Truth vs Fact | A Profound Exploration
“What is going on in the world today?” We often ask during small talk when we gather together.
My teacher mentioned something that struck me, and after thinking about it, I decided to write a few thoughts on what’s wrong with today’s world.
Facts are Facts!
Isn’t it a fact? As a matter of fact.
President Biden is ignoring the facts.
President Biden falsely stated that.
Before President Biden falsely stated that, there was President Trump who falsely stated that, and before him was President Obama who falsely stated, and so on and so on.
We’ve been using the word fact for about 500 years.
Derived from the Latin word *factum*, meaning “something done or performed,” the word “fact” first appeared in English in the 15th century, with the common understanding of “something that has really occurred or is the case” emerging around the mid-16th century.
Below are a few “FACTS” from 2020 from our Government and Media Outlets
March 1, 2020
“Coronavirus outbreak is contained in China”
March 2, 2020
“The U.S. is not at risk of a coronavirus outbreak”
March 3, 2020
“The coronavirus is not as deadly as the flu”
March 4, 2020
“The coronavirus will be over by the end of the year”
March 5, 2020
“We can return to normal life once we have a vaccine for the coronavirus”
In the face of a rapidly changing pandemic, the above statements showcase how even the most seemingly factual statements can be challenged over time.
Here is a small list of 20th-century facts that are no longer considered facts today:
These are just a few examples of facts that were once believed to be accurate but have since been disproved. As our understanding of the world changes, so too do our facts.
Houston We Have a Problem
The real problem with facts isn’t that they change or are misrepresented in our culture but that we’ve taken them and used them to divide our community. If you disagree with facts, you are a liar, a deceiver, a schemer, ignorant, and eventually, you are evil itself. Who wants to associate with evil?
We have elevated facts above truth, and worse, we’ve turned facts into truth. Truth is no longer prevalent as we focus on the facts at hand. Forgetting that facts can and do, in fact, change.
There’s a distinction between “facts” and “truth.” While a fact might be a current reality, truth represents a constant, unchanged reality. The opposite of a fact could be conjecture, speculation, or opinions. The opposite of truth could be false.
In biblical Greek, the word for truth is ἀλήθεια (aletheia), suggesting awareness of reality. It’s a central concept in the New Testament, reflecting the teachings of Jesus Christ, emphasizing him as the ultimate source of truth, pointing to a true understanding of God and self.
In the Gospel of John, truth is highlighted 25 times, portraying Jesus as the embodiment of truth, and his teachings as the path to spiritual understanding. The Gospel of Matthew mentions “truth” 13 times, focusing on the significance of being truthful. In the Gospel of Mark, “truth” appears 7 times, indicating the importance of Jesus’ teachings about the truth. Lastly, in the Gospel of Luke, “truth” is mentioned 12 times, underscoring Jesus as the beacon of truth.
John 1:1 “In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the Greek version (the New Testame”nt was first written in Greek), the “Word” is “Logos,” and Logos means “reason,” and where we get the word “logic.”
One of my favorite passages in the bible is an interaction between Jesus and Pontious Pilate in John 18:37-38. Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”
Theologians and scholars have debated this interaction for centuries, but one possible summary is an old saying, “You wouldn’t know the truth if it hit you in the face.” Pilate, representing all of mankind, is staring Truth in the face, asking, “What is truth?”
Jesus says of Truth (John 8:31-32), “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” In John 14:6, He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In our ever-evolving world, it’s essential to differentiate between what’s considered a fact today and the eternal truths that remain unchanged. Facts may be fleeting, but truth is eternal.
When our society, mirrored by our media, shifts from using facts as divisive tools to embracing truth as a unifying force, we will advance toward greater unity and a more prosperous and peaceful community.