Throughout history, many of our greatest atrocities have been begun, carried out, and applauded in the name of religion. Wars, murder, torture, and more—often, ironically, in the name of what professes to be a loving and benevolent god.

Now, I am a follower of Jesus, and I believe that the truth is worthy of action, and even radical (if not violent) action. I doubt very much that many of us have found ourselves on the verge of kicking off an inquisition or a holy war. Still, when you are really, truly devoted to an ethos or a faith, one of the most difficult questions is how you relate to others of opposing faith… or still more difficult: different interpretations of the same faith.

I’ve often said in the past that pain demands a response. I might now add that truth, when it is invested with belief and understanding, also demands a response. But when that truth is the subject of sharp disagreement, you have the recipe for one of the great human conflicts. Something that has divided friends, churches, and marriages, and set brother against brother throughout recorded history. But though the question of ultimate truth is beyond our scope here, I think we can at least touch on some important concepts, which may help us to keep both the peace and our conscience.

There’s a popular idea today that truth is subjective, and that the best thing is therefore to live out “my truth” while still respecting “your truth.” As a follower of Jesus, I disagree with the idea of subjective truth, but I think there is, nevertheless, something valuable in this idea of “my” and “your” truth, if it is interpreted the right way.

None of us, after all, will ever know the total truth of everything, and at times even small missing details can transform the big picture. So in talking about life’s deeper truths, it is important to keep in mind that no matter how wise or educated or experienced we may be, our understanding of the truth is still not the same as the truth.

In realizing this, a lot of the burden is lifted. Of course, we may still need to discuss and even argue, but in knowing the limits of our understanding, we are freed (and obliged) to do so in humility, without condemnation. This, I think, is the right spirit for pursuing spiritual truths. We are like the blind men with the elephant, each of us possessing a part of the truth, but blind to other parts of it. However, it must be acknowledged that the elephant exists, independently of our own observations. Consequently, though we must respect one another, our ultimate goal is not simply in expressing and glorifying our own perspective, but in seeking a truth which is higher than our own subjective interpretations.

Have a blessed, wonderful day!

Dr. Alex Loyd



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