Picture a courtroom. Now envision a man standing before judge and jury, placing one hand on the Bible and the other in the air, and making a pledge. For the next few minutes, with God as his helper, he will “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” He is a witness. Leave it to the attorneys to interpret, the jury to resolve, the judge to apply. The witness simply speaks the truth. We don’t like the truth because it reveals something about our character, our performance, and our relationships. So we cover it up. We justify. We rationalize.
We’ve replaced truth with tolerance as culture’s absolute. Tolerance has replaced truth as the cardinal virtue of our society. Tolerance used to mean that everyone had a right to their own opinions. Today, tolerance considers everyone’s beliefs, values, lifestyle, and truth claims as being equally valid. So not only does everyone have an equal right to their beliefs, but also all beliefs are equal. The new tolerance goes beyond respecting a person’s rights; it demands praise and endorsement of that person’s beliefs, values, and lifestyle.
We have cheapened truth. People are apt to say “Something may be true for you but not true for me” in the same way one person likes chocolate ice cream while another prefers vanilla. Everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own truth. Truth can be received, ignored, or rejected, but it cannot be created by the likes of mere mortals. Let’s start today by telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God”!