How do we really know what's true?

With so much information available, it can seem difficult to know what’s really true. But understanding God as Truth helps us see through what’s false and follow only what is good.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Recently I received an email from a familiar company that looked legitimate, yet something didn’t seem quite right about it. The email was directing me to confirm my account information. I wanted to do the right thing, but something just felt off.

I took a few minutes to pray about it. I reasoned that as the expression of God, I reflect the divine intelligence and ability to be guided by what’s real and true and nothing else. As a result, I was led to look at the email again, and this time I noticed a telltale sign that the email was a scam attempt to trick me into revealing information that could be used to gain access to my credit account. I didn’t reply to the email, and my account has remained safe.

The willingness to play loose with the truth behind this scam email is a small example of a trend that has larger repercussions. A news program I watched recently described Americans as living in a “post-truth” era. The point was that sometimes it’s really hard to tell what’s true anymore because so many of the suggestions being offered look so authentic. It would seem that “truth” has become whatever people want it to be, regardless of the evidence.

This kind of “truth” is capricious when human minds simply take things at face value and don’t bother to question whether what’s being presented is true or not. How is it possible, then, to know what’s really true?

From the perspective of Christian Science, Truth is a synonym for God. Whatever is true is real and has the authority and power of God behind it. God, Truth, is immutable and immortal.

This enduring nature of Truth is spoken of in the Bible in Deuteronomy: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4); and again in Psalms: “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalms 100:5). If we want to know what truth is, we need to find out what God is.

Christian Science presents this view of unchangeable truth based on what God is and what God knows, and not based on mere human belief or assertion. For instance, in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Mortals try to believe without understanding Truth; yet God is Truth” (p. 312).

Because the nature of truth is divine, it originates in God and nowhere else. It includes only that which is derived from good, and can never be hurtful or harmful. By understanding more of what truth is, and how it works, we are able to see more clearly what is not true, and to expose it as a lie.

Christ Jesus showed us how to do this. He proved that good always overcomes evil. He revealed that health and harmony are always the facts, and disease and discord yield to this truth that proves them untrue and therefore unreal. He demonstrated the fact that life is never overcome by death, but death is overcome by Life, which always presents the truth of man’s being. And what’s more, Jesus promised, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32).

In my own life, gaining in the spiritual knowledge of divine Truth has healed me when I have been sick, brought solutions to light when challenged by a lack of financial resources, and repaired broken relationships.

In this era, as in every era, we all can recognize and respond to what’s really true when we turn to God as Truth and follow only that which is good.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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