Dateline August 2019…
Coratti’s Restaurant. Main Street, Milford Michigan.

I was having lunch with three Catholic Central, Basilian priests… Father Richard Elmer, Father Ray Paramo and Father Patrick Fulton (Principal of Catholic Central High School). Judge Robert J. Colombo Jr. (Michigan’s premier Circuit Court Judge and a 1968 Catholic Central graduate) also joined us. I told the lunch crowd there assembled, that I was struggling with a phrase attributed to Jesus… “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light.” I ask the group… What is Truth ??? It was a limited engagement, social outing, so no one took up the challenge. I am left, therefore, to fend for myself, as Johnny Cash did when he also asked… What is “Truth” ???


Thanks to Irish Michael Bryce, I read an article in Aeon by Philosopher, Crispin Sartwell… Truth is Real (4/14/2022). Sartwell’s piece on Truth is a lively, abstract romp through 2,500 years of metaphysical Philosophers asking the same “metaphysical” question… What is Truth ???

Metaphysical, of course, meaning… “abstract reasoning” (typically, excessively abstract
• Abstract, of course, meaning… highly theoretical, without a real world context.


As present day, philosopher, Crispin Sartwell says, referring to Aristotle,

“Philosophical reflection has not always treated truth as a God, but it was certainly a central concept, commitment and question for some 2,500 years. Characteristically, Aristotle is more grounded than his teacher, Plato, when he gave the classic formulation of the correspondence theory: ‘To say of what is… that it is not, or of what is not… that it is… is false, while to say of what is… that it is, and of what is not… that it is not… is true.’ That’s fairly crisp if somewhat bewildering, but this definition, like many characterizations of truth, appears oddly redundant, notably uninformative. On the other hand, every formulation seems beset by redundancy, and the terrifying question looms: is that definition of ‘truth’ itself true?”


The question, What is Truth… reminds me of my Father’s story about famed Trumpeter, Louie Armstrong. A woman reporter, asked Louie, “Mr. Armstrong, how do you define Jazz” ??? Satchmo replied, “Ma’m, if you’se gottsta have it defined for you, you’se never gonna understand it when you’se hears it.” Satchmo’s comment may also apply to defining Truth in “metaphysical abstractions” (redundancy for emphasis). “If you gottsta have it defined for you, you’se never gonna understand it when you’se hears the truth.”

Under the tutelage of my 9th grade educated (but brilliant) Father, I grew up on the philosophy of the great, Catholic Philosopher, Thomas Aquinas. At the Jesuit University of Detroit, me and my football scrambled brain… persevered though Metaphysics 101 and 102. But, I still needed a flashlight (more like a beacon) and a few rocket flares to find my way through Sartwell’s simultaneously well written, informative and yet indecipherable piece… Truth is Real.

From Socrates (469 BC-399 BC) to Plato (427 BC- 347 BC) to Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC), and all the way up to the dawn of the 21st century, Sartwell covers the waterfront of Philosophers seeking an answer to humanity’s age old question… How do you “define” Truth ??? From the Greek philosophers to such heavyweights as Thomas Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russel, C.S. Peirce, Frank P. Ramsey, John Dewey, Richard Rorty and Donald Davidson… the question stubbornly persists. How do you define in the “abstract”… the concept, Truth ??? Not, where or how you find Truth in the real world, but rather how do you define Truth in abstract, metaphysical terms ???

And, asking for the metaphysical definition of “Truth” is like asking how many Angels (non-corporeal, as they are) dance on the point of a pin ??? interesting, abstract conceptualization, perhaps, but asking for a metaphysical definition of “truth” just doesn’t push mankind’s need for Truth (and Justice) down the road of life in the real world. I know “real world” just opens the door to yet another metaphysical challenge, but my flashlight is out of batteries, and my flares burned out, so I’ll stick with the subject at hand… What is Truth and where do you find it ???

The metaphysical search for the abstract definition of “Truth”… is a journey that begins on the unsure footing of abstract, esoteric concepts, which then engages redundant, circular reasoning, finally… ending up in the graveyard of lifeless words and verbose phrases where it dies, along with the glazed-over eyes of those trying to follow the conversation. Such is the ultimate destination of the search for the metaphysical “definition” of Truth. Why ??? Because we must never lose sight of the fact that there is a much, more practical, real world that demands from all of us, that… we expend effort to actually find the truth, and then tell the truth.

The metaphysical definition of Truth is unanswerable because there is no real world context to it. If you take the question “What is Truth” out of the metaphysically realm of abstraction, and put it in a real world context… then we can have a semi- intelligible discussion. That bears repeating. Asking the question, “What is Truth” in metaphysically, abstract terms is the wrong question because the question has no context, and, therefore, doesn’t provide any mechanism for… how do you search for and find Truth on any given issue… where the Truth of the matter is actually being debated in the real world.

