I was reading a comment in my local newspaper the other day, where this right-winger started talking about "truths" regarding gay marriage. And I suddenly realized how often I hear that word from the religious right.
...But it seems to mean something different to them than to the
rest of us. Have you ever noticed that? To the religious right, "truths"
seem to have no connection to reality. "Truths" don't have to be backed
up by evidence. "Truths" don't even need to be true - indeed, they usually
It's a weird use of language, don't you think? Now, as a skeptic, I care what's true and what isn't. I want my beliefs to line up
with reality, as closely as possible. So I want to make sure I have
evidence backing them up. But none of that has any connection to
"truths" as the religious right uses that word.
"Truths," as they
use it, is just a synonym for "beliefs." And since you can believe
anything you want, for any reason you want, they think that "truth" is
whatever you want it to be. They don't bother to supply evidence, or
even reasons backing up their beliefs, because they don't seem to
connect "truth" with "true" - or with reality at all.
This is so common that I've heard at least one atheist say he's stopped using the words "true" and "truth" entirely. Instead, he emphasizes "reality." He simply wants his beliefs to match up with reality. Well, so do I, but I'm not willing to abandon "true."
"Truths," on the other hand,... I can do without, I think. Inevitably, when I hear the word "truths" (sometimes "truth," but usually plural), I'm guaranteed to hear something we have no reason to believe is actually true. Indeed, the vast majority of the time, we have abundant evidence that it's false.
So, my honest advice to the religious right is to give it up, too. Stop using "truths." It just makes the rest of us doubt what you say, before we even hear what it is. Use the word "beliefs." It's a fine word, and it's what you really mean, anyway.
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