Truth is that which is true (The World Book dictionary, 1979 ed.).
Truth also means the fact or facts. There are numerous truths or facts. 1 + 1 = 2 is a truth. The statement that “The earth rotates and revolves around the sun” is truth because that is true and a fact. The statement that man absorbs oxygen and expels carbon dioxide through breathing is also truth.
Why does man seek truth? Man seeks truth because truth helps man achieve better survival or happiness/prosperity. Religionists identify their god with truth. Religionists believe that their god created truth and that only the word of their god is truth. But religionists’ god is the creation of man. Truth is only discovered and not created or invented. Truth is the tool or means with which man obtain increased chance of survival or happiness/prosperity. Therefore, truth is not the subject; man is the subject. In other word, truth is for man; man is not for truth.
Religionists tend to worship truth or truth-giver. Religionists identify God with truth itself. Scientists do not worship truth or truth-finders. It is good to respect or honor those who have discovered truth. But it is wrong to worship truth or the truth-discoverer.
The utility or benefits of truth comes when we understand the truth and we use or live up to the truth, not worship the truth or truth-giver. For example, the universal law of gravity was discovered by Newton. (Newton did not invent the law.) If one worships the law of gravitation or Newton or prays to Newton, he/she does not have any benefit. Benefits come only when we live or work according to the law of gravity in our lives. If people understand the law of gravity and live up to it, they benefit even if they do not know Newton or God. If one steps on the surface of water without any safety measure, he/she sinks into the water or becomes drowned no matter how hard he/she worships the law of gravity or pray to Newton or God. The Bible says Jesus walked on the water. That was not fact. If Jesus did so really, that was to violate the law of nature or God. Jesus or God himself cannot or should not violate the truth or law of nature even if the law of nature was created by God himself.
The right way to discover the truth is to have questions about matters or phenomena or to doubt existing knowledge for better understanding. These are what scientists do. Of course scientists can make mistakes. But the greatness of science is that scientists are always ready to recheck or correct existing knowledge and choose better truth/knowledge. Science is rational and objective; there is no racial, tribal, or sexual discrimination in science. If one lives up to the law of gravity, he/she benefits regardless of his/her race, sex, age, or nationality.
However, in religion, “infallible truth” is given once and for all through revelation that religionists think of as the word of God. Principally, religions forbid the acts or efforts of questioning, examining, changing, or improving their truth/knowledge. This is because religionists regard their truth/knowledge as given by an all-knowing or infallible god. Logically speaking, infallible or perfect truth does not need any change or improvement. This is the reason religions keep the knowledge or doctrines of ancient priests whose knowledge of and outlook on the world were quite limited or incorrect compared to later generations. If any one questions or tries to correct or improve the existing truth or doctrines, he/she is regarded by orthodox religionists as the heresy or the agent of the devil.
As a rule, the truth or knowledge of a religion is fossilized at the moment the truth or knowledge is proclaimed by the leaders of the religion. All the laws or wisdom or customs written in the religious scriptures are the fossils of the opinions/knowledge of the ancient religious leaders. But the knowledge or law or customs change over time and there occur the problems of the discrepancy between the reality and the religious authority.
How do religionists solve the problem of such discrepancy? They do solve such problem by mobilizing the cutting-edge techniques called “figurative interpretations.” When the “infallible truth” of God in the scripture is questioned or challenged by laypersons or dissenters, religionists say that the words of the most high should be interpreted not literally but figuratively. But the problem is that figurative interpretations differ from priest to priest, denomination to denomination, and sect to sect. This is the principle by which religions always divide and make enemies of each other.
Religionists apply the convenient technique of figurative interpretation to almost all words or teachings of their lords. But strangely enough, religionists do not apply such techniques (figurative interpretation) to such items like paradise, hell, miracles, eternal life, judgment, devil, demon, etc. Jesus once acknowledged that the kingdom of God (paradise) was figurative one and not literal one by saying, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; the kingdom of god is in the midst of you” (Luke 17: 20-21). How about hell, miracle, eternal life, demons, Satan, etc.?
In science, the terms or concepts are defined as clearly and unambiguously as possible in order to prevent any mistakes misinterpretation from happening. But religionists are proud of the fact that God gave (gives) truth in secrets—parables, allegories, or symbols. If that is true, God is very unthoughtful or wicked agent because the discrepancies of the figurative interpretations of his words are the main cause of incessant disasters in this world. If lawmakers of a nation write law in secret code or allegory or symbols, such lawmakers are bad or irresponsible people. If God really gave his truth in secrets or parables or symbols, God must be the trouble-giver and not the truth-giver.
(This article is from Two Kinds of Gods by the author.)