As a 17-year-old kid, diagnosed with a “dull normal” I.Q. at Detroit Catholic Central High School, I grew up struggling with what is true and what isn’t… even finding the standard “true or false” tests challenging. As a Trial Lawyer for 45 years, the “dull normal” I.Q. remained “status quo”… but the “search for the truth” intensified in each and every ensuing year as the stakes became financially and emotionally higher and higher for my underdog clients, and for my own one third, contingency fee that hung in the balance with the Jury’s verdict. It doesn’t require Socrates, Plato, Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas to figure out the mathematical abstraction that… my one third contingency fee of nothin’ is also nothin’ as in, “I ain’t making a livin’.”

Despite the inherent abstractions that may surround metaphysical Truth in a Philosopher’s world of abstract thinking, the search for Truth necessarily continues on, day in and day out, in our world of pragmatism… “pragmatism” meaning, of course, measuring the value and utility of Truth in the real world in which we all live. If we have no practical, workable way to find or measure Truth in our real world, then we Parents (of children), Teachers (of students), Trial Lawyers (of clients), Doctors (of patients) and we Politicians (of constituents), etc… are all antiquated and hopelessly obsolete. But, in reality, we will never be obsolete or antiquated… because Truth matters greatly in the real world. Therefore, Humanity must deal with the concept of “truth” in never ending pragmatic contexts of our own, real world. Whatever the the erudite Philosophers of Metaphysical abstractions say about defining Truth in the abstract, the rest of us must look for an “agreement” (amongst reasonable, unbiased, open minded and fundamentally fair people) about… What is True and what is not True.

  • What, most likely, happened in the past in any given situation being discussed, e.g. the 2020 Presidential election ???
  • What, most likely, is happening in the present in any given situation being discussed, e.g. Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine ???
  • What, most likely, will happen in the future in any given situation being discussed, e.g. Climate Change in a temporal dimension or Life after Death in a spiritual dimension ???


As I say, my “dull normal” I.Q. requires, that I shift the focus from the unknowable (the abstract definition of Truth in the world of Metaphysics) to the knowable… the practical definition of Truth in the real world and how and where you find Truth in the real world contexts we all live in, raise children in, work in and, eventually, die in and then depart for… well… depart for who knows where ??? As I say, a discussion of Truth in our world requires “context” and “solutions“… not metaphysical abstraction. I, therefore, embrace the opportunity to discuss, What is Truth and Where do you find it ??? Stand aside, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. The kid from Northwest Detroit with the “Dull Normal” I.Q. is now going to tell you… “What’s up with the Truth” ???


We all know that Courtrooms provide the historical venue for the “Search for Truth.” Everyone has heard the cliché, that there are three stories in a Courtroom, the Plaintiff’s story, the Defendant’s story and the Truth that lies… somewhere in between. Although I don’t necessarily agree that there are always three stories in a Courtroom, I know there are always two stories, and that’s where the Search for Truth comes in… with the real world “context” of two contradictory stories and a Jury left to figure out…

  • Which story is “more probably true”… in a Civil Court case ???
  • Which story is shown to be true by “clear and convincing evidence”… in a child custody case ???
  • Whether the Prosecutor’s story is shown to be true “beyond a reasonable doubt”… in a Criminal case ???


The “Truth” found in American Courtrooms, although not immutably written in stone, is, in fact, based upon the tried and true formula that the Truth cannot hide from a “toe to toe” confrontation of rigorous cross-examination… assuming, however, that the lawyers are of equal caliber, equally prepared, and the Judge gives the lawyers equal time and unbiased consideration. As the legendary Judge, Joseph Gillis Sr. (of Recorders Court in Detroit), was won’t to say about “Truth” (as he called his Court to order), “Let the perjury begin” !!! Then, as any good Judge must do, the Honorable Judge, Joe Gillis, would step out of the way, assume his role as Umpire and hand off the Truth finding process to the talent of the Trial Lawyers and to the fairness of an unbiased Jury. Or, as I am won’t to say, “Stand aside Judge and let the Trial Lawyers go to work,”… for with skillful cross examination, they will pierce through the confusion, deception and exaggeration and shine the light of Justice on the Truth.

