May 14, 2019
Writer: Jaime Strobel
“If you hold to my teaching,” Jesus said, “You are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Robert Bird, English Professor quoted from the Bible in his devotional address to students at BYU-Idaho.
Learning, studying and reading about ideas has always been of interest to Bird. He enjoys philosophical texts from Socrates and Plato and referred to their analogies and allegories in his talk.
He said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio that he decided to focus his devotional address on truth telling, because a university works to discover, preserve and disseminate truth.
“I believe that the truth is what will better our lives,” he said. “We’re better off when we know the truth because the truth works and helps us succeed.”
Bird helped demonstrate the power of truth in his talk by sharing the end of Jesus’ life mission when he is taken to Pilate and asked if He is the king of the Jews? “You say that I am a king,” the Savior said, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate then asked, “What is truth?”
Many people believe that Christ’s mission was to just become a king and use his power, Bird said. However, Christ also came to the earth to be a testifier of truth, and He knew truth is the best remedy for the political, religious and social wrongs of any today.
“The thing about truth is it works, it’s successful,” he said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio. “That’s why it’s so important. On the other hand falsehoods or lies do not work. They hinder our progress.”
He explained that the opposite of truth is lies.
“Whereas truth works, lies frustrate,” he said in his devotional address. “Whereas truth endures, lies falter. Whereas truth expands, lies diminish. Whereas truth welcomes discussion, lies become defensive. Whereas truth promotes reconciliation and healing, lies lead to betrayal and distrust.”
Socrates said discovering truth can be difficult, discomforting and requires effort.
In the allegory of the cave, which he talked about in devotional, he explained the story of a prisoners who lived in a cave for most of their life. One of the prisoners was eventually drug out of the cave into bright sunlight. The new environment was very discomforting.
“We get comfortable with the world as we see it, but the truth may introduce us to new ideas that are different then what we are used to,” Bird said.
Finding truth takes hard work, but it always results with an end reward.
He encourages his students to enter a truth seeking journey and embrace it. “Truth endures; it is self-sustaining, and it works,” he said.