Thursday, March 27, 2008

What is The Truth?

I am in Orlando for most of the week at a work-related conference, dealing with IT stuff. I was just in a session where they were talking about information quality, which is a big deal since any business these days has to view their data and information contained in their computer systems as an asset to be managed. And of course, with most companies having many different computer systems, there are always problems with this information not matching or being consistent between these systems. For example, have you ever got two of the same magazines or other mailings, both addressed to you but with slightly different names? And a term I keep hearing over and over for fixing this is a need to have a single version of the truth. A single, central repository of information that can always be trusted to be right, correct, the master reference.

It occurred to me as I heard this term again this morning that it seems to be such an oxymoron in our postmodern society, to speak of this single version of the truth. We live in a world that is wary of truth claims, that tends to reject authoritative statements of truth, that often views truth as being an individual decision, a pragmatic determination as to the "truth" that works for you. Funny how this paradigm simply doesn't work in the mundane business world, where absolute numbers and data are a requirement for any kind of success. But so many people seem to have no problem rejecting this need for an absolute and single version of the truth in matters much more important that business, matters like morality and spirituality and eternality. What a paradox this seems to be. We are so fastidious in our business, both corporate and personal, about getting true numbers, but so cavalier about truth in areas that have much more important consequences. A postmodernist would never settle for lack of certainty in things like their bank account, their investment portfolio balance, their utility bills and the like. Yet they are skeptical and highly value uncertainty about eternal questions of God and His nature. Dogmatic about mundane things, but anti-dogmatic about eternal and sacred things.

I guess that's what Paul meant when he wrote to Timothy and said that in the last days men would be lovers of themselves and lovers of money rather than lovers of the truth and lovers of God. Once again, the Word of God is true. It is The Single Version Of The Truth. And thank God for that.

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