I acknowledge that the search for Truth in an American Courtroom is, at times, more akin to shooting at a moving target. I also acknowledge that Courtroom Truth can be elusive, fragile, always debatable, and, like the weather in Michigan, it can change in a heartbeat. I also acknowledge the effect of the fallibility and the weakness of human nature that attends any search for Truth… American Courtroom or otherwise. Lay witnesses (some well intentioned, some not) with their own “subjective” version of factual “Truth” (all colored by their own preexisting biases aka “confirmation bias”). Expert witnesses (some well intentioned, some not) with their own subjective “version” of forensic “Truth”… many times colored by the reality of who is paying those expert witnesses for their time, research, expertise and opinions. The time honored “Search for Truth,” therefore, (generally speaking) begins with Courtroom oaths and then onto lay factual witnesses and forensic, expert witnesses… those who routinely parade through American Courtrooms to tell the Judge and Jury which way is up.

Speaking of Courtroom oaths and bias, I love the comical story of a Law Firm that interviewed three accountants for forensic accounting testimony in an upcoming trial. The head of the Law firm asked but a single question … “What’s 1 plus 1” ??? The first two accountants bewilderedly answered “2.” They didn’t get the job. But, the third accountant replied, “What answer did you have in mind, counsellor” ??? He got the job. I am not jaded by my 45 year experience as a Trial Lawyer. Far from it. I relished my decades in American Courtrooms where words (and concepts) are weapons, and the inarticulate come to the battle unarmed. I regularly crossed swords with opposing counsel, witnesses and Judges… with the ultimate goal of appealing to the “intellect” and the “humanity” of a Jury of one’s Peers.

A word of caution. Even though different witnesses tell diametrically opposed versions of the “truth”… no one is necessarily lying. That bears repeating… “no one is necessarily lying.” Lay witnesses (many times) truly believe their “subjective” version of the Truth… of what they think they saw, felt or heard. Likewise, forensic, expert witnesses (many times) truly believe they’re supposed, objective theories and expert opinions to be true. But, the reality ??? Courtroom truth is “subjective,” and frequently based on a witnesses’ own preexisting, “biases.” And, it is the good Trial lawyer who will use the skill and mastery of cross examination to ferret out wherein… a rough estimate of the Truth lies. Or, as I would tell a Jury, the finished product of the search for truth in a Courtroom is like a jig saw puzzle. There may be a number of pieces missing, and some colored by the “bias” of human nature, but you can still see the picture.

  • Remember what the great German philosopher, Goethe, said about “confirmation bias.” “We tend to find what we are looking for.
  • Remember what singer, Paul Simon, said about “confirmation bias” in his song, The Boxer. “All lies in jest, ’til a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.
  • Remember what Ruth Hubbard said about “confirmation bias” in her 1988 essay, Science, Facts and Feminism. Beauty subjectively lies “in the eye of the beholder.”
  • Remember what Shakespeare (and others) said about “confirmation bias” Truth lies “in the eye of the beholder


Truth lies in the “eye of the beholder” ??? Absolutely. Case in point. A White, retired White cop witnessing the arrest of a young Black man by a White police officer, will generally support the arresting officer’s version of “resisting arrest“… by the young black man being arrested. Another witness, an elderly Black man, witnessing the very same physical event from a different, emotional and cultural vantage point… reports “police brutality” and “excessive force” by the arresting officer. Both will pass a lie detector test because both see the same incident through the lens of their own preexisting experiences and “confirmation biases.” That’s why… all well-intention men and women, everywhere, must be vigilantly on guard to discover their own, subjective, confirmation biases, and be willing to impose “intellectual honesty” as a check and balance against their own confirmation biases. See my third book, The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit, Fightin’ in the Streets… Fightin’ in the Courts (an American Story)… pages 127-130.

But, confirmation bias aside, that doesn’t mean that witnesses don’t lie. They do lie… all day long, every day. See Francis L. Wellman’s book… The Art of Cross-Examination, a key to uncovering lies and reducing witnesses’ exaggerations to their proper proportion. The bottom line. In Courtrooms, our system of Law and Justice looks to the skill of Trial Lawyers to ferret out the “truth of the matter” through confrontation and the time tested Art of Cross-Examination.

Rigorous cross-examination and “toe to toe” confrontation in Courtrooms is required because… even well intentioned men and women view life through the lens of their own subjective confirmation biases. Additionally, many times, witnesses (through their own knee-jerk reaction of self protection or protection of others), lie and cover up to protect themselves, their families, their friends and those they consider their spiritual compatriots… a natural response of the human instinct of survival. But, though the knee- jerk reaction to lie to protect yourself and others, and to cover-up may be understandable as a natural, psychological “instinct” of humanity… that doesn’t make it acceptable. I stand by the platitude, “Tell the truth, and shame the Devil.” The reality, however… witnesses take the Oath to tell the truth “so help me God,” everyday, day in and day out… and then lie, exaggerate and distort the truth, everyday, day in and day out, in Courtrooms across America.

