Why the Reaction to “Truth isn’t Truth?”
I don’t always believe clarifications when someone in the public eye tries to explain a controversial comment. But I believe Rudy Giuliani when he says of his statement “truth isn’t truth”: “My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements, the classic ‘he said, she said’ puzzle. Sometimes further inquiry can reveal the truth other times it doesn’t”.
To make myself clear, I believe there is such a thing as truth. God is truth, in His person and as the source of scripture, both of which I hold to as the basis for my life and faith (1 John 5:20). Not only this, but I believe the majority of our societal illnesses are the result of a departure from our reliance on God and His Word as our standards for truth. How can we build a house when we can’t agree on the principles that form its foundation?
But back to Giuliani’s statement.
Why should we be surprised when someone says, “truth isn’t truth”? Is this not the philosophy of our age? Do we not say, “That may be true for you, but it isn’t true for me”?
Is truth relative or is it absolute? If it is absolute, then, truth is always truth. If it is relative, then, truth isn’t truth, or at least not necessarily truth.
I have not scoured the news reports in reaction to Giuliani’s words, and I don’t mean to demonize political camps. But, I suspect, were I to investigate those who seemed shocked at the idea that “truth isn’t truth”, I would discover some of them actually believe what they pretend not to believe. The more honest reaction might be, “You are right Rudy. In our culture we create our own truth, but I intend to prove my truth is more reliable than yours.”
There are many statements throughout history that have challenged our moral compass. Perhaps you are old enough to remember when John Lennon of the Beatles said, “We are more popular than Jesus.” Was he right? Probably so, if the group’s dominance of the world stage and mass media were the criteria. Probably not, if one were to take into consideration the millions of people at the time who didn’t follow or appreciate John Lennon and the Beatles.
I am not naïve to the struggle for truth, or the dilemma of how we interpret it once we find it. While I believe God is the source of absolute truth, I realize there are many opinions on how that truth should be applied. There will always be tension when we try to discern the relationship between things like mercy and justice or love and discipline.
It is actually unfortunate that truth has been caught up in the countless opinions we share. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean there isn’t an ultimate source of truth.
My point in all of this is, before we make a big deal out of Rudy Giuliani’s comments, we should consider that, perhaps, he is merely describing what has become reality in our culture. Maybe, we no longer believe the truth is the truth.
We behave as if it isn’t.
We say it isn’t.
Why should we be surprised when someone calls it the way it is?
Sounds like the truth to me.