The truth: Tell it and live it
Chalmers Wilson, III
Oath: I swear by Almighty God that I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Affirmation: I solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm that I will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The world we live in today is one that appears to be growing with more and more division and discrepancies. The early years of the 21st century were marked by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the financial crisis of 2007–2009—also known as the Great Recession—and a sharp increase in global warming. Then there was the severe crippling of the healthcare system, the 2016 election, the COVID-19 pandemic. And, rounding out the list is the current civil unrest and protesting of police brutality against the African-American community. During all of these key moments in history, a question keeps emerging: What is truth, and what is fact? And, why do people keep conflating the two?
When we hear the word “truth,” we often think of it being a concept that’s based in fact or reality. However, truth is often considered to have a grander scope than fact. Truth takes in consideration feelings and beliefs; whereas those have no place in fact. Facts are hard-core evidence, hence they cannot keep constantly changing; a fact remains a fact until proven otherwise. Facts are also universal, and they do not change according to region, cast, culture, religion, or party.
Winston Churchill, a Nobel Prize winner and a world-renowned statesman of the 20th century, wrote: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Some philosophers view the concept of truth as something that is unable to be explained in terms that are easily understood. Truth can also be viewed as an independent reality. There are also varying stances on such questions as what constitutes truth: how to define, identify, and distinguish truth; what roles do faith and empirical knowledge play; and whether truth can be subjective or if it is objective.
In the book “Lessons in Truth: A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity,” author H. Emilie Cady explores the “Personality of Truth” versus the “Individuality of Truth.” The Personality of Truth applies to the mortal part of a person—the external. If one says he or she dislikes someone, the implication is that the “personality”—the exterior—is disagreeable, as opposed to the inner or real person.
On the other hand, “Individuality of Truth” is the term used to describe the inner person. Some may refer to this as the “soul or spirit” of a person. For Christians, the notion is that the more God comes into visibility through a person, the more individualized that person becomes. Based on the biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, God is wisdom, intelligence, love, and power. The more prevalent these qualities are exemplified in a person, the greater one’s individuality becomes.
As John the Apostle wrote: “The truth shall set you free.” Once you know the truth, the bonds and thoughts of others no longer seem to matter. In a real sense, one’s individuality is a distinguishing factor and appears to be a driving force toward the “The Pledge.”
Truth is not the flavor of the month. It is part of one’s innermost being, interwoven in the DNA. This means that in order to be more truthful, one must look inward and understand who they are first. Truth then becomes part of one’s decision-making process and lifestyle. For once someone can define and understand the truth of themselves, they can express their truths outwardly.
Chalmers Wilson, III graduated with a B.S. degree from Florida A & M in 1968. He also is a NAACP life member, retired USDOE (30 years.), and adjunct instructor at Gulf Coast State College, in Panama City, Fla., proprietor of the Community Resource and Historic Preservation Center in the west community of Marianna, Fla., a historic and underserved community.