(1) Witnesses intentionally lie… when they testify to that which they know darn well is not true. They will usually get caught (in their lies).That’s why Abraham Lincoln insisted, “Tell the truth”… because lies are just too hard to remember. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when at first we practiced to deceive” (from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott).

(2) Witnesses unintentionally mislead when they purposely tell their subjective version of “truth” at one point in time, and then later contradict that version at another point in time. Honor, integrity and truth are admirable. Memory, however, is fallible.

(3) Witnesses don’t lie, but do inadvertently mislead… when they tell a subjective version of reality and “truth” that they believe to be true, but that is roundly and convincingly rejected by mere logic, deductive reasoning, critical analysis or by a legitimate consensus of what reasonable, fair minded, honest people consider to be the “truth” of the matter.

(4) Witnesses inadvertently mislead when their preexisting, confirmation bias convinces them they are telling the truth, while the reality is… the witness is simply mistaken, and the truth is unwittingly betrayed by their own confirmation bias.

The search for truth in Courtrooms is a pragmatic attempt in the real world to find out… which of several, contradictory, competing versions of fact or expert opinion is the truthful version. That search for Truth via “toe to toe” confrontation” and the art of cross-examination in Courtrooms is not full proof, but it is as close to finding out… which of the competing versions of Truth in the real world is most likely true in the Courtroom ???

No matter what you think of the process of finding the Truth in a Courtroom, it sure beats the glaring deficiencies of its historical predecessors

  • Trial by Battle between the litigant’s hired Gladiators who fight it out hammer and thong with the winner (of the Truth) being the one whose Gladiator vanquishes the other Gladiator, or
  • Trial by Ordeal with some of those “let’s get to the truth (torture) devices” like dunking chairs submerged in water, with the one who can hold his breath the longest declared the truthful litigant.


In the last analysis, the “search for truth” in a Courtroom is a mortal attempt at finding Justice… in an imperfect world. Does it always work ??? Heck no. But, as I say, it beats the alternatives.


1 + 1 = 2… no matter whether 1 stands for… cats, cows, dogs, electrons, atoms, galaxies or universes. 1 plus 1 = 2. Always true… was in the past, is in the present, and will be in the future. An equilateral triangle has three, separate and equal 60 degree (interior) angles… no matter the length of its three equal sides. Always true… was in the past, is in the present, and will be in the future. When you add up the three (interior) angles of any triangle, the sum of the angles will always be 180 degrees… no matter the size or shape the triangle. Always true… was in the past, is in the present, and will be in the future. An algebraic formula always yields a truthful, reliable answer for an unknown. If 2x = 4, then x equals 2. Always true… was in the past, is in the present, and will be in the future. Those mathematical realities are always reliable and predictable. They never change. They are immutable truths.

Proven mathematical formulas are always true. Their Truth is not in the eye of any (subjective) beholder. They are not contingent upon, and cannot be altered by “subjective” interpretation nor “confirmation bias.” Those mathematical realties will not change. They are reliable, predictable and “immutable truths.” Some would say that using the immutable truths of Mathematics, is the equivalent of the phrase, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light”… (meaning in context… I guess) that when we follow the “message” of Jesus, we come out of spiritual darkness and toward the light, and onto the path of immutable, spiritual truth (in the same sense in which Mathematics is a reliable path). Who knows ??? I have no crystal ball, nor any special wisdom, nor any preconceived agenda in the search for “Truth.” And, in a perfect world… neither does anyone else.


The Sun is the center of our solar system and Earth orbits the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour. That is “Truth”… proven by the mathematics of yesterday and today. That truth is not subject to “interpretation” nor “confirmation bias.” But, but, but… that “truth” is only “true” at a given point in time, because… (1) there was no Earth for billions of years after the Big Bang, (2) the Earth (as we know it today… orbiting the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour) evolved over the eons time, and (3) the Earth’s orbit and speed of today (2022) will surely change in the future as our solar system and the Universe continue to evolve and change in the future. Changing Truth ??? Perhaps, a paradox (a seeming contradiction) or an actual contradiction in terms, but Changing Truth, a seeming oxymoron… conveys just how hard it is to pin down even mathematical truth and the certainty of physics.


