How important is truth?

I struggle with this question. I dislike conflict, yet dislike untruths being expressed. When it is friends and family who express those untruths as is often the case regarding Covid on Facebook and elsewhere, it creates angst as I read those posts. Of course, the same thing happens here on this forum, as views are expressed as fact that I know are unsupported fiction. How far to we go to correct them? What determines our response? What do we risk sacrificing in our pursuit of "being right?’
At times I do confront false assertions, then am anxious about both the response and causing pain to those I have confronted. Is it OK to let falsehoods stand? I guess the question is how do we have the wisdom to know:
Proverbs 26:4-5
New International Version
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

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Unless there is danger to the person you think is mistaken or to others, then all that matters is your belief that the other person is likewise motivated to arrive at the truth. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, you aren’t likely to be successful and things can become unpleasant as you know. One other factor is, if they do seem motivated to seek the truth, do they have enough background knowledge to follow relevant information? If not, and you care about maintaining the relationship, it’s probably a no-go. Of course with COVID there is definitely danger present.

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Good question! I’ve experienced similar dilemmas. I think it’s harder on social media because that often involves people I know in person and see regularly, so I’m more hesitant to disagree with someone else’s post (and I’ve sometimes done it and regretted it). In a forum like this, where discussion of difficult issues is central to the goal, it’s easier to disagree because I’m less worried that people will take it personally.

Sometimes if I see a friend post something blatantly false that is easy to fact check, I’ll comment with a reference to a source. But more often than not, it’s the same people doing it over and over, and so I simply come to distrust them. If it seems to me that a person just doesn’t seem to care all that much whether the things they post are true or not, I sometimes unfollow or “snooze” them, which I don’t always like doing but seems I’ve been doing more this year than other years!

I’ve realized that some people see social media (or maybe social relationships, period) differently than others. Once a friend commented that if she posted something incorrect, “someone would let me know,” which made it sound like she was sort of abdicating responsibility of truth-telling onto other people. Which doesn’t seem fair to me, but maybe others learn in more social ways. But I also hate seeing untruths stand.

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I think it is simultaneously both more important and less important than we think.

More? Actions are base on thinking and thinking is strongly shaped by the words we use. If we don’t fight battles on the field of words we can end up fighting on the battlefield of physical violence.

Less? Even in the physical sciences we see that things which appear fundamentally opposed can actually both be true and describing the same reality. A lot of the different ways of thinking are just a matter of the language we use… and I am not just talking about different languages but the different words different people can use to describe and explain essentially the same things.

How to tell the difference? Very very VERY difficult!

Frankly I think we can do no more than make our own judgment calls on where to make our stand on what issues we think are important. And sometimes those are on different fronts (which can be practically back to back). Fighting on one front where we think things have gone too far in one direction we can with others make a 180 and fight on the opposing front where they have gone too far in the opposite direction.

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Ship of Fools has many mansions with different rules: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell for three. It works very well. Here it’s more difficult. You are a paragon here Phil. I push the boundaries. To the robust I am robust. To the vulnerable I try and resonate. But people (me included) are both is the trouble.e

It can’t be helped Phil. We just need to be as open as you’re being.

“Truth” is often in the eye of the beholder and has many rivalries. Personal desire distorts the perception of it. People may receive the “truth” they want to hear and receive it and disregard the inconvenient that may force them to change if they received it. for me therefore Love (agape/ charity/ selfless care of the other) is above “truth”. I will do what is right for my neighbour as well as my self and will hear the right things to do and do them if I have Love. God’s Truth is about God’s character of Love and living in his Truth is abiding in His Love. If I do that I well find other truth that helps me to live it out. I will find truth that sets me free from myself and reshapes society for the better.

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Phil, I’m a firm believer in the importance of “choosing our battles.” In the military, this is critical. There are plenty of operations or targets in an armed conflict that may well be legitimate targets… but fighting those battles may distract from, or even undermine, the core war effort.

In biblical terms, I am often struck by Jesus (lack of) confrontation with those employed to collect the temple tax… the TRUTH was that Jesus, being the son of God, had no obligation to pay the temple tax, a truth he shared with Peter. Yet simultaneously, he chose not to get in a spat with those particular people at that time, as theirs seemed to be an innocent error out of ignorance. I am struck by Jesus actions and words… how he instructs Peter where to find a coin to pay the tax so that we don’t offend them.

Jesus was hardly afraid of offending anyone when real matters I’d truth were at stake, when religious leaders were enslaving people in legalism and false religion. But there were some things he clearly didn’t think necessary to correct immediately, either, especially when it seemed to be innocent mistakes.

Similarly, we can think about Paul’s famous “inconsistency” - he had Timothy circumcised before going into certain areas, because he seemed to think that was simply not a battle worth fighting at that time, even if given the core truth he held about Circumcision. But apparently it was not at that time or location something that was hitting at the core truth of the gospel itself, so it just wasn’t a battle worth fighting, he just let it slide and had Timothy circumcised.

But when circumcision was something people were holding in a way that doing so was striking at the core of the gospel, He refused to allow Titus to be circumcised, and unapologetically proclaimed that allowing ones self to be circumcised was equated with being severed from Christ and falling from grace!

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