Jesus answered: “To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness into the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,”’

Pilate saith unto him: “What is truth?”

According to the belief in which most of us have been brought up, Pilate’s question was answered almost as soon as it was spoken. The act of crucifixion, to which he delivered Christ, was the climax of a revelation. A divine revelation. A revelation designed by God for the eternal illumination of the human mind and the complete salvation of the human soul.

That was about two thousand years ago. Today the vast majority of people are not even nominally Christian. Among those nominally Christian the majority are either openly skeptical or merely indifferent, while the minority are riven into sects perpetually disputing over the real meaning of the revelation.

Since the dawn of organized Christianity the argument “about it and about” has never ceased. Among the first Christians there were differences of opinion on whether Christ had come to save the Jews in particular or the Gentiles in general. Early Church Councils were marked by violent and sometimes bloody recriminations on points of divine doctrine. When the Church grew powerful it developed its missionary service on a large scale and finding even its supernatural message slow of acceptance hastened the good work of conversion with crusades of slaughter and pillage.

Later, from within the Church itself, there grew up an organized revolt against the errors which the Church taught. The reformers claimed to have found the true truth in the Bible, not in the traditions of the Church. Since the Reformation the Roman Church has held obstinately to its error, while the Protestents have produced a multitude of competing sects each one claiming to represent the genuine essence of the divine revelation.

A hundred years ago every Protestant believed without the least hesitation, that the Bible was literally the Word of God. Today this belief survives here and there as a mental curiosity. Among educated people it has vanished, along with the religious belief in miracles, in the efficacy of holy relics, in the earth being the centre of the Universe, in the existence of demons, in witchcraft, in the eternal damnation of all but a few selected souls.

We know now that these and kindred beliefs are false. Yet they were once beliefs defended by the Church – the inheritor of divine truth – with banishment, torture and death.

While the “truth” of two thousand years ago has been dissolving under dispute and doubt, a new body of truth has been forming and strengthening. It is the truth which the Churches, from the days of Galileo, have sought to slay – the truth we gain from the patient study of our bodies, our minds, the earth beneath us, the stars above us. Each generation has added to the mosaic of sciences and made firmer and clearer the message that knowledge bears for the guidance of human endeavour.

Pilate’s question may never be fully answered. But we have at last set our feet on the path that leads to the answer.

- R.P.A. Tracts for the Millions

- Revolt, 24 April 1929

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"பார்ப்பான், சூத்திரன், பறையன் என்கிற ஜாதி அமைப்பு இருக்கிற வரையில் இந்த நாட்டில் ஒரு இஞ்ச் அளவுகூட முன்னேற்றம் காண முடியாது என்று உறுதியாகக் கூறுவேன்" - பெரியார்


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