Certain general “Philosophical truths” and concepts (although not mathematically precise) would seem to be just as true as the Truth of Mathematics… such as the philosophical and fundamental truth that, in any human endeavor (teaching, music, medicine, baseball, mathematics, physics, astronomy, accounting, finance, parenting, etc), repeat… “any human endeavor” requires mankind/womankind to always start with the fundamentals. We can argue about what is (and what is not) a fundamental… but the truism about starting with the “fundamentals” is always true in all contexts (I think). It is fundamentally true that you must walk before you can run. It is fundamentally true that you must learn the alphabet before you can combine the letters into words. It is fundamentally true that you must learn to count to ten before you can count to 100. It is fundamentally true that you must learn to read music before you can write a musical composition. It is fundamentally true that you must learn general chemistry before you study organic chemistry. It is fundamentally true that you must learn anatomy before you can do surgery. It is fundamentally true that you must hear a melody before you can sing it. It would seem, therefore, beyond dispute and also fundamentally true… that beginners must start with the fundamentals of any subject undertaken. All fundamentally true in the past, in the present and in the future… immutable truth.

Perhaps, the strongest immutable Philosophical truth that was ever proclaimed… was the July 4th, 1776 statement by the American Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence… “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain Unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

(Forgetting for the moment that… that particular truth “all men were created equal” was not true for women or slaves in the ensuing Centuries), I ask ??? Doesn’t it immediately follow that the philosophical concept of “self evident” truth” (which precedes the phrase) “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” also imply the “unalienable, self evident Truth” to have all life and human dignity protected (especially the helpless children, the physically weak, the elderly, the mentally ill, the disabled and those who are physically, mentally or emotionally unable to compete in the highly competitive and vicious, “dog eat dog,” predatory system of Laissez Faire Capitalism ???)… an economic system I endorse in general terms, subject to necessary exceptions.

And, ???… doesn’t the “self evident truth” of the “unalienable rights” of Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness also include the human right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, have medical care and attention, have a “living wage” for those willing to work hard, and have equal education opportunities for all of America’s children, regardless of their financial circumstances, if they are mentally capable and willing to work hard to get an education… dependent, of course, on the obligation to pay back in some fashion or other for educational support given, and to also pay forward for next generation’s education. If Jesus were alive today (2022), wouldn’t he say, “Those are the Truths I’m talking’ about” !!!


And what could be more truthful than the “general concepts” brought out in the fictional accounts of some novels… To kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) where a fictional Trial Lawyer, Atticus Finch, demonstrates the undeniable Truth about the racial bias of the Southern Whites of Alabama during the 1930s. Or, the novel Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) where fiction character, Tom Joad, tells the Truth about the socioeconomic battle of the have-nots during the Great Depression of the American Dustbowl of the 1930s. Or, the novel The Jungle (Upton Sinclair) which tells the Truth about the Chicago stockyards and political corruption of the Chicago Bosses and the bleak existence and inhumane working conditions of American workers circa 1870-1916.

I also find it impossible to argue against the general, self evident truths of the human condition that spring forth from poetry.

Death for All

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of Power
And, all the wealth and beauty e’er gave
Await alike, the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
(Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Thomas Gray 1750)

Opportunity for a Few

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
(Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Thomas Gray 1750)

The Defeated are Winners

It is not the critic who counts,
Not the man who points out
How the strong man or woman stumbled,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man or woman in the arena.
Whose faces are marred with dust, sweat, blood and tears
Who strive valiantly and who come up short, again and again
But, at least they fail while daring greatly.
So that their place will never be among those cold and timid souls
Who know neither defeat nor victory.
(President Teddy Roosevelt)

Becoming the Miracle

Do not pray for easy lives;
Pray to be strong.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your power;
Pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your life’s work
Shall be no miracle;
You shall be the Miracle.
(Blessed Solanus Casey…
Detroit’s Porter of St. Bonaventure)

From Pain to Wisdom

Even in sleep,
Pain which cannot forget
Falls drop by drop
Upon the heart
Until… in our own despair
Comes wisdom…
Through the awful grace of God.
(Greek poet Aeschylus)

Imposters of Triumph and Disaster

If you can dream— and not make dreams your Master
If you can think— and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same.
(If by Rudyard Kipling)

Love’s Eternalness

I am but an elusive dream,
I touched you once,
Then sped off on a Moonbeam

We once longed and loved,
Sought out and caressed.
Me your hero… you my vision of loveliness.

Then life beckoned, as it always does
Lovers in passion… torn away
Love postponed to another day.

Now, we’ve lost our way
The lover’s path… un-returnable
Haunted by sighs… now barely discernible.

When the darkness comes
As it surely will
With its winter chill.

Shall we meet again ?
On some restive hill,
Find out who you were to me… and are still.

Search not for me.
Where you belong
Is where I’ll be.

I am but an elusive dream,
I touched you once,
Then sped off on a Moonbeam.

