Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Truth vs. Fact

Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. stood in front of his pupils at Barnett College and insisted, "Archeology is the search for fact...not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall. So forget any ideas you've got about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and 'X' never, ever marks the spot."

Of course, as the remainder of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade unfolds, the intrepid adventurer does indeed find a lost city, travel halfway around the world, and start digging at a huge, this-is-the-place "X".

Okay, so Indiana Jones isn't always correct in his classroom assertions. He did, however, make an interesting distinction between "fact" and "truth".

Something can be factual without necessarily embodying truth. In fact (to play with the words a bit), something can be true without being truth (at least in the sense meant most of the time in this space). 2 + 2 = 4 is factual, but it won't really satisfy the soul in search of Truth.

But this doesn't mean that facts and truth have no fellowship with each other. To paraphrase James, show me your facts without faith, and I will show you my faith because of the facts.

Indeed, if the Truth I embrace ignores the facts of the world I inhabit, can it truly be called truth?

No amount of reasoning can prove spiritual things to be factual, and yet, one need not...one must not...check their brains at the door of the church.

Truth is...Jesus said to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37)


  1. It's a little backwards.

    No amount of reasoning can prove spiritual things to be factual...that's correct.

    But spiritual claims that make empirical predictions can be falsified; and often are.

  2. Agreed that predictions are capable of being falsified. Case in point, cult-like groups that pinpoint a date for the end of the world...which then passes with no apocalypse in sight.

    Is that the kind of thing you were thinking of when you said that spiritual claims often are falsified?

    (hewhocutsdown...interesting name...lumberjack?)