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My Truth  

I heard something the other day that nearly curled my toes and curdled my milk. Some guy was relating a personal incident that he summarized with the phrase, "that's my truth."

Like a noxious weed, this expression is invading the landscape of American thought. The big deal? Truth and personal experience are both treated as equals. But there's an ocean of difference between the two.

Truth operates independently of experience. Experience is personal, flexible, and open to interpretation. Truth is impersonal, fixed, and not open to interpretation. Truth exists outside of opinion—yours or mine.

For me to claim that water boils at 212 degrees is not “my truth.” It is truth. To say that Sunday follows Saturday is not “my truth.” It is truth.

Experience, on the other hand, is highly personal and driven by taste. One person’s bad experience with Mexican food is another person’s culinary delight.

When we elevate experience to the level of truth, truth is the loser because it is stripped of any objective measurement. But this is exactly what society has done. Unnerved by judgments our culture despises, we have erased our guilt by elevating experience to the realm of truth. That way, any experience can be called good or truthful—particularly those behaviors that were formerly believed to be harmful. At the same time, those old-fashioned souls who believe in old-fashioned truth are dismissed or ignored or ridiculed (they are, after all, old-fashioned).

The journey is hardly surprising. When a society is determined to call evil good and good evil, it has no choice but to redefine truth as experience. This way, the "new truth" can be melted and molded as needed while still wearing that bullet-proof, don't-mess-with-me reputation that real truth still has.

Jesus didn’t say “I am a truth”—meaning one among many.  He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Language matters—and that’s the truth.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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