(Downtown Freddie…
Poet Laureate, Northwest Detroit)


I truly appreciate the Holy Books. They are Pulitzer Prize writings… works of high literary art that, like many other works of art, pronounce general, philosophical truths. The Holy Books tell compelling stories that give great comfort and insight into life, and into the spiritual struggle that human kind has been engaged in for thousands of years. But, as hard as it is to do (coming from a kid who spent most of his educational life in Catholic schools)… I must say that when I exercise my God-given free will, my God-given intellect, my God-given deductive reasoning power, my God-given sense of logic and my hard earned skill of critical analysis, I cannot (cannot) accept that the Holy Books are historically correct, nor that they actually reflect words and thoughts of God… from God’s mind and lips to the human scriveners who supposedly wrote them. I may be right. I may be wrong. But, stay with me !!!.

Given the great disparity in the highly sophisticated human mind versus the mind of the animal kingdom, isn’t it a fundamentally “self evident” truth that the animal kingdom (although able to see us humans and follow our prompts) cannot read the human mind… especially when we are not even in their view ??? Hey, we humans can’t even read each other’s minds. Extrapolating further, given the infinite capacity of God’s intellect, and given the finite capacity of our human intellect… isn’t it also a fundamental, “self evident” truth that us humans cannot read the mind of God ???

Deductive reasoning and human logic alone tell us humans of “finite intellect” that we are not capable of reading the “infinite” mind of our unseen God. Yet, we humans have many, well intentioned (yet) controlling men and women from across the globe telling us we don’t have to read the mind of God to know what God “intends” for us or “expects” of us… because, well because… God’s actual words about his intentions and expectations were penned in the Holy Books by the human writers to whom God spoke… from God’s lips to their ears. For Jews, it’s Moses and the other writers of Old Testament (Ezra, King David, Solomon, Agur and others). For Christians, it’s Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (but not the other New Testament writers whose gnostic Gospels written by apostles Peter, Phillip, Thomas and Judas were discarded along the wayside). For the Muslims, it’s Muhammed and the Quran. Etc, etc for many other religious sects.

Am I to believe that the words of one God created three different (so-called) Great Religions (Jewish, Christian and Islam) with each professing to be the “one and only true religion,” supreme and unerring unto itself… with each of the great religions ready and willing to kill off the heretics and infidels from their own group and from other religious groups (all… as part of God’s thirst for death to the heretics and infidels) ???

My finite intellect, exercising my God given volitional power of “free will” and my God-given cognitive power of intellect, logic and deductive reasoning leaves me with of four possible choices of “beliefs“…

  • Accept the harshness of the Old Testament.
  • Convert to Islam and “believe” what the Quran says.
  • Stay with my Catholic School background, and “believe” without debate… that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John had a pipeline to God, and faithfully wrote down what God told them to write, all of which was unerringly translated over the Centuries from many other translations to (eventually) English.
  • Pick and choose what I like about the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Gnostic Bibles, the Quran (or other Holy Books from other religions), and become an ecumenical member of all of God’s religions.


At the risk of being labeled as a “Cafeteria Catholic” (as I have been)… I am “momentarily” drawn to option four, above (“ecumenical member of all of God’s religions”). But, I must respectfully decline even that invitation of exalting any of the Holy Books (Old Testament, New Testament, Gnostic, Quran, etc) as a model of the one “Truth”… where the actual words of God can be found. Call me a Doubting Thomas… if you will. But (rather than put my God-given free will and my God-given intellect to bed, and become a “true believer” through the “indoctrination” of any particular Holy Book of any particular religion), I believe it a better service to the existence of God, to the miracle of life I received, and to the free will and intellectual powers bequeathed to me as a child of God… to scrutinize the Holy Books with logic, deductive reasoning and critical analysis, and see how their claimed “Word of God” Truth stands up. With (hopefully) no sense of hubris or lack of humility, I must report that a general scrutiny of the Holy Books leads me to doubt that any of them carry the full endorsement of God, Truth or History.

1. If we have only one God, why do we have so many different, monotheistic religions with so many differing Holy Books… all claiming to be the one true “Voice of God” ??? Translated, why didn’t God just endorse a single religion’s Holy Books, so we could all rally around a single voice of a single God ???

