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Essay about Truthfulness


The are some basic concepts that people use on a regular basis, and which to a large degree make our interaction with the world and with others meaningful. The notion of truthfulness definitely belongs to the list of such important conceptions, and can even be considered superior to many other ones as without our assurance that our beliefs are truthful we can hardly claim that we have knowledge of something, which in its turn would clearly render us quite helpless in our everyday life. Considering the significance that truth as such has in our life, let us take a look at one instance when there seems to be a conflict over what is truthful. This instance is represented by the ubiquitous attempts to interpret and reconcile literal truth, which constitutes the methodological basis of the modern science, and spiritual truth, which underlies religious and emotional experiences of people.

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First of all, we should define what we mean when we say that something is truthful. Already at this point, opinions diverge as on the one hand truthfulness means correspondence of a belief to the objective reality, and from another point of view the notion of truthfulness may be expanded to include firm intuitive sentiments of people that may be linked with the statement ‘I believe that . . .’, followed by a proposition that neither can be verified, nor disproved. Whatever rightful objections critics voice in relation to this latter approach to the formation of truthful statements (Williams 2002, pp.63-83), it must be acknowledged that many people consciously or subconsciously apply it in our everyday life, otherwise lotteries would perhaps not be so popular. Speaking seriously, we may suppose that the notion of literal truth is based on the first definition that demands that correspondence with the objective reality be maintained, and the latter type of subjective, and not less widespread for that matter, truth can be qualified as spiritual truth. Now, the fact that both types of truth have the right for existence does not mean that one should not strive to differentiate between them. Instead, when trying to come to a conclusion an individual should consciously be able to separate facts that pertain to literal truth and facts that are of subjective origin. This skill of rational thinking would be of great help for interpretation of numerous and often conflicting ‘truths’ claimed by different religions. For example, the clear understanding that the spiritual realm of human psychology is usually less susceptible of rational argumentation may help alleviate widespread and often unnecessary debates about the compatibility of Biblical accounts of creation contained in Genesis and scientific theories of the Earth`s origin and evolution of life (Shannon 1981, pp.29-46). Whatever paradoxical it may seem, both points of view have the right for existence as science has an overwhelming literal evidence for its claims, while religious position is maintained by far too many people who would continue to promote what for them is spiritually truthful, albeit in a somewhat different sense.


Shannon, Foster H. “God is Light: A Case for Christianity
Today”. Green Leaf Pr, 1981.
Williams, Bernard. “Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in
Genealogy”. Princeton University Press, 2002.

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