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Who Possesses the Truth?

I have been thinking lately about the idea of truth and who possesses it. I spend a good amount of time writing about political and economic issues on my personal blog, my Liberty Stop site, and my Twitter Account @tkinder. When I was younger, I saw the world as pretty black and white across the board – politics, religion, morality, economics, etc. I still believe, for instance, that freedom and liberty in the economic and spiritual arenas are far better than the alternative. However, as I get older, I am less prone to automatically assume that everyone who disagrees with me does so due to bad motives, poor character or sinister intentions. Perhaps some do. However, recently my approach has been to attempt to gain a deeper understanding of why others believe what they do. By no means does this mean I am going to change my mind. At forty plus years old I am not apt to change my mind every time I hear a new argument.

On Twitter, there are often heated debates over the issues. Some of the debates are pretty interesting. Many of the debates quickly degenerate into name calling, finger pointing and accusations. Much of this is short hand and preaching to the choir. Don't get me wrong, someone has to preach to the choir. To me, the more interesting challenge is to talk to those who don't necessarily agree with me. I try to bring up points they might not have thought about, ask them questions, draw analogies, point out interesting sources of information, poke holes in their arguments, etc. Many people, I find, can't or won't offer supporting points for their beliefs for very long. This may be because they haven't really thought about what they believe, assume others believe as they do, think their point of view is obvious, and true, etc. Some attempt to distract, change the subject, point the finger or otherwise shift the focus. Others you can almost see the wheels turning in their mind, thinking about the pros and cons of the issue we are discussing.

It's an interesting process. As the years pass I am more confident in the things I know, but also find there is much that I don't know. After years of living in a glass house, I am not so willing to throw stones. I like the story in the Bible where Jesus says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I'm far from perfect. I strive to be better. Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wrote:

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

That seems to be pretty good advice. Who possesses the truth. In my opinion, God possesses the truth. I possess an imperfect version of his perfect truth. I am seeking His truth. I am seeking to understand others. None of this changes the absolute truth. However, we live in an imperfect world. Our understanding is imperfect. I make mistakes. There are times I am wrong. I have changed my mind. If you read what I write, you'll likely see I'm not in the habit of changing my mind like a runway model changes clothes. But, it's hard to know what you believe unless you talk with others and attempt to explain what you believe. One of the best ways to learn is teaching. When you seek to teach others, you need to become extremely familiar with the subject matter. You must become an expert. Do teachers know everything? No. Neither do I.

I am just one person, taking another step, grasping for the truth in a darkly lit world. I probably won't find it in this life, but I'll keep trying until I draw my last breath. Maybe you'll be the one who helps me take the next step?

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