2. And, assuming the words spoken by God (or spoken by Jesus) were accurately heard and precisely written down by the Gospel writers, decades later (itself a leap of faith), the Holy Books are not a model of clarity. Many times, the Holy Books are vague and ambiguous… subject to subjective “interpretation.” Example. Bible scriveners, Luke and Matthew, both write that Jesus told his followers, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his Father and Mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters— yes even his life— he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 and Matthew 10:37). What ??? What does that even mean ??? Does that mean what it literally says ??? Very doubtful. That passage attributed to Jesus means (“subjectively”) whatever anybody wants it to mean. Therefore, the actual meaning of the Holy Books (even if accurately recorded and accurately translated… another leap of pure faith) are still subject to a number of “interpretations” by a number of readers. And what do we know today (in the third decade of the 21st Century) about subjective interpretations ??? As the German Philosopher and writer, Goethe (1749-1832 AD), said about “subjective interpretation”… “we tend to find what we are looking for” (aka confirmation bias). As 19th Century novelist, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, said, “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” (aka more confirmation bias). As Paul Simon said in his song The Boxer, “All lies in jest, ’til a man hears what he want’s to hear and disregards the rest” (aka more confirmation bias). How much of the Bible’s (supposed) Truth is lost in subjective interpretations and confirmation bias with well intentioned men and women seeking out that which they are already looking for… before they even began their journey in search of the “Truth” ??? Who knows ???

3. My 45 year history as a practicing Trial Lawyer informs me that a simple law passed in the 21st century, in a single language and for a single culture is often ambiguous, with certainly much more uncertainty in the Holy Books… works of ambiguous words, phrases and concepts, written decades after the crucifixion of Jesus, in numerous other languages, numerous Centuries ago, translated over the Centuries to many other languages for numerous other cultures ??? How much reality, “truth” and reliability can we honestly expect to find in the Holy Books of the Old Testament, the New Testament or the Quran ???

4. The story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis is the story of God’s Creation of man and woman, followed by Paradise Lost (John Milton)… because Adam and Eve, contrary to God’s command, ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge (of good and evil). The Jews, however, were not the first people to pen such a creation story. The Babylonian story of creation came before the Adam and Eve of the Old Testament. How the Babylonian story unfolds is different, but the Babylonian version is the same story of God’s creation of man and woman. Since the Jews were captured and enslaved by the Babylonians, it is more than plausible that the Jews were aware of the Babylonian story of creation before Moses supposedly penned the Adam and Eve Story of Creation in Genesis. See the Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt. Genesis tells us of the creation story of the first humans, Adam and Eve, on the 6th day, standing-erect, walking on two feet. Oh, contraire. We humans did not simply dropped into the historic record fully formed and walking about. We humans of (predecessor) skeletal fossils evolved (as in evolution) over tens of thousands of years… not all at once with Adam and Eve just appearing as fully formed humans in a given moment in time… as Genesis would have us believe. The unassailable, historic record of humans from skeletal remains and fossils shows (beyond doubt) that humans are far, far older than all the “begats” of the Old Testament. Repeat for emphasis. Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species shows convincingly that the fossil remains of the human species spans tens of thousands of years of evolutionary adaptation and natural selection… not a one time cosmic event with an Adam and Eve dropping into Earth’s historic record at a moment in time, fully formed, standing erect and walking about on two feet. So, how do we separate Bible truth from Bible fiction ???

5. After strong, initial rejection of evolution by the Roman Catholic Church (a rejection that to this very day in the 21st Century lives on in conservative, right wing Christianity)… Repeat, after an strong, initial rejection of evolution by Catholic leaders, the very conservative, Pope Pius XII finally relented somewhat by publishing his 1950 encyclical, Humani Generis (Of the Human Race). Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis (in rather defensive tone and controlling language) allowed Catholics to, at least, discuss the scientific concept of evolution. Later, on 10/22/1996, another very conservative Pope, John Paul II, in his message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, stated that, “Today, almost a half Century after publication of the Encyclical [Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis] new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than an hypothesis.” Finally, on 10/27/2014, the present Pope, Pope Francis, a more liberal Pontiff, stated to the very same Pontifical Academy of Science that, “Evolution in Nature is not inconsistent with the notion of Creation.” If the Bible captures the literal word of God, how did the Old Testament get the Adam and Eve story so wrong, for so many centuries while stifling the science of evolution with the threat of death for heresy and imprisonment to so many ??? Think of the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925 in Tennessee with teacher, John Scopes (despite the brilliant representation of Clarence Darrow)… being convicted of the crime of teaching evolution along with the Creation story. See the Spencer Tracy movie, Inherit the Wind. Again, how do we separate Bible truth from Bible fiction ???

6. Ditto for the story of Noah and the Great Flood (also from Genesis). The entire story of Noah’s Ark presents many similar dilemmas. One such dilemma was recently depicted in a cartoon in the New Yorker Magazine where (after the great flood receded), male and female Emperor Penguins stand on dry land in the Middle East desert at the bottom of Noah’s Ark. The male penguin, looking over his shoulder and up the gang plank to Noah, asks, “What’d we suppose to do now… schlep all the way back to Antartica.” Is there a little hyperbole in the Genesis’ story of Noah’s Ark ??? Again, how do we separate Bible truth from Bible fiction ???

