distortions or even lies on the “right.” And, of course, vice versa.
Large groups holding passionately to opposing versions of truth is clearly unsustainable for a country that wants to live in peace. Can anything be done to help bring order to the situation? From my own experience, I believe what’s needed is spiritual insight.
Insight into the nature of Spirit, a name for God – and into God’s spiritual creation – offers a bold, clear view of truth that can be applied to all aspects of human experience, including the challenges of political polarization. The teachings of the Bible and Christian Science show that God is Truth. Divine Truth is not based on human facts or opinions; it is the origin and sustainer of spiritual reality. As creator, cause, and governor of all being, God is also divine Mind. Mind’s ideas – you and I and all of us, in our true, spiritual identity – are intelligent and beautiful manifestations of Truth, full of wisdom and integrity. As we grow in our understanding of these spiritual facts of being, they become increasingly evident here and now.
As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of The Christian Science Monitor, writes, “If this Science has been thoroughly learned and properly digested, we can know the truth more accurately than the astronomer can read the stars or calculate an eclipse” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 84-85). This spiritual truth can’t be massaged, spun, distorted, hidden, or changed.
To argue over human facts is really to argue over beliefs about reality. But the reality Christ Jesus lived and proved, and that Christian Science teaches is spiritual reality under God’s good government. It’s here that we all work as one. To move vehemently to one side, or even to try to slice things down the middle, is to remain in the maelstrom of human emotions. But when we lift our heads above the cacophonous material perspective and see God’s spiritual government as the fact for all humanity, we can help bring out “his government and peace” (Isaiah 9:7).
The means for reaching a clear understanding of spiritual reality is through prayer – prayer that springs from a deep desire to know God, divine Truth. With the spiritual understanding we gain from such prayer, we can correct the claim that divine Truth is missing from important areas of life. Prayer is a powerful way to help lift the world’s thought to the reality of God’s constant love.
At the university where I teach, students come from many countries and many political persuasions. Some students, for example, are strong supporters of government control of society, including the news media. Others passionately defend personal and media freedom. Classes could easily devolve into bitter arguments. But I see each individual as an expression of the one divine Mind, with unlimited intelligence and a clear ability to perceive spiritual reality. My prayers embrace all the students in my classes with equal love, no matter their political views, trusting they will come away with a sense of God’s love for them. To me, it is no coincidence that our discussions are always spirited but never bitter.
Human beings are wonderfully variegated, and the beautiful colors of life need not be contaminated by selfish and limited motives. We can help remove confusion and misdirection through the understanding of God’s just and gracious government. There is, in the end, no neutral ground between spiritual reality, where God’s law of harmony rules, and the treacherous falsity of material existence. “This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces,” Mrs. Eddy writes. “On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace” (Science and Health, p. 96). On which side are we standing?
It takes perceptiveness and courage to follow God’s lead when political passions run rampant. But we are all sons and daughters of Truth, living under divine Mind’s authority. As we lift our thought and hold to the facts of spiritual being, we will play an important part in revealing the peace of Truth, bringing healing to our world.