Litany of Facts: By Mitch Todd
Global Warming Is A Myth. (Here, let me show you the facts.)
Global Warming Is Here! (Here, let me show you the facts.)
Republicans know what to do with our money. (Here, let me show you the facts.)
Democrats know what to do with our money. (Here, let me show you the facts.)
Eat bacon and lose weight! (Here, let me show you the facts.)
DON’T eat bacon if you want to lose weight! (Here, let me show you the facts.)
I could go on, but honestly, I’m kind of tired of the litany of “facts”. After a while, it all starts to sound…facticious.
I long for the day when facts were, you know, facts. As a kid, I believed in facts. If a scientist or a researcher or a politician told me something was fact, I believed them. There was something comforting about the solidity of facts. Something that gave the world some structure. A platform you could attempt to build a life on.
And then…I don’t know if it was just me growing up, or maybe the world drifting into post-modernism, but facts started to become slippery. Invariably, for every rock solid belief I held, there was someone else in the world holding an opposite belief just as tightly–clutching onto a different set of facts.
The same is true in Christianity. Just look at the fracturing of the Protestant Church. Now we have hundreds, even thousands of denominations, all claiming to know the facts about belief. (As if such a thing were even possible!) Even within my denomination, the United Methodist Church, individual churches and members may believe very different sets of “facts” when it comes to issues of women in ministry, homosexuality, capital punishment, salvation, etc.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe part of our job as faithful disciples, and citizens of this planet, is to sift through all the facts and come to as faithful a decision as we can on all sorts of issues. And I don’t even think we all have to agree on everything. But I’ve come to realize that you can stack up all the facts in the world and it doesn’t mean you’ll reach the Truth. (Tower of Babel, anyone?)
Truth is mysterious, never fully knowable, and somehow able to transcend all the various facts we attach to it. Truth, for me, is the reality of God’s Kingdom that I can never fully comprehend, but can pledge my every breath to. Truth is potent and powerful.
When I live with Truth first, and facts second, I’m able to see that the person across the spectrum from me may still be in touch with some Truth that I can’t fully see. When I live with Truth, I’m able to see The Issue behind the issues, namely the spread of God’s Love into this world. When I live with Truth, I’m more comfortable saying three magic words: “I don’t know”.
When I try to live with Truth, life is less about building platforms, and more about building relationships. Facts are building blocks, and building blocks can be helpful. But not when they’re used to build walls between people.
Still, I can’t imagine a world without facts. I don’t think I’d want one. Facts certainly have their place.
But a world without Truth?
The would be worse than a world without bacon.
Have a good week,
images by davesblog and caricatura