Fact Or Truth?I think if I ever opened a bookshop, or were allowed to shelve a library the way I want to, I would have two sections in it and only two.
One would be for all the reference books, and I would label it "FACTS"
The other section would have all the works of fiction, philosophy and religion, and I would label it "TRUTHS"
Does this mean I think that all religious books and philosohpy books are fiction? Not at all -- only the most literal mind, incapable of stretching to the truth I am trying to convey, would think that. What I mean is that these authors are striving to touch the TRUTHS of the world, of our lives, or our meaning, of our destiny, of our existence.
Have our lives meaning? I don't know. Neither do you. You may think, "Oh, no, I do not believe our lives have meaning, you cannot prove that they do." Well, perhaps, perhaps not. After all, that IS the point I am talking about here. We don't know, but we can try and look, try to see, try to probe, try to imagine, try to think, to ponder, to wonder.
It's all about truths versus facts.
To me the Bible is a book, nothing more, full of stories. Jesus himself taught through stories -- parables -- as was the custom of rabbis of his time. He taught through stories, not through facts, to show the truths as he saw them. There need not have been any actual "good Samaritan" who did the things described to make the story true, it was a story precisely because stories are better at revealing truth, in this case, the truth about charity, compassion, generousity.
No Tower of Babel ever existed, but the idea that we are limited and cut off from each other by the confines of language and words -- especially when trying to discribe the numenous or the emotions -- is True.
Stories are used to describe that which is beyond simple words and facts.
As Hamlet said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Truth exists beyond scientific facts.
Has humanity reached such a level of scientific achievement that there is nothing left to discover? How arrogant someone would be to hold such an opinion -- and how silly they would seem in just a few years. So who is to say that we have not incredible discoveries pending right now that will shatter some of our current 'FACTS" and reveal new "TRUTHS"?
Certainly I do not know. I am a simple person, keeping my side of the street clean, not a prophet or a seer.
But I know that there are TRUTHS that science cannot explain -- truths about love, loyalty, compassion, understanding, generosity. We can posit that there are Darwinian explanations for these, and there well may be. I certianly have no problem crediting survival to Darwinian principles.
But that is also the attitude of the cynic, of the critic, the person who, as Oscar Wilde so brilliantly put it, "Knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Please, a good reference book is worth its price; it is full of valuable FACTS.
A good work of fiction, of philosophy,of religious exploration, of stories, is worth far more, it is full of invaluable TRUTHS.