The truth about truth i

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal observes that it took the radio 38 years to reach 50 million people.  The television took 16 years; the internet took 4; and Facebook reached the same size audience in only 2 years.  Those numbers illustrate the speed with which networking and communication is changing; but it also says something about our notions of truth.

For twenty-first century Americans, truth is data.  It can be assembled, elaborated, and disseminated.  Put it another way, we equate information with the truth.

What is harder to discern is what, out of a veritable mountain of data, is true; and from what we count as true, we find it difficult what to say is the significance of what we know.

In John’s gospel, which makes famous use of the word truth, and, more generally, throughout Scripture, truth is something far more profound than data or information.

Truth lives, loves, and frees.

More on all three truths about truth in the days to come.

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


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