What Is Truth?

By Erick Erickson |  The Resurgent

What is truth? The dictionary defines truth as “the quality or state of being true.” So then what is true? The dictionary defines true as “in accordance with fact or reality.” Scripture tells us that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.”

What does that mean? Well, in short, it means Jesus is reality — God is real and factual and existent. Christians are to walk in that truth. We, as Christians (assuming here that you are), have an obligation to fact and reality because Jesus is fact and reality. We harm our witness for the truth of the gospel when we are unwedded from fact and reality. We cannot say the resurrection is real when we say an ascertainable, real fact is false. No one will believe us.

All of us are allowed to look at facts and reality and process them differently. We are allowed to arrive at different outcomes arrived at through experience and learning we use to examine the same set of facts and reality. But the underlying facts and reality are common to all. A progressive and a conservative can look at a homeless person and both recognize there is a problem. The progressive can determine we need more taxes for the government to take care of the homeless. The conservative can decide we need churches and nonprofits and the family of the homeless to step up. Neither is negating the problem. They are accepting the truth of the situation, i.e. there is a homeless person in need of help, and arriving at different conclusions.

What is not allowed is your truth and my truth. The truth is in accord with facts and people talking about their own truth are talking about emotions more often than not. That leads me to this picture that is going around on conservative corners of social media. I drew the red BS on it.

This picture is designed to minimize concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus. But it is not true. It is not the truth. If Christians are supposed to walk in truth and be grounded in truth, then to disseminate this is to sin because this is such a willful distortion of truth as to be a lie. A lot of Christians on social media are sinning.

SARS broke out *after* the 2002 election and was worse in 2003. Avian flu first broke out in 1997 and came back later, in an odd-numbered year, in a more deadly variety. Swine flu came out in 2009. MERS occurred in 2014, but in Saudi Arabia, then hit South Korean in 2015. Ebola has been happening for years in Africa. It is a particular bit of American arrogance to assume Africans are hemorrhaging to death with Ebola to impact an American election.

Likewise, while the “cure rate,” which is actually a recovery rate, for this virus is very high for people under 50, it actually has a higher mortality rate than the flu or pneumonia. It is also more easily spread than the flu or pneumonia.

The good news is that way more people have probably contracted it, so the mortality rate is lower. But even in the best estimates, it is higher than the flu. Likewise, above the age of 60 the mortality rate increases pretty dramatically and at some estimates stands at 15%. The bad news is that serious symptoms usually take upwards of 14 days to develop and most of the people diagnosed in South Korea have been diagnosed in the last ten days. We will see how this plays out. It is also worth noting that South Korea is testing everyone, including with drive-thru testing clinics, and that has impacted the numbers there. It also gives us a better snapshot of how the virus spreads.

These are the facts. This is the truth. This virus spread from China. The Chinese failed to tell anyone then refused to release critical data until they could not contain it. By the time they started aggressive measures, the virus was already spreading globally. They did not do this to mess with the American election. In fact, this whole situation is destabilizing the communist regime there.

Put another way, the Irish would not cancel St. Patrick’s Day and the Italians would not shut down their country for a “viral pneumonia being hyped as The Black Plague before an [American] election.”

If you are bound to truth, commit to it. Neither you nor I will get everything right, but we should make best efforts instead of sharing viral memes that reinforce our own partisan tribalism.

Read the read on my substack page.

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