I had a very interesting conversation with my co-workers. One of them asked a long while ago the difference between a fact and truth. We had a lively discussion and even did some light research overnight before finishing the topic. The topic came up again today. Officially, I guess, a fact is something that can be proven, whereas a truth is a generally accepted idea which can be based in fact but not necessarily.
We then discussed whether facts were always facts. We decided they were not. When I went to school, it was a fact that Pluto was the ninth planet, but now the fact is that it is not a “real” planet at all but a dwarf planet. Poor Pluto. But my truth tells me that Pluto is a planet and always will be.
For many aeons, the truth was that the earth was the center of the universe and that it was flat, not round like the ancient greeks or Columbus believed it to be. Columbus helped prove that the truth is that the earth is round.
For very young minds, God bless them, there is a simple truth for everything – it’s magic. Why not, it held together cultures for generations. Humans have always had a penchant for knowing, a need to have answers. It really didn’t matter if they were true or factual, just so they made sense. A flaming chariot racing across the sky, why not? I am sure it made sense to someone.
There are many creation stories on how the earth came to be. In ancient Africa, the Bakuba believed that Mbombo, the White Giant, who ruled over a chaotic ocean of water and darkness became sick to his stomach and vomited up the sun, moon, stars, people, trees, animals and many other things.
In India, the god Vishnu awoke with a lotus growing from his navel. Inside the lotus blossom sat Brahma, servant to Vishnu. Vishnu commanded Brahma to create the world, and he did, but it was bare, so he created plants, animals, birds, and insects.
In Mongolian lore, Father Heaven had two sons who ruled the worlds upper and lower. The ruler of the upper world asked a duck to bring up mud to create the earth. When the ruler of the under world saw the ruler of the upper world resting on the earth, he tried to pull him under but the earth spread instead. The ruler of the upper world used mud to create animals and people. The ruler of the underworld spit upon the bodies of the new creations so that they would have diseases and die.
These and many more made perfect sense to those people long ago. Some may even hold these beliefs today. I am sure that the ancient Romans believed as sincerely in their gods as I do in my God. There is no doubt in my mind.
Even in our Bible today, which describes creation, there exists a rift between those who believe it was a literal six 24-hour days and those who view the days as symbolic of long periods, a thousand, or even millions of years.
There is, in the end, a simple truth: God is love and He wants us to love one another. I find it amazing that the Golden Rule is described, in slightly different ways, in more than 20 religions and philosophies. So even in the variations of truth and belief, the message seems to be getting through. In my search for truth, I know that God is Love and it is my responsibility to love others.
Take care, stay well and be safe.