Steamboat Springs If truth springs from argument amongst friends, as Scottish philosopher David Hume once said, then the "Exploring the Sacred" discussion Thursday in Olympian Hall may have sprung some universal gems.
"Those things that we believe to be true often cause conflict among people," said Marchele McCarthy, who hosts the periodic discussions with her husband, Tim McCarthy.
Representatives from the Buddhist, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Baha'i and Catholic faiths expressed their religion's doctrine on what is truth. The panelists then answered questions from more than 70 community members who attended the talk.
"Coming out of the Judeo-Christian tradition, universal truth is the Bible," said Rev. Ernest Bayer of Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs. "The main message is that God loves us and he is calling for us to love him back and to love one another."
Pastor Jason Clark of First Baptist Church of Steamboat said to understand truth, one needs to evaluate three criteria of what is real.
"One is by experience and observations - what we see, what we hear, what we feel," he said. "The second way is through philosophy, through our reasoning - faith in the way we think. The third way is through revelation, which requires faith in what somebody else has said, mainly through God the creator."
Kerry Hart is a follower of the Baha'i faith and dean of Colorado Mountain College's Steamboat campus. Hart said that despite his experience in academia, scientific fact is not always the truth.
"At one time, the world was flat. That was an absolute truth, and we know that has changed. We can't rely on that as being absolute," he said. "What I believe is that there is one God, and all religions speak some spiritual truth : the Golden Rule is one example."
Tim Olmsted, of the Buddhist Center of Steamboat Springs, said truth is what transcends time and place.
"Ultimately, what we would say is truth is beyond concept, beyond words and beyond our fabrication," he said.
Tim Selby, associate pastor at United Methodist Church in Steamboat, said he took a lesson about what truth is from his children.
"My daughter said, 'Dad, that is kind of hard to explain,'" he said. "And my son said that (truth) is when you are being honest.'"
Selby added that he really doesn't like the word truth.
"For so long, it has been used as a club to divide or separate," he said. "When my son said 'be honest,' I liked that because it's a verb. It's a way of being. Truth isn't some external thing we uncover. It's also a way of being."
Paul Stewart, who represented the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said Thursday's forum was important to understanding the essence of truth.
"We challenge each other to put away our pride in what we believe is true and thinking that everybody else is wrong," said Stewart, who has served as a bishop in Steamboat for four years.
"Truth is Christ, the foundation of life. Truth is the same yesterday, today and forever," he said. "It has nothing to do with the number of people who believe it or who knows it."
Discussion leader Tim McCarthy said he values the different viewpoints in the ongoing "Explore the Sacred" discussions.
"Basically, we wanted to bring people together and create a forum where differing opinions can be raised in a respectful way and have a discussion with differing views than our own," Tim McCarthy said. "You can see it on a local level every day, we all have the ability to come together and at least be civil to each other, and that is why we are here."