7. The great mind of Galileo (1564-1642 AD) borrowing from the great mind of Copernicus (1473-1543 AD) told the world that the Sun (not the Earth) was the Center of our Universe (really our Solar system)… with the Earth orbiting around the Sun (aka scientifically-correct, heliocentric theory). But, Galileo’s science contradicted the Biblical accounts (1) From the rising of the Sun to the going down thereof, the name of the Lord is to be praised (Psalms 113:30), and (2) The Sun also rises and then hurries to the place from which it arose (Ecclesiastes 1:5). Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church labeled Galileo’s scientific, heliocentric theory as “heresy”… forcing Galileo to renounce his scientifically-correct theory or be condemned to death. Galileo recanted, and lived to see another day. Five Centuries later, the Roman Catholic Church of 1993 (under conservative Pope, John Paul II) acquitted Galileo of heresy. Again, how do we separate Bible truth from Bible fiction ???

I ask ??? Am I to give up my God-given volitional power of free will and self determination and give up my God-given cognitive power of intellect, logic, deductive reasoning and my critical analysis skill… to those demanding my allegiance to the “unprovable” beliefs of religion ??? Those who insist I let them and their interpretation of their Bible control my life… such as the great, right wing, Christian thinkers of the 21st Century… Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Brett “I like Beer” Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and the Notre Dame, Homecoming Queen, Amy Coney-Barrett (who didn’t even have the sound parental judgment to put masks on her young, helpless children when she attended her own Covid, super-spreader inauguration) ??? I know her response… “God will provide.” My reply… “God provides to those who provide for themselves.” And, God provides for those who “knock on the door” and it shall be opened.

Bottom line. I take no pleasure in doing so, but I am compelled to say that, although I find the Holy Books to be filled with great writing and good stories about the relationship between God and his creations, I cannot, ultimately, rely on the Holy Books for Truth. My first football and baseball Coach, Benedictine Monk, Father Livius Poali, once wrote in the St. Scholastica, Sunday Bulletin that he had finally finished reading the Bible from beginning to end. He commented that he was more impressed with the Bible as a story that described the relationship between God and humanity… rather than the infallibility of the words therein. Jesuit like ??? No ???


An important disclaimer. In my search for… “What is Truth,” I am not using Jesus as a choice or as support for a particular belief system (Christianity), or in an attempt to prefer Christianity’s belief system over the belief systems of other religions. I am merely using Jesus as an historical figure in the same way I used the Founding Fathers as historical figures, and their words in the Declaration of Independence as an historical document. That way, I keep fully “alive and well” a firm boundary between the “unprovable” religious belief systems on the one hand and the system of secular government on the other.

An important takeaway. We must always preserve the “Separation of Church and State” … giving to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and giving to the myriad of religious organizations in America that which is theirs… their (shall I say) “less than certain” religious indoctrinations. Stated differently, it is “imperative” to insure that the government of America punish only the “actions” of its citizens, and never (repeat for emphasis… “never”) punish anyone for what they believe or don’t believe. The surest way to allow our citizens maximum freedom to think what they want is to give a vigorous acknowledgement to the “non establishment” (of religion) clause of the 1st Amendment, and keep Church and State separated.

America is a Democracy. Pray God, we never become a Theocracy. By keeping Church and State separate, we can insure that America will never resemble ISIS, the Taliban or al Qaeda or any other zealot religious organization who drown, set on fire, crucify, maim, ostracize, punish, shun, discriminate against or reduce in social stature any of its citizens for what they chose to “believe” or chose not to believe. Never forget the Salem Witch Trials in Salem Massachusetts in 1692-93 (rapture gone wrong) … where Christians accused 200 as witches, including a five-year-old girl who was imprisoned, including 19 innocents who were hanged and including an innocent, but strong-willed Giles Corey who was crushed to death because he refused to enter a plea to the charges against him. Thank heaven in America, we can stand “mute” to criminal charges without having to be crushed to death because of someone else’s, unprovable religious beliefs. Salem Witch Trials – Events, Facts & Victims – HISTORY


And for those who ask about the relationship between “Truth” and “Justice”… I can only say that, without “Truth,” there is no Justice. For a further explanation of the definition of Justice, see my third book Fightin’ Irish of Detroit, pages 197-198 where I use the Law as the vehicle to tell the story of Life, Liberty and Justice.

Thanks for listening.

Fred Lauck
Copyrighted 2024