The word ‘Pilgrimage’ here stands for leading a man’s consciousness to new and fresh pastures. Sometimes it is a physical displacement. But basically it is a quest for newer concepts and understandings. Here let us concentrate on a ‘Pilgrimage to Truth’.
The Problem (Concept) of Truth
Truth is a term oft – repeated by Jesus Christ during his public ministry. It was used either to indicate the divine authenticity of his claims (cf. Verily, Verily I say unto you or By Truth I say unto you) or to reflect the essence (spirit) of his existence or identity. (cf. I am the Way, Truth and the Life). Besides he used the term to reveal his mission when he said, “I should bear witness unto Truth” John 17: 37. The most important among them is the second one: revealing his self – I AM: No one dared to question or outshine his claims except Pilate who asked ‘What is Truth’? (John 18:37). This is a problem, which we all face.
The contemporary world is highly complex – confused with claims, ideas and ideals. The good and evil are inseparably or inextricably bound together. Humans remain embarrassed in front of the claims and comments made in religious, political, economic and social dimensions or contexts.
Religion and Truth
Jesus Christ was incarnated into this world with the message of giving rest and salvation to human. Many great persons who survived the ages have propagated the same message. But all the movements or organizations left by these historic people are now in conflicts by blaming each other or making false and contradictory claims. For instance, the community, which believe that God is Omniscient and Omnipresent, is now waging violent wars to monopolize the places of divine incarnation.
Conflicts have risen even in the basic principles of religion. Some say religion should aim at building a social communion and effecting a social liberation whereas some claim that religion is a feeling, which aim at gratification of selfish and superficial instincts. Some religious leaders want people more concerned about the life after whereas some give priority to life here. Here a search into ‘Truth’ is highly essential.
Truth in the Political Context
Those who come to power, having pledged to stand for the welfare of the nation and security of the citizens are later accused of corruption and mis-governance. Some are in favor of the war by pointing to the external and internal threats. But some leaders see the other side of deliberate attempts of asserting their power and financial benefits. The political parties and factions – “divided we grow!” – blame one another for ideals, personal gains and political games. The question is again ‘What is truth’?
There exists propaganda in favor of free market and liberal privatization for the welfare of the people. But it is counter – argued by pointing to the dominance of market system and commodity culture, which make humans least important and their life worse than it is. Globalization has invited foreign market controllers to India. Yet in effect, it puts the internal products at stake. Liberalized banking schemes and loan systems provide people with many avenues to get money to add to their luxurious life. Besides, even the unwanted are made inevitable by the post modern conditions of consumption culture. Humans struggles to get out of such traps till they “embraces” suicide. India is developing with the huge amount of money borrowed from foreign controlled banks. Where do we stand? What will be our future? What is Truth?
Truth in the Context of the Church
Truth is all the more complicated in the context of the church. One among the complexities is about the relative importance of the tradition and the Bible. Which is the ultimate or which is truth? Tradition? Or Bible? Or are they complementary, as our church believes? These questions are to be answered. The fast growing charismatic movements, which are centered round a self-made ‘super human’ is also adding to the complexity. Some stand for and with the cross, but some for cure! Some propagates fast development and material prosperity, but some for spiritual elevation. Do charisma means the exploitation of weak human feelings? What is Truth?
Again another relevant question is should the church get involved in social and political issues? Didn’t Jesus make a distinction between the physical and the spiritual, by stating, “Give unto Caesar what is due to him and to God what is due to Him”. It is debated by referring to Jesus’ remarks on Herod by calling him a fox. It is argued that the faithful should evaluate and respond to all those which make his destiny in the world and influence his life at large including politics. What should we do? What is Truth?
In short, human life is at its severe complexities. Truth is distorted: reality is misconceived. A re – search is inevitable. Jesus is Truth, Way and Life. Only those who know the truth can find the way to abundant life as conceived by Christ. No one does get to God except through Him. So let us open new horizons of analytic, evaluative and authoritative search into the Truth, which paves the way for new life. We are called upon such a mission of pilgrimage.