Our shared commitment to finding truth

Suppose you and I have fundamentally different views on an issue of the day. (For example, let’s say one of us thinks climate change is caused by human activity and one of us thinks it’s not. Or one of us thinks immigrants improve the economy and one of us thinks they weaken it.) Let us have the grace to put aside for the moment the question of which view (if either) is true. Instead, let us share in our outrage that at least one (and perhaps both) of us is receiving fundamentally misleading information!

We all seek truth, and we all hope to act in a way that leaves the world better for our families and communities. We desperately need each other’s help in finding ways to sort out what is reliable and what is not in this internet age of fake news, corporate spin, echo chambers and political grandstanding. And we all fall victim to confirmation bias every day of the week. The truth is out there — but it is increasingly complex, increasingly context-dependent, and increasingly difficult to untangle from all the surrounding noise. Information is power, so what strategies can we use to seek reliable sources of information? How can we be reliable sources of information? Sources that admit and actively correct their own mistakes?

Suppose one of us has been advocating all our life for greenhouse gas reductions and it turns out that climate change is no big deal and all we have accomplished is to destroy good jobs in the oil and gas industry and upend the surrounding communities. Or suppose one of us has spent our life working to protect the oil and gas economy and it turns out that the resulting greenhouse gases are leading to floods, droughts, famines, war, and destruction all over the world. Or maybe the truth is somewhere in between. We all need each other’s support and compassion if we are to find truth together and grieve and forgive our own culpability in it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.