Correct me if I’m wrong here. I think the following phrase is as common as everyday expressions like “life is good”, “hang in there”, “works for me”.
“. . . the truth will set you free . . .”One of my favorite movies is Conspiracy Theory. I love conspiracy theories, because they temp you to think outside the box of convention. I was impressed when Patrick Stewart used that line in the movie. The ubiquity of that phrase is on the same level as “it’s a piece of cake”..
One common error about truth is that it can be easily mistaken for what we already understand. And then there’s different kinds of truth. There’s factual truth. A person in the witness box swears to tell the truth. Honesty is telling the truth. The truth can be represented in stating the facts rather than guessing or giving ones opinion.
The truth phrase goes beyond being honest, knowing red from orange and getting the facts straight. If my memory is correct, the first mention of this phrase goes back to about 33 AD. Jesus authored this phrase that has been used over the centuries
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”–John 8:32
What on earth is he talking about? That’s exactly what these Jewish believers wanted to know. The men he’s speaking to represented the new faction of believers and followers in their early stages. They were not aware they needed freedom. As far as they were concerned, they were not in bondage to anyone or anything.
They were confident in who they were; descendants of Abraham, children of Jehovah. Jesus called them liars and children of the devil. Angered by his rebuttal! They were convinced they owned the truth! They were wrong.
That’s the part about this truth thing that gets me. Just when you think you have it, you may not. So there is something more than just getting the facts straight here or telling the truth.
“We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our own judgement as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called the truth could ever be arrived at by such mea ns.” -Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam
Jesus said if we know the truth, the truth will set you free. What could be so powerful that can set me free from my own tricks, convictions and cleverness? If I understand the above quote, it’s saying I must get beyond the information that confirms and pins me inside my defenses.
If all this is true, then there must be something more over the horizon of what I can see, understand and agree with. Something more? But then, there’s always something more. . .