the people along the sand all turn and look one way;
they turn their back on the land, they look at the sea all day.

as long as it takes to pass a ship keeps raising its hull;
the wetter ground like glass reflects a standing gull.

the land may vary more, but wherever the truth may be -
the water comes ashore and people look at the sea.

they cannot look out far, they cannot see in deep -
but when was that ever a bar for any watch they keep.







Thursday, April 25, 2013

Truth or Fact?

I had a strange conversation with an old friend recently. He was upset about my evolving faith - or, according to him, "loss of faith." Part of what upset him was my reluctance to say that the Bible is without error, perfectly true.

His issue was not with my belief in God, or spiritual life, or morality (although I suspect we have some major differences). His issue was that I no longer deny my scepticism about the veracity of scripture. According to him, "the bible is either all true, or it is all a lie."

From where I am, surrounded by distance haze, I find that a very strange and almost absurd statement. "I don't know" is the most common answer to any question ever stated or imagined. What we know compared to what we don't know is immeasurably small. And what we think we know? It changes constantly. Just a few hundred years ago, people thought the moon orbited the sun. Just a few short decades ago, people insisted that if "man is supposed to fly, he would have wings." When I was a kid, the tricorders on "Star Trek" were a joke...now, I am pretty much writing on one.

Knowledge changes, because it is impossible to know all the facts. Even to the simplest question, all the facts are unknowable...it is impossible to even know what all the facts may be, or the questions to ask.

Facts, however, don't necessarily equal truth. Simple example: you see a circle. Is it round? No, it could be a tube, just seen from a specific perspective. Fact does not equal truth. Circle does not equal round.

My friend said "if it is not all true, it's a lie." How can that be? It reminds me of the movie "Talledega Nights" with Will Ferrell.  Will's character - Ricky Bobby - is told over and over by his father, "If you ain't first, you're last."  (see the video below)

Well, that's simply NOT true.  There are alot of positions between first and last - 2nd, 3rd, 4th...you get the picture.

video

In the same way, there are shades of truth between "all true" and "all lie."  That is where I find myself, between "truth" and "facts" - between "all true" and "all lie."  It's where all of us are, like it or not.  It's called Distance Haze.

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