I grew up religious religious religious Christian, with a very absolute view of truth. The Bible is true. This pastor is true. Right and wrong are true and false. Black and white are wrong and right. True.
In this religious atmosphere, badness was everywhere. Movies were bad. Dancing was bad. Drinking was bad. Secular books and music was bad. The world was BAD. And that was TRUTH. It contributed, I’m noticing now as I really dive into noticing my beliefs about life and the world around me, I’m noticing that it contributed to a hypersensitivity (in me at least, maybe others absorbed it differently) to the world – a worry that everything is bad. A belief that everything is bad. Most things are bad. Look for bad. Bad is waiting to get you. Demons, mistakes, sins, sinful people, sinful things.
Also this religious upbringing with its absolute truth, caused me to look for absolute truth. What is true about the world? What is true about my situation right now? What is true about that other person? And this led me to a trap of overanalyzing every damn thing in the whole wide world, and every situation, and other people and quite honestly wasting a lot of time and energy and getting nowhere. A quest for understanding, I could call it, but it was really a quest to be RIGHT, because the religious upbringing made me need to be right. If I was wrong, I was dead in hell.
(Side tangent – I don’t know if Judaism does this too. I know the hell thing isn’t such an issue, but God’s love may be an issue. If I am not right, does God love me? If I do wrong, does God love me? For many I’ve met, this isn’t an issue. God’s love for them is felt dearly despite their actions, but for others they’re waiting for God to punish them at every turn.)
So what I realized today is the question: “What is true?” is completely relative. While this sounds like I’m advocating relativity over absolute truth, I don’t think I am. I personally still believe in some absolute truths, events like the Torah being given on Sinai like I mentioned in my blog To My Agnostic Cousin.
The question “What is true?” especially when we are asking it about our personal life circumstances (as opposed to religious or historical events), will lead to a lot of mental anguish. You can find evidence for both sides of almost any coin, and you’re not a prophet and neither am I. None of us have a direct line to God’s brain or His interpretation of our lives. If we have emuna, we will answer the question “What is true?” with “It’s absolutely true that this life circumstance is for my best from God out of His love for me.”
Will I finish my book? Yes, I am going to finish it no matter what. No, I’m probably going to lose interest and let it go. What is TRUE? No one knows!! It’s future events and prophecy, so a waste of time to speculate. A better question about this and about most things is, “What do I WANT to be true?” I want it to be true that heck yeah, I’m going to finish it! This question taps us into our desires and hopes and highest intentions. So now, I can just believe my highest hope and desire. Yes, I’m for sure going to finish. I can choose to believe that truth. And by choosing to believe it, I’ll increase the likelihood that it becomes a fact.
I could overanalyze and paralyze myself with doubt and wonder and worry over the question What is true? Will I finish it or not? But that will just waste time I could spend writing and feeling awesome about life. Smile and wink.
What’s your question? What are you asking yourself what’s the truth about? Can you ask instead, “What do I want to be true?” Then believe the answer. Try it!!