When Pilate was interrogating Jesus, John records in his gospel that Jesus said, “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate famously and derisively responded, “What is truth?”
So, what is truth?
Take a look at a dictionary and you will find that it is hard to define truth without referring to “true”, but here’s a definition that works for me: “that which is in agreement with fact or reality.”
And so, 2 + 2 = 4 is true. It is truth. Likewise, the earth goes around the sun is truth. These are truths we can all agree with. We can verify them independently, and anyone who argues with truths like this has lost his grip on reality.
But this is truth, too!
But if we return to the conversation between Jesus and Pilate, we see another kind of truth. It is one that not everyone can verify independently. But that fact doesn’t mean there is no truth, or that the claim isn’t true. It only means we can’t verify it.
I am a Christian. I am convinced intellectually and by personal experience (a very strong combination) that there is a God, and He can be known by belief and trust in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I further believe that God is good and loves us. He has always been good to me — even when my life was crumbling around me.
But you may disagree. I cannot take my experiences with God out and show it to you. I can’t convince you by reason that there is a God, because we can look at the same facts and arrive at different conclusions. It doesn’t make me wrong. But it doesn’t make you right if I can’t.
Or to take this outside of religion, let me assert another this truth:
child molestation is wrong.
Most people who read this blog will agree with that moral statement. But there are people who don’t agree with it. Not only are there people who molest children, they have websites devoted to their belief that adults should introduce children into the pleasures of sexual intercourse. If you don’t believe me, just do a google search. I can’t prove to them that it is true that child molestation is wrong.
Our biases control us — if we let them
One only has to observe sports fans watching a game to know that the referee is blind when he makes a call they do not like, but he is a good ref when he makes a call that favors their team. It is often the case that your biases will determine how you perceive the referee’s call. It is an evenhanded, fair-minded sports fan who can praise a referee for a call that adversely impacts his team or favors his team’s opponents. Fans like this exist, but I fear there aren’t aren’t enough of them to take over the world.
Possibly the worst bias is political bias
You might disagree with me on that. After all, horrible wars have been fought over religion, and ISIS is beheading anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their brand of truth. But the fact is: Stalin and Pol Pot killed millions more over atheism and politics than all the religious wars combined.
Even in our country, we can see the bias. In one of my early blogs, Did they, or didn’t they? I spoke about my skepticism that Russia had “hacked the election.” If they did it, I argued, why didn’t someone show us the facts? But for me, once the facts were out, I could see that Russia did indeed hack the DNC (Democratic National Committee) web site and apparently revealed embarrassing information about the Clinton campaign through WikiLeaks in an attempt to influence the election. WikiLeaks denies this, but until they prove otherwise, that’s what I now believe.
I changed my opinion because I try to control my biases. I attempt to be fair.
But is that true of congressional Democrats?
I am not convinced congressional Democrats are interested in controlling their bias. Is that my own bias? If you are a Democrat, you will be sure of it. If you are a Republican, you might be more likely to think I have a point.
But even so, I’d like a chance to explain why I say that to my fellow citizens who are Democrats — and anyone else who cares to read.
When President Trump first alleged that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration, everyone was skeptical. So was I. How could he say something like that without proof? I just rolled my eyes and wondered if there wasn’t anyone who could keep the “Leader of the Free World” from shooting himself in the foot.
But one thing we knew at the time: someone had leaked information about Mr. Flynn that had come from “unmasking” his name in confidential intelligence reports obtained incidentally through surveillance. Everyone said at the time that the surveillance was legal, but the leaking was a clear violation of law. Everyone agreed that the unmasking was highly irregular. No one argued these points. Then.
Even so, the Democrats still seemed more interested in the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. So far, no facts known then supported that allegation, and none support it now, but they continue to look for a connection and ignore an obvious crime because they like the embarrassment it causes their political rival, President Trump.
To me, that is bias.
If Democrats care about Russia revealing Democrat secrets (and they should), shouldn’t they also be concerned with a crime that embarrasses the sitting president? Or do they only care if their party is the one embarrassed?
After way too long a period of charges and counter charges, Rep. Nunes revealed that there was supporting evidence for President Trump’s claims. The Democrats didn’t seem to care about that evidence. They were miffed because he notified the president of what he had found before first telling them. They declared that he couldn’t be impartial and demanded he recuse himself because of his bias.
And yet, were Democrats themselves impartial? Are they now?
Weeks ago, while being interviewed by PBS (the Public Broadcasting System) Susan Rice said she knew nothing about the unmasking at the center of the surveillance controversy. A couple of weeks later, a whistle blower revealed that Susan Rice was the Obama administration official who requested that Trump aides be unmasked. Oops. She now explains that she didn’t know to which “unmasking” reports Rep. Nunes referred. I don’t know about you, but I find that hard to believe. They were talking about unmasking, and she said she knew nothing about it, when she herself had requested the unmasking. What other unmasking could she possibly believe was being discussed?
Her story has changed. Now, she says, the unmasking was only done in the course of her normal duties. Suddenly, unmasking is perfectly normal and acceptable. Democratic Rep. Schiff told us this.
His defense of Ms. Rice strikes me as bias in the highest degree. Democrats don’t seem to be concerned that Susan Rice lied — again. They appear willing to accept her explanation of an obvious un”truth” and ignore it. If there’s a Democrat who’s uncomfortable with what she did and the fact that she hid it, that Democrat is keeping a very low profile. Perhaps the media isn’t reporting the Democratic outcry, but why wouldn’t they?
In Unashamed Hypocrisy, I addressed similar biases that seem so obvious to me, I don’t know how we can ignore them.
And yet, these biases are largely ignored — except by conservatives. Do you believe that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with the Russians? You are far more likely to believe that if you are a liberal Democrat. Do you believe President Trump was illegally subject to surveillance by the Obama administration to achieve political goals? You are more likely to believe that if you are conservative Republican. Like sports fans, we determine the truth based on our biases.
What is the truth of these issues? Where do the facts lay? What conforms with reality? Do we care? I am concerned that our country and liberties will only last if we can answer these (and similar) questions correctly — and the last one affirmatively.