Sincerely Held Religious Belief

“But what is truth?” the Roman prefect sighed;
and was not answered by sincerity.
The heartfelt falsehood is still just a lie,
while truth invites to uncertainty.
A sincerely held religious belief –
a rattle portending the viper’s strike –
not pearl of wisdom but weapon of grief;
sincerity leavens not truth from spite.
Belief is neither weapon nor shield;
the truth will set you free, but lies control.
And venomous “truths” to which all must yield,
will shackle the mind and burden the soul.
The lie permits not a doubt to linger;
But truth, e’er-bruised, invites probing finger….

– C Eric Funston, 27 May 2016

Illustration: Detail from Gerrit Van Honthorst, The Incredulity of St Thomas, 1620, Museo Del Prado, Madrid, Spain