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Freedom and Fulfillment 13
Stand-alone Chapter - The Priceless Value of Truth
Chapter 13 - The Priceless Value of Truth
In 1849, while serving as a missionary in Stratford-upon-Avon[i] twenty-two-year-old John Jaques pondered the biblical verses wherein Pontius Pilate asked Jesus several questions. During that interview, Jesus declared, "To this end was I born, and 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." Pilot countered, "What is truth?" If Jesus gave a response, it is not recorded (KJV John 18:37-38).
After pondering those words, Jaques wrote a poem, which was simply titled "Truth." Here are the first two stanzas:
Oh say, what is truth? ’Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.
Yes, say, what is truth? ’Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire.
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:
’Tis an aim for the noblest desire.
In the dictionary, truth is defined as reality or as a verified fact or principle.[iii] In psychology, the failure to discern what is true, or denial of reality is considered a form of psychosis that is often associated with schizophrenia and other types of mental illness. Our biggest political problems are caused by two kinds of people: Those who tell ideological lies and those who believe them.
The ability to discern truth, the wisdom to value it, and the willingness to live by it are among the most important issues of life. If we do not seek to discover truth and align our lives with it, we can be easily tricked, trapped, or oppressed. If we are willing to seek and follow the truth our freedom and fulfillment can be infinite.
By definition, there is no such thing as "my truth" or "your truth."[iv] There is only truth,[v] which is often opposed by opinion. In the wise words of Lawrence W. Reed,[vi] "Perverting the truth into a partial truth or an outright lie is a sure sign of rottenness of character… No society becomes or remains free if it puts anything higher on life’s pedestal than pure, unadulterated, objective truth."
One of the best ways to understand something is to carefully define its opposite. We comprehend better by comparing opposites such as: hot to cold, wet to dry, and sweet to sour. So, what is the opposite of truth? There is a long list of antonyms,[vii] some of which are: falsehood, lying, hypocrisy, delusion, propaganda, treachery, and deception.
No emotionally healthy person likes being deceived or feels good about lying. Deception is a violation of expectations that destroys relationships. So, why does it happen? Usually, people lie in order to facilitate theft, get power, or for some other kind of gain or advantage. Deception is not an honest mistake. It's intentional.
Falsehood between individuals is tragic. But when it is legitimized as part of an ideology, it is dangerous and destructive. For example, many people and groups believe and teach that: The End Justifies the Means. In other words, they believe that any falsehood or atrocity is justifiable, and even beneficial, as long as it advances the desired cause.
Since its beginning, the Marxist movement has followed an "End Justifies the Means"[viii] program of deceit and destruction. F.A. Hayek explained it this way:[ix] "The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule; there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves 'the good of the whole.'"
Since false promises often lead to captivity and death, deceptive tyrants, past and present, set the context for the third verse of John Jaques' lyrics:
The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp
When with winds of stern justice he copes.
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.
Learn to identify and resist the perpetrators of deception and their destructive lies. Many of them proudly proclaim their intention to tear down and destroy productive capitalism and replace it with consuming collectivism. Many politicians and celebrities have jumped on the lying-leftist bandwagon. But even liars can learn to love the truth. (John 8:31-32)
The ancient prophet Amos seems to have foreshadowed current times when he said: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." (KJV Amos 8:11-13)
There is certainly a flood of deception and a famine of truth in the land. May our hearts and minds be open to the urgency of standing with those who love truth and freedom.
This is a new version of the Truth anthem which includes original tracks of acoustic guitar, orchestra, piano, vibraphone, and vocal harmonies.