There is a critique of truth that is common these days. Often the idea of objective truth gets associated with a kind of pride and egotism in which I hold my positions to be superior to others. Tied to this concept is the idea that truth involves a kind of domination of the other, and that it fundamentally is a repressive force that needs to be transcended. In addition, many contemporary poets and philosophers see the idea of objective truth as a kind of naïve notion which hinders true and genuine thought.
As I have gotten older, I often see that such a critique is not altogether invalid. Some people use truth as a kind of tool of violence. It represents to many people a kind of standard which dictates behavior and society with a kind of rigid, imposed authority. Instead of a force that governs for the common good, this experience of truth puts a limit on human flourishing. In conversations and discussions, this concept of truth doesn’t foster communion, but rather acts to destroy genuine love between neighbors. Dictatorships take on many forms and postures, and there is a sense in which truth can be misused for evil pursuits.
But this is not genuine truth. This is a kind of façade of genuine truth. It looks like the real thing, but it ultimately bears no fruit. Genuine truth doesn’t destroy thought, but rather opens thought to the mystery of reality. Genuine truths and dogmas don’t serve to close off dialogue, but rather open the conversation to a deeper fulfillment, one which goes beyond the surface of things. Furthermore, the highest truth is revealed. It is revealed in nature and it is revealed through God’s intervention in history. This revelation finds its fullest expression in the person of Jesus Christ. Thus truth is not a something, but a someone.
Truth is someone with whom we are called to have a deep and intimate relationship. Like any relationship with another person, our relationship with God is not built on information but rather love. Our relationship with truth goes deeper than words and images. It finds is fullest expression in a deep gaze of love in which the minds rests with the Beloved. Thus truth liberates the person and is the prerequisite for authentic freedom.