"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life." Advices and Queries no. 1
All Truth is a shadow except the last, except the utmost; yet every Truth is true in its kind. It is substance in its own place, though it be but a shadow in another place (for it is but a reflection from an intenser substance); and the shadow is a true shadow, as the substance is a true substance.
Isaac Penington, 1653
"From the earliest days Quakers were known for speaking truth as they experienced it inwardly in their meetings for worship. They didn't make a distinction between belief and action. Truth was almost more of a verb than a noun; it was something which you 'did' as you experienced it." QPSW Testimonies Toolkit, 2007
"... truth restrains us and links us together, ...We make contracts with each other with words; we share information, make agreements and commitments, hold each other accountable and show who we are. Lies are broken contracts, in which words misrepresent what the speaker knows; they aim to delude, exploit and divide. The liar may get stronger, but the social fabric gets weaker. That strength is precarious, so lies have be piled atop lies to keep accountability at a distance." Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian, 6 Jan 2022
"Truth is complicated but from each of the ten types of truth we have surveyed, a relatively simple rubric can be drawn to make it flower:
· Spiritual ‘truths’ should not compete with secular ones but should be seen as belonging to a different species.
· We should think for ourselves, not by ourselves.
· We should be sceptical not cynical.
· To become smarter, we must understand ways we are dumb.
· Truths need to be created as well as found.
· Alternative perspectives should be sought not as alternative truths but as enrichers of truth.
· Power doesn’t speak the truth; truth must speak to power.
· For a better morality we need better knowledge.
· Truth needs to be understood holistically.
The defence of truth often takes the form of battles to defend particular truths that divide us. … The greater, unifying enterprise is to defend the shared value we place on truth. The virtues that lead us towards it, and the principles that help us identify it. Those who stand up for this are [pushing at an open door because ultimately, we all recognise that truth is not a philosophical abstraction. Rather it is central to how we live and make sense of ourselves, the world and each other, day by day."
Baggini, Julian (2017). A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World, London: Quercus pp107-108
I stand in profound respect of those who take up public office. I believe that we should give them all our support. We need their strength – their moral strength. But we only deserve their moral strength if we provide the community out of which it can grow – where else do public servants come from if not among us? – and so, in the end, strengthening moral courage in public life is a call to every one of us to take moral responsibility, to set our face towards the good and travel towards it, together.
Foster-Gilbert, Claire (Ed). The Moral Heart of Public Service. London 2017, p. 92
Honesty and integrity
Integrity is one of the virtues for which Quakers in the past have been praised. It is a quality worth having, but it is doubtful if it can be reached by self-conscious effort or by adherence to a principle… Integrity is a condition in which a person’s response to a total situation can be trusted: the opposite of a condition in which he would be moved by opportunist or self-seeking impulses breaking up his unity as a whole being. This condition of trust is different from the recognition that he will always be kind or always tell the truth. The integrity of some Dutch Friends I have met showed itself during the war in their willingness to tell lies to save their Jewish friends from the Gestapo or from starvation.
Kenneth C Barnes, 1972 (20:44 Quaker faith & practice)
'Truth should be supported. Falsehood should be rebuked. Iniquity should be corrected.'
Aldfrith/Flann Fiana Mac Ossu, King of Northumbria 685-704/5
(In his reign, the Lindisfarne Gospels were composed)
Quoted by Fintan O'Toole in The Irish Times 8th Feb 2022
Updated 5 August 2021
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