What is Truth?
Have you noticed lately how everyone has strong opinions about everything especially including what is truth? This is not new, of course, but it is certainly front and center in the news and everyday conversations, and the opinions seem more emotionally charged than ever.
I’ve been paying attention to news reports and people’s conversations and I noticed that most of what people talk about are really just their opinions. Now, they certainly believe their opinions are what is truth, but with so many differences in opinion you have to wonder, exactly what is truth?
This is an age-old question. Remember the account of the trial of Jesus when he said he came to bring truth and Pilate asked, “What is truth?”
“…For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? [John 18:37-38 KJV]
Is There Such a Thing as Truth?
Pilot wasn’t being sarcastic. He was an intelligent ruler who was aware of the relativeness of what people call truth. Yes, truth can be a slippery slope with a lot of twists and turns. Everyone believes their opinions are what is truth, and yet that is not possible since there are so many divergent points of view. So, you have to ask yourself can we know what is truth?
When you are listening to someone or engaged in a conversation you naturally assume you are exploring a person’s ideas and thoughts, but what you are actually doing is interacting with a sequence of opinions. You then have to ask, “Where did everyone get their opinions?”
Virtually everything you read and hear is actually a collection of opinions. Many people are so heavily invested in their opinions they will argue with you if you disagree. In some extreme cases, people will even accept martyrdom rather than relinquish their opinions.
You Must Have Opinions
The fact is, you can’t function without opinions. They are what provide context and purpose behind your choices and decisions. So having opinions is not the problem, but being stubbornly fixated on them is.
Opinions arise from beliefs. That means you can’t have an opinion without an underlying belief to support it. As a result, whatever your current beliefs are, you are pretty sure they are what is truth. However, if that were true, the truth would be absolute and unchangeable, and we all know that isn’t the truth. We are all constantly modifying our beliefs as we explore new perspectives and acquire more information.
Two Opinions Believed to Be True
As an example, did you know there are between 30,000-45,000 Christian denominations in the world? You can look that up for yourself on the internet. Each group has some variations in what they believe is true. Since there are differences, you have to conclude what is truth depends on what you have convinced yourself is true.
Whatever beliefs you hold they become the filters through which you view nearly everything. Just as wearing colored glasses gives everything you view a particular tint, likewise your beliefs color all of your perceptions and conclusions.
Another example is the “Flat Earth Movement”. Many today believe the Earth is flat. The flat earth movement has spread rapidly on the internet so I wrote an extensive rebuttal to their main arguments, which you can read here: Is the Earth flat?
I based my article on a long 8-hour video that has most of the main arguments of the flat Earthers. You can make up your own mind after reading my article. Whatever you conclude it becomes your opinion based on your conclusions of information you have been exposed to.
How do You Determine What is Truth?
Some say they research information and come to an educated conclusion, but since each person comes to differing conclusions you’d have to say that lots of beliefs are not truth regardless of how much research a person claims to do. The fact that many scientific studies are sponsored by companies that have an agenda to promote a particular conclusion means you have to be exceptionally circumspect of your research.
One important teaching a spiritual mentor told me over 50 years ago is that while everyone has opinions, and opinions are certainly necessary to function, be on guard to not be fixed or stuck on any opinion.
A characteristic of a person of higher consciousness is flexibility and open-mindedness. Unfortunately, I have witnessed intelligent people who proclaim to be open-minded revert to previously held opinions even when objective information is provided to them.
I remember several years ago hearing a politician refer to “alternate facts,” when asked a question on a controversial topic. My scientific mind laughed at the suggestion there can be alternate facts, and yet on certain subjects the truth does depend on what is included in the conclusion, as well as the consciousness level the person stating the position.
This fact creates confusion with some who ask spiritual teachers if something is true or not. One day the teacher might say, “Yes, of course that is true,” and another day the teacher might say, “Of course not it is an illusion like being in the Matrix.”
On one level many things seem to be absolute, but from a higher perspective there are often more subjective interpretations. Your task is to determine on what you choose to base your opinions.
The Source of Your Opinions
Since opinions are rooted in beliefs and beliefs are the causative factors in determining your experiences, it is incumbent that you explore the highest level of truth on which to base your opinions.
I see many people today dogmatically asserting their opinions that they derived from limited sources who then project what they want their listeners to believe. Commentators on radio, TV, and podcasts do this everyday. There are those in power places who want you to believe certain things in order for them to have you buy or support what they are offering.
One-way of looking at what you read or hear is to regard it all as propaganda promoted by the person wanting to convince you of their point of view. Nearly everyone does this and it leads to a form of brainwashing in which you convince yourself something is true based on a presentation you witnessed.
The way to circumvent being brainwashed by these “experts” is to be willing to look at various sides of every topic that affects you in order to conclude what supports what you want in your life. Ask yourself, “Does what I believe lead me closer to the life I want or not?”
One effective method of remaining objective is to ask yourself, “What if what I am being told is the opposite of what is true?” This self-inquiry will open your mind to additional possibilities.
Does accepting what the ad or speaker says lead you to a life that supports your evolution and happiness, or does it restrict you?
How You Became Convinced Something is True
One trick I often see politicians and religious leaders use is to present something that seems to make logical sense or which you already believe to be true. This causes you to nod your head in agreement as they subtly inject other ideas which may not make complete sense. Since you already agreed with their previous premise, you’ll tend to allow yourself to accept their follow-up arguments.
If you expose yourself to this repeatedly you’ll find yourself going along with a list of beliefs you would not have accepted previously. This is one of the main ways your subconscious mind becomes programmed with beliefs. You literally brainwash yourself through repetition. When you hear and think something over and over, you eventually come to believe it and it sinks in at a subconscious level so you become committed to your belief.
This is the basis for the success of positive affirmations. They counter the programming in your subconscious which was previously embedded through repetition. I cover much of this in more detail in my free e-book How to Tap the Power of Your Mind.
I am not intending to tell you what to believe or to mold your opinions. I am cautioning you to be truly open-minded and flexible as there are many forces at work who want you to conform to their subjective opinions while trying to convince you their opinion is absolute fact.
With the internet today you have access to many sources of input and if you don’t take advantage of exploring several points of view, before you know it you will be accepting a prejudiced point of view. Studies have shown that people tend to only read and listen to people who already share their point of view.
The Hardest Thing You Can Do
I find the hardest thing for a person to do is to change their beliefs. Changing beliefs can rock your world, so people retreat into the seeming comfort and safety with what beliefs they are familiar.
Yet, to evolve spiritually, and every other way, you must be willing to challenge your beliefs and be open-minded enough to allow the possibility that opinions and beliefs other than what you currently hold may be true.