Liquid Footprints

Truth and Fact

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Facts and truth are often confused.We often confuse truth with fact. We think facts are true, and truths are facts. Particularly with religion.

According to Webster, truth is (1) : the state of being the case  (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts. Fact is the quality of being actual or something that has actual existence.

The 2 words are related, but also different. They can overlap. Truth can be a body of facts but isn’t a fact. Likewise Fact means something actually exists or happened. Something can be true, but never actually happen. Likewise something can happen and not be a truth.

For example, it is unlikely the desert of Sinai could sustain the million or more people ( Ex. 12:37; Num. 1: 46; Num. 26: 51) suggested in the biblical accounts. However, despite this the account remains true. First, it is probable and highly likely a small group of people did move from Egypt into the desert and into Israel. Archeology supports small group movements in the correct times and places. Next, even if it didn’t factually happen, it remains a truth because of the lessons it teaches and the influences the story held and continues to hold for people.

Another example is Jesus’ resurrection. While it isn’t a fact (in that it has been proven to actually occurred) it is a truth in the lessons and inspiration the event holds for people.

Mainly the different between truth and fact lie in the realm of the mind. Facts are raw knowledge. Truths are bodies of knowledge that don’t need support by facts (although are stronger when they are) but are rather supported by experience. Truths are subjective because they are experienced differently. Facts are hard edged and the same for everyone. Gravity is a fact. The Sermon on the Mount is a truth. Jesus living in Israel during the rule of Augustus is a fact. The Big Bang is a truth.

Facts and Truths are stronger together, but they also conflict. The fact of evolution conflicts with the truth of Genesis in literal reading. However, they are both “true.” One is supported by observable facts; the other is supported by experience. Both truths and facts can be disproved. Facts are easier to do so since they are based on the observable.Facts simply help us understand the actuality of this physical world. Truths are more difficult because they are held in human understanding. It takes time for human understanding to discard truths that are no longer helpful or misguided.

This process of discarding and reinterpreting truth leads us closer to an understanding of God, compassion, and what it means to be human.

Author: Chris

Wanders the world of Japanese culture and library nerdiness.

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