Who is God? What is truth? The world seems to be spinning out of control over these illusive questions. Opinions are vast and unending but who’s right? Would a definitive answer grant the world peace?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines truth as: “That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.” 1
In a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville proclaimed, “Truth is the silliest thing under the sun. Try to get a living by the Truth—and go to the Soup Societies. Heavens! Let any clergyman try to preach the Truth from its very stronghold, the pulpit, and they would ride him out of his church on his own pulpit banister.” 2
It seems that George Walker Bush ascribes to Melville’s theory of honesty. He would not have made his living as “the war president” had he been telling the supreme reality about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. (I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. -George W. Bush.) 3
“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations resolutions, and we’ve so far discovered two. And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them. -George W. Bush. 4
Truth is, undeniably, illusive. “Who dares – To say that he alone has found the truth?” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 5
“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. -George W. Bush. 6
Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth,” seem to be lost on Mr. Bush.
“All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing “God Bless America. And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.”-George W. Bush. 7
The American Heritage Dictionary defines God as: A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions. 8
This monotheistic belief that there is only one God, (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), has left us with a world soaked in blood. For centuries men have waged war for reasons of greed, thinly veiling their motives behind the honor and truth of their God’s.
In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.” 9 Could the great philosopher, Voltaire, have been correct in his proclamation that, “Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool”?
Comedian George Carlin states the following, “Religion easily—has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”
Atheist, Joseph Lewis, (President of Free Thinkers of America) made a valid point in his writing “An Atheist Manifesto”, “Man’s inhumanity to man will continue as long as man loves God more than he loves his fellow man.”10 Though he had no belief in any God he did believe in respecting his fellow man.
Echoing this sentiment, author Arthur C Clark said, “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.” His fellow science fiction author Isaac Asimov said, “To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.”
The planet is in need of true leaders in favor of peaceful responses to acts of violence. Where are the Martin Luther King Jr’s, Corretta Scott King’s, Rosa Parks’, Linus Pauling’s, Gandhi’s, Mother Theresa’s, of this generation?
In the matter of truth, God, and who is right: It would appear that there is no absolute answer. However, our earth just might be able to live in peace if given over to creative thinkers, artists, and musicians, as an alternative to political and religious destroyers.
Canadain musician David Usher may have said it best in the lyrics of his song, “Devil By My Side”: “Believe that hate will never die. Believe in sex and love in a dangerous time. Believe in grace and your intelligence. Believe in exploring the corners of the mind. Believe your truth is not my truth. That God can exist with many faces at one time. Believe that we will find a way through all of these things” 11
1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000
2. Letter, June 1, 1851, to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Correspondence, vol. 14, The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Lynn Horth, 1993.
3. NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Feb. 8, 2004.
4. Interview of the President by TVP, Poland, Office of the Press Secretary_May 29, 2003.
5. Christus, pt. III, John Endicott, act II, sc. 3, Published 1872.
6 7. Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, Washington, D.C.
Office of the Press Secretary_September 20, 2001.)
8. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000
9. The Critic As Artist.1891.
10. An Atheist Manifesto. 1954.
11. CD, Hallucinations, Track 3, EMI Music Canada/ Capital Records Inc.
Tags: American Heritage Dictionary, Arthur C Clark, Atheist, church, Colin Powell, Corretta Scott King, David Usher, Devil By My Side, Faith, Free Thinkers of America, Gandhi, George Bush, George Carlin, George Walker Bush, God, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melvill, Isaac Asimov, Joseph Lewis, Linus Pauling, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Monotheistic, Mother Theresa, Oscar Wilde, Pamela Detlor, Religion, Rosa Parks, Rules, The Thought Vox, Truth, Voltaire