Truth

by Marlene J. Geary
Chair, Sunday Services Committee
Unitarian Universalist Society: East
Manchester, CT, USA

“I call that mind free which…calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come…” – Rev. William Ellery Channing

“What may appear as Truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is hon­est effort, it will be realized that what appear to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree.” – Ghandi

It requires a certain amount of freedom to be able to seek the truth. In April our ministry theme called us to consider freedom. We affirm and pro­mote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning in our lives. But what is truth?

We start out believing as true the things we feel, taste, touch, see and hear. Then we discover tangible evidence that sensory truth is distinct and subject to biology. It’s a surprise when we learn that humans interpret colors differently. We’re amazed to find that cilantro reeks of stinkbugs and soap to some and offers a sharp lemony flavor to others.

Our circle of learning expands: we begin to see that experiences shape truths as well. Family, home, neighborhood, education and religious up­bringing all contribute to how we filter truth in our lives.

As Unitarian Universalists, we seek to ex­pand the filters of biology and experience. We are invited to examine the validity of what we believe is true. We are asked to keep searching to stretch the boundaries of our beliefs as a part of our spiritual growth.

Consider these questions when you are thinking about truth this month:

What does truth mean to you?

Who gets to decide when something is true?

How do you seek the truth?

Has the truth ever changed for you?

How would you respond to someone who be­lieves their religious creed is truth?

Are the UU Principles & Purposes a form of truth?