By Dr. Dennis Acop
The truth always lies somewhere. It always does whether one deals with it from a secular or non-secular perspective. At no time has truth been maligned so much than it is now. I was born in the early sixties and I still saw when truth best arrived at was the norm whenever it came to putting anything down on print. Best efforts at depicting the truth was the default. And it came from the consciousness of responsible minds who knew that divulging information to the public had very far-reaching effects. All the more reason to avoid disseminating falsehoods lest the world is wished to burn than wished well. So why is the truth twisted around so much these days? Will truth, the absolute truth ever see the light of day? Finally?
With almost six decades of formal and practical wisdom to back up my research, I think I have got enough in my tank to forward some insights on the matter. Secular and non-secular understandings combined. Self-interest lies at the core of truth distortion. Whether it is protecting oneself from physiological or emotional pain to advancing one’s ego, self-preservation is key motivator to selfishness. It is almost tempting to say that without any compass besides one’s self, any person’s perception has to be that which advances himself. Period. Everything else is a lie at worst and a quibbling at best. People distort the truth for wealth, power, honor, and pleasure. They do so for worldly gain. People steal and lie about it in order to become rich. They distort the truth about costs to earn more and pay less taxes. There are public servants who lie about their statements of assets and liabilities in order to hide ill-gotten wealth. There are incumbents and political candidates who frustrate the truth about the electoral process through guns, goons, and gold. As a SAF trooper in 1988, we once arrested a retired general running for public office in Ilocos Norte who had a cache of illegal firearms in his car trunk while campaigning. Good thing he lost his mayoralty bid. But he lied through his teeth. There are many who hide behind the falsehood of being honorable men when the truth betrays that. Of course, these men never see it that way. Truth to them is only what is seen out in the open but not what actually transpires from hidden view. With such confidence, belligerent men not only trod upon the gullibility and naïveté of ignorance and innocence, but promote fake news as evidence of non-wrongdoing. There is also lack of truth even in pleasure when there is infidelity in a marriage for instance or immorality in a life lived. The truth remains the truth even when there is almost not a soul around to witness it. What goes on in the mind and heart when one performs an illegal or immoral act is not unknown to the conscience. Even atheists and agnostics have this. We all have it. Therefore, we know the truth. To believe otherwise is simply untrue.
Truth gains its power from the author of truth. God Himself. Truth Himself. Believers are able to arrive at and live truth out more because they are not based on their self-preservation but on the Truth that sets them free. That even when truth leads them to their death, they know they shall live. This disposition allows people with faith to not be afraid of truth even when truth puts them at a disadvantage. The disadvantage is accepted by a believer who knows that such disadvantage is earthly and merely temporal compared to the eternal glory that awaits him. The believer, like the early martyrs, is therefore unafraid. Adherence to the truth also empowers believers to live out truth. That is why we see people who remain honest despite the allure of dishonest gold. Why we still hear of individuals who said NO to power despite all the great advantages and comforts that power can command. Why there are still people who recognize that real honor never lies on human titles, positions, and entitlements but from every word that comes from the mouth of God. These two are so incompatible by the way. I say this because there are actually so many people today who think they can serve both God and mammon. This cannot be for one is the enemy of the other. How can one say one believes in God when one disobeys the Ten Commandments? One is true. The other is not. How can one claim to be honorable in entitlement when one is dishonorable in conduct and character? If one cannot even be true to his wife, how can he be true to his avowed profession or advocacy? One is true. The other untrue. I had been a member of the honorable and noble profession of arms. Where honor meant prosecuting combat power annihilating enemies but with conscience. Where honor meant duty and country without graft and corruption. I saw all that even as I also did see others who betrayed that honor. I was heartened by colleagues who epitomized honorable conduct and character. And I disdained, even to this day, others who blemished the uniform by their dishonor. Some can live through dishonor. Some can live through lack of truth. But it is only in moving towards God that we find our true identities having been created in the image and likeness of God. We have moved too far away from this our true destiny and found ourselves lost in the wilderness where worldly ambitions and selfish pride have taken away our true identities. When you dress up in the morning and see yourself through the mirror. What do you see? What is your truth?