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"THIS version of the facts!"

"THIS version of the facts"

The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary. "I don't intend to publish it," he said. "I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God."

"Don't you think God already knows the facts?" Bethe asked.

"Yes," replied Szilard. "He knows the facts. But He does not know THIS version of the facts."


How many versions of the facts ARE there? Two motorists are involved in a minor fender-bender, witnessed -- shall we say? -- by no one else. They call a policeman to adjudicate. In such a situation, probably there are three versions of the "facts". Each motorist has seen it all through his eyes, and with his perception of the other driver. And the poor officer needs to balance two biased, self-interested accounts with his own objective investigation of the evidence -- skid marks, exact positions of the two vehicles, damage to each vehicle, positions of each vehicle relative to stop signs or traffic lights or lane markers, etc, etc.

Let us say that three bystanders are nearby, and they all witness the same crash. Each one is standing in a different place; each one has been looking at something different just before the crash; and each one has focused most on some particular feature of the incident.

Now there are almost certainly six different versions of the "facts".

Are the "facts" further affected by the types of cars each motorist was driving? By the race, or gender, or appearance, or socioeconomic class of the motorists -- or of the bystanders?

Yes, of course they are!

In some fundamental way, then, it may be said that every single person who has ever lived has lived in his or her own "world". No one else has had exactly the same experiences. Even if two people were to have exactly the same experiences, then the subjective biases, dispositions, prejudices, or underlying philosophies of each party would certainly by very different. So each will have his own version of the "facts".

Is there a TRUE version of the facts? Of course there is. It is God's! How much time and energy and effort do we all expend, in the unexpressed (but nevertheless very real) "fool's errand"... of trying to get God to see the "facts" from our viewpoint?

The irrepressible Snoopy sat on the roof of his doghouse, tapping away on his little typewriter. "I see you are still working on your book of theology," Charlie Brown said. "Do you have a title yet?"

"Yes, indeed," thought Snoopy -- a gleam in his eye. (If you haven't met them, you should know that Snoopy, being a dog, never actually speaks to the kids in the comic strip. But he has his own ways of getting his message across -- the typewriter being one of them. A closer look at the page in the machine tells us Snoopy's book title. The ultimate title for a book of theology? "Has It Ever Occurred to You that Might Be Wrong?"

Abraham Lincoln often asked visitors to the Oval Office a question. Pointing to a dog nearby, he would ask, "How many legs does that dog have?" "Four, of course," would be the answer. "Now," Abe would say, "let's call his tail a leg. Now, how many legs does he have?" "Five." "No," replied Abe, "Still four! Because calling a tail a leg... doesn't make it so!"

Your facts. My facts. God's facts. Let's resolve, from this time forward, to try to see things from God's point of view; that, and that alone, is the way of understanding.

How do we do that? Read the Bible. Pray about it, and read it again. See what it has to say about real-life situations. Put its teachings into practice, as best you can. Read the Bible some more. See what it has to say about the future. See what is has to say... to YOU, personally. See what it promises to those who believe it. Pray again. Keep on reading.

Don't ever let someone else tell you what the Bible says; check it out for yourself.

The Bible is the Word of God. In the things that really matter, there simply is no other version of the "facts"!

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