How do we really know what’s true?

Getting to know God as the source of all that’s good and true empowers us to defend ourselves from the effects of scams and falsehoods.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Almost every day I receive phone calls or emails telling me important financial information has been compromised or I’ve just been awarded a large sum of money and all I have to do is provide my bank details. When I first began receiving these notifications, they were troubling to me, until I realized they were fraudulent. This type of fraud seems so prevalent today it requires vigilance to not be taken in by these scams, which typically operate on the basis of instilling fear or inciting greed.

This raises a fundamental question that applies to more than just financial scams: How can we distinguish what is true, or real, from what is a lie or falsehood attempting to deceive us, even when it appears legitimate?

Clearly, we can be deceived by a lie only if we accept it as true. In order to defend ourselves from falsehoods, the simple answer is, we need to be absolutely certain of what is true. In order to have this certainty, we need to be thoroughly familiar with what is real, the genuine article.

I have found that the most helpful way to discern what is true and real is by viewing our lives through a spiritual lens, which starts by considering the nature of God. For instance, in Deuteronomy, Moses refers to God as “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (32:4).

Christian Science recognizes that Truth and God are one. Truth is a synonym for God, the source of all true being. The better we understand the nature of God as Truth, the more effective we are at defending ourselves from all forms of falsehoods that would rob us of what is rightfully ours as God’s spiritual sons and daughters – such as well-being, peace, freedom from suffering.

Other Bible-based synonyms for God include Life, Love, Spirit, and Principle. Gaining a deeper understanding of these names for God enables us to more quickly identify not only what’s true, but also what’s false. For instance, qualities of goodness, love, kindness, purity, faithfulness, integrity, and so on are native to everyone as children of the God that is infinite Love, Truth, Principle. Whatever is opposite to such qualities has no truth or legitimacy at all, because it has no valid source.

Striving earnestly to express these spiritual qualities in our daily experience equips us to identify what is not from God, and to then address or overcome it. This is encouraged by a passage in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the primary work of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this news organization: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (p. 261).

That’s what a woman found when her computer files and programs became locked up as part of a ransomware scam before these incidents had been widely reported. Through prayer, she was inspired to take appropriate steps, and a feeling of calm replaced fear and anger. The situation was ultimately resolved without any significant loss to her. The woman described one of her takeaways from that experience this way: “The vital lesson learned is to pray often throughout the day for God’s directing and to be vigilant in maintaining thinking that reflects spiritual Truth” (Martha Olson, “Effects of computer scam reversed,” Christian Science Sentinel, May 1, 2017).

Staying focused on what is real and true, and gaining a deeper understanding of what constitutes Truth, we no longer need to fear we might be vulnerable to falsehoods. Nothing can deprive us of what is rightfully ours – all that God, good, is always providing. Following in the path of divine Truth, we are able to more fully experience Christ Jesus’ promise, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Some more great ideas! To read or share an article for teenagers on the value of listening to God, Mind, titled “What intelligence really looks like,” please click through to the TeenConnect section of There is no paywall for this content.

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