Monday, January 19, 2009

Teaching Truthfullness

The other day I gave a presentation to a group of college students in my college music fraternity regarding the virtues of truth and justice.  At the outset I did not tell them where I got my information.  I was a little nervous even approaching the subject of truth because in today's world defending the notion of absolute truth without any respect to our culture's highest virtue of "niceness" can get you in a lot of trouble. 

I used St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Baltimore Catechism, and the Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent) for the entirety of my content.  I swept away anything that hinted of religion without sacrificing the core message of what truth is and how we apply it in our lives. 

Here are some topics I discussed in my presentation:
  • Definition of truth according to St. Thomas
  • Offenses again the truth (calumny, rash judgment, detraction, lying...)
  • Justice
  • Rights and Obligation
  • Charity
  • Fraternal Correction
I received a few questions such as "Are you saying there is absolute truth and not our own personal truths?"  That's exactly what I was saying.  At those questions I explained our society has mixed up the definition of truth with that of perception.  They are not the same.  Perception is not reality. 

It might have been a good thing to survey afterwards and check if anyone had heard the terms "rash judgment", "detraction", or "lying by ommision" before. From our conversations it seemed they hadn't.

But they ate it up. Young people are hungry for truth in today's world.  They want to live good lives but our society and sadly, parents or CCD classes frankly, do not teach the virtue as they should anymore.  Relativism has broken the gates of our city wide open and if we are going to be honest it all started with... The Reformation.  Revealing that the tap of relativism began dripping at the Reformation was not in my presentation. 

After the presentation I had several conversations with the guys.  They wanted my notes so they could take this back to their chapters to teach it or even just do more research into the subject. 

"Actually, I got it all from St. Thomas Aquinas..."

And so the conversation began...

I sincerely hope my presentation encouraged the participants to live a better life in accordance with the truth.  I hope someday they can teach their kids that it actually matters.  And who knows, maybe one or two of them will look into St. Thomas and discover the riches of the Catholic Faith.


Jessie said...

Excellent post. I like your blog.

Matt said...

Thanks for the comment Jessie. Hopefully you'll keep reading. :-)

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton