A few months ago, I watched Oprah use the power of storytelling to charm her audience. And while she was compelling enough in co-opting the men and women in that room (where she, for the first time in history, became the first black woman to receive the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment’) and probably, millions of people around the world to focus for a few minutes on the problem of the sexual exploitation of women, I caught a few other things that many probably did not see.
Oprah, 64, a black woman from an anodyne background who herself suffered abuse, spoke about using our truths as an instrument of change in a world that has become all too accepting of patriarchy and gender discrimination. She had a point. Any person listening to her in that moment, with ratcheted emotions, could tell Oprah was speaking on familiar turf; using truth to deal with injustice. But it wasn’t truth as it is, that the billionaire media mogul was talking about. She talked about using ‘our truths’ (plural) to infer that sharing our varied experiences about misogyny could in some way address the problem.
Today, many focus on their truths as a means to end sexual oppression ( the #MeToo Movement); to end the unjust killing of black people in America (Black Lives Matter alongside Colin Kapernick’s Take A Knee and more recently, Childish Gambino’s This is America.)
Some people have also began using their truths on climate change to warn everyone about the impending catastrophe that our collective attitudes to conservation is doing to our planet.
But there are really no truths out there. Author, David Mitchell wrote, ‘Truth is singular, versions of it are mistruths’. I side with this premise because there is such a parallel in the nature that cascades duality: good and bad, night and day; man and woman; truth and lie.
Other versions of truth that do not line up with the truth are actually, untruths. Few people understand this. They give interpretations based on personal experiences, religious beliefs and empirical evidence that may sometimes be subjunctive, so that what we call our truths, though factual, may not fully encapsulate the issues that we want to change. Our truths may indeed be lies so that even if we are able to foster change with them, these changes may not be lasting or produce desired results.
So what is the truth?
A man once made this statement: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life…’ And in making this statement said, there are no other ways (tackling the problem of many faiths); there are no other truths (tackling the discord between science, bias and superstition) and that, there is no other life apart from His (dealing a blow on the culturally acceptable from standpoint of original design).
That man is Jesus. And in the same breath, he was saying something much deeper, that we were, are and will always be one; that our truths as individuals must line up with the Truth or become false.
We see many injustices in our world today and many advancements too. And somehow these things as diverse as racism and machine learning must confirm to the truth or be found false so that all that is left is either the truth or a lie.
Think of it this way: Hooking up, homosexuality, corporate debt, racial discrimination, climate change, economic development, war, hunger, tithing, substance abuse, domestic violence, pedophilia, sex trafficking, nuclear armament and so on, are things that either align with Jesus or fall off.
It so happens that we can only tell what’s the truth from our truths or whether what we’ve accepted for a while are altogether lies when we meet and get to know this man called Jesus.
Buddha said he was still in search of the way at the time of his death. Mohammed (peace be upon him) tried earnestly to show the way. But Jesus claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. If truth is singular, then it must line up behind Jesus Christ.