At the end of Inception, Dom Cobb finally returns home to his kids after spending a long time in a dream world. Cobb carries a little top with him.
If the top keeps spinning, that means he is in a dream. If it stops and falls over, that means he is back in reality.
How does the ending of Inception make you feel? Why does it make you feel that way?
In The Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter has to face the reality of the wizarding world for the first time, and learns of his impending battle with Lord Voldemort.
Confused and uncertain, Harry asks Dumbledore for reassurance and for the truth about who he is.
"The question of whether that’s a dream or whether it’s real is the question I’ve been asked most about any of the films I’ve made. It matters to people because that’s the point about reality. Reality matters."
- Christopher Nolan, director of Inception
“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed, “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution.”
Why might the truth be both beautiful and terrible?
Have you had personal experience of encountering a truth in this way?
What tests might you use to distinguish the truth from fake news?
In one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate questions Jesus. Pilate is trying to ascertain the truth of allegations that Jesus is setting himself up as an alternative king to Caesar.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. 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.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
What strikes you about the truth claims Jesus makes?
Why might people like Pilate respond to Jesus’ truth claims evasively?
In claiming to embody the truth, Jesus is saying that he is revealing things as they really are.
In claiming a God’s-eye perspective, he is making a truth claim that vastly exceeds any made by any religious teacher or philosopher, before or since.
If Jesus really is God, why is he a more trustworthy source for truth than any other?
What are the potential factors that might prevent you from seriously engaging with Jesus’ claims to truth?