Fact is not the same as truth.
It’s a concept that can be hard to grasp.
One of my great heroes said it beautifully:
Madeleine L’Engle is most well-known for “A Wrinkle in Time” and other excellent young adult literature. If you’ve never explored her memoirs and works of Christian apology, you’re missing out. I strongly recommend her “Crosswicks Journals” and “And It Was Good.”
To expand on her beautiful quote, above, here are some examples of Fact v. Truth:
Fact: “A Wrinkle In Time,” “A Wind in the Door,” and “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” are works of fiction, stories made-up for young people.
Truth: Within the pages of these books (as with all her fiction), Madeleine L’Engle helps readers explore themes of life, love, and the nature of existence. Through stories that are not factual, she helps us discover things we need to know in order to be the people we were meant to be.
Fact: Within the pages of the bible are words in black and white that depict a condemning, judging, vengeful God.
Truth: Read in historical context, with the understanding of the settings, the people, their experiences, and their needs at the given time, we understand that the bible was written by human beings trying to make sense of a cruel world. Humans trying to understand their place in the universe. Humans trying to work out their relationships with God and with others. Their experiences colored the words they wrote in black and white. Truth is recognizing that the essence of every act of God since the beginning (whatever that beginning looked like, and it’s 100% okay that we don’t really know what it looked like) has been love, grace, mercy, acceptance, and a desire to draw all people to God’s self. Even when that message is obstructed by those black and white words that are so easy to quote.
(Cliff Notes version of the above: Fact = scriptural quotes. Truth = unconditional love.)
Fact: A certain presidential candidate “says what he thinks.”
Truth: What that particular candidate “thinks” is dangerous, immature, playground bully-quality sound bites. What that candidate “says” is meaningless gibberish that mesmerizes the ignorant.
I’ll sign off with one final thought on Fact v. Truth from yet another real American hero.