Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Black or White



Black or White?

The recent impeachment complaint against the Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has made people think about the truth about the “Hello Garci” recordings. The is a new organization of civic society people who are for the impeachment of the president. They call themselves as “Black and White”. To them the truth about the impeachment complaint is black and white.  The Black and White Movement “believe the issues surrounding the presidency and the impeachment complaint are as clear as Black and White. There are no shades of gray when it comes to the Truth.”

But what is truth anyway? Is it black and white? Has truth have many shades or colours for that matter? The best remembered rhetorical question in the Gospels is that of Pontius Pilate who asked his prisoner Jesus Christ, “What is truth?” Take note that the Black and White Movement spells truth with an uppercase T, while the Evangelist writes it with a small “t”.

Pilate asked the most famous rhetorical question in history [John 18]. After which he said he found no fault in this man [Jesus]. A procurator like Pilate is Rome’s chief executive and judge in a province. Pilate using Roman Law found no breach of law in Jesus’ acts. With that  he asked “What have you done?”

The same question can be said to all of us. But Jesus was present before the procurator. If he is the truth then he made himself apparent. His claim that his kingdom is not of this world is His claim alone and no one else. A claim that is true at least in Jesus’ mind. It is possible that we cannot recognise this truth due to bias and this clouded Pilate’s judgement and so thus is the story of Jesus in the Gospels.

But the Black and White Movement is not witness to the acts of the President concerning the grounds for her impeachement. It has to find out the truth through filters of reason, experience, culture, religion and science. With all these filters, can you see clearly in black or white? Or will you see shades of gray?

There is a danger in claiming to see Black and White clearly. The whole facet of human experience is thus limited to two. The weighing of evidence requires that all shades of experience and testimony be tested. We scientists use the scientific method.  Judges use reason and law.  At least in science a wrong inference has no moral consequeces. In law and justics, a judgement made in black and white may result in injustice.

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