The Scary World of Truth

by Lenny Esposito

The world can be a scary place. Just yesterday police helicopters were circling the park behind my home searching for a suspect who jumped out of the car and was fleeing through back yards in an adjoining neighborhood. Certainly people should be vigilant when walking in unsafe neighborhoods or unknown city streets.

What’s surprising, though, is the fear that so many people have of being exposed to the truth. Philosopher J. Budziszewski in his book How to Stay Christian in College gives one example:

Truth is hot, scary stuff. Truth about God is the hottest of all. It scares some people so badly that they don’t even want to search for it. One day in a “great books” course, my students were discussing the great medieval thinker Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas was a Christian, and some of the students were interested in what he believed about God. As they explored his views, one young man became more and more agitated. Finally he said, “This isn’t helping me,” and asked whether he could just pick up the assignment and leave. Of course, I said he could.

Later he visited my office, and I found out what his problem was. He told me that he wasn’t interested in truth—that the only thing he cared about was what had immediate practical value for him. Searching for truth about God, it seemed, was especially impractical because if he found it, his whole world might turn upside down.
Or could it be that it would turn right side up?[1]

This young man was uncomfortable with dealing with facts that didn’t fit into his current belief system. That seems to be the default position more and more these days…

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