Craig Mitchell

“Not everything you read on the internet is true.”
—Abraham Lincoln


fact or fiction?

What is the tallest mountain in the world? Is the Earth round or flat? What is the capital of Russia? Easy questions. Simple answers. Facts are incontestable. They can be measured, checked, or verified. Just Google it. One correct answer. Right? Maybe.

We rely on historical and scientific facts for daily life, but every morning brings new theories. New diet cures cancer! Phones cause anxiety! Aliens built the pyramids! Terrorists live in your neighborhood! Today more than ever, information needs to be checked. What really happened? What evidence is provided to support the theory? Can additional evidence be found?

It’s OK to be a skeptic, to question theories and verify facts, particularly when they affect how we live and the choices we make. Don’t just Google it. Think about it.


Close-up of a male elephant with ears extendedyour facts or mine?

There’s an old fable about five blind people touching an elephant for the first time. One is holding the ear and says, “An elephant is leathery and flat.” The person touching the tail says, “No, an elephant is skinny like a rope with hair at the end.” The three people touching the trunk, leg, and side of the elephant also disagree vigorously.

Each person knows some facts about the elephant, but none know the whole truth. Our experience shapes what we believe; our understanding of the world can be subjective.

A matter of perspective. Rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, young or old, victim or oppressor—we all see the world through different lenses. By asking earnest questions and listening to different perspectives, we can construct shared views of reality. Let me hear your viewpoint. Together, we can make sense of what is real.



the facts or the truth?

The four Gospels give accounts of the story of Jesus from different perspectives—similar yet distinct. These stories aren’t simple factual records; something more important is going on.

The stories of Jesus are testimonies to truth told through the eyes of faith. Facts can provide information. Truth is about meaning—what matters and why. The power of Jesus’ parables is in the deep truths they reveal about the kingdom of God.


The truth,” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing,
and should therefore be treated with great caution.” 
—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


truth changes everything

The ultimate truth is not a fact or a belief but a person, Jesus Christ, who is the Way to Truth and Life because he is the reality who is God. Everything finds its true meaning in God. This truth shatters lies, breaks chains, blesses the poor, restores justice, and makes peace. This truth gives faith, hope, and love as free gifts. So truth involves coming to know God more and more deeply. And that’s a fact.

How might we discern truth?

  1. Check facts, and don’t jump to conclusions. Compare what people say.
  2. Be prepared to have your ideas questioned. Remember: you don’t know everything.
  3. Trust people who have proven trustworthy. Learn from the wisdom of others.
  4. Listen to God; dig into Scripture. Allow the Spirit to guide you.



Young meditating female student with bookRead some words from Jesus about truth:

Reflect on these verses. What do they say about your relationship with Jesus? What truths do you wish were clearer for you? Write a short letter to Jesus about this as a prayer.


Craig Mitchell has studied communication and theology among other things. He enjoys fantasy and science fiction novels. Craig lives near Adelaide in South Australia and hopes to time travel one day.

—from devozine (January/February 2019). Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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