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As I begin the slow, arduous process of reading broadly on faith and reason to write a paper for my Philosophy class, I find I am constantly struck by the concept of truth. What is it? Does it exist? Is it, as one friend of mine has put in his “About Me” section on his Facebook page, “what rocks dream about”?

These past few days I’ve been following with some interest the story of Mike Daisey, a storyteller/monologist who created a popular stage show in which he tells the story of his trip to China to visit, firsthand, Apple’s factories on order to report on their poor working conditions. The show is popular enough that the NPR show This American Life excerpted it after researching its accuracy. It is, according to host Ira Glass, their most downloaded show ever.

And much of it is a lie.

Glass (and Daisey) are quick to point out that the conditions are in fact bad. Very bad. Atrocious, you might say. But what makes (or made) Daisey’s tale so gripping were numerous firsthand accounts and details, details which Daisey claimed time and again he collected in China, but were in reality secondhand rumors. Other details of his trip were, according to his translator, entirely fabricated.

Daisey’s defense? That as a storyteller he is not indebted to tell the truth per se, and that the underlying issue he was undertaking- to bring attention to the abuses of Foxconn and Apple- were true. Daisey has apologized, and even given a ‘speech’ at Georgetown (fair warning, Daisey really enjoys the ‘oh fudge!’ word),  but it is not overly sincere.

How does this tie into Philosophy of Religion? Because it’s easy, at least for me, to get sucked into the minute and necessary details and forget to take my conclusions and shine them onto the broader world. As a Christian, a husband, a father, a hopeful pastor, I need to remember that good, salt of the earth people probably won’t be wading through Anselm or Hume or Plantinga anytime soon, but they do wrestle with the conclusions. Guys like Daisey are a dime a dozen, if not in their talent (he is a gifted storyteller) in their view of truth. Do the ends justify the means? Does it really matter if his chronology and details are exaggerated? And if it’s okay for him to exaggerate for the sake of story, what about me? My kids? Or, to turn it specifically to a church issue, what about the Gospel authors? Or Moses? The Chronicler?

I know it’s a bit of a reach, but not that much.


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