“I’m not making this up”

It’s the perpetual refrain. The pause, mid-sentence, that follows a remarkable statement or strange declaration. “I’m not making this up.”

For years I have just nodded my head, taking it on trust, certain that one who said he was not making it up would not be making it up. To do so would surely be a great sin, misleading all who leant an ear, multiplied a million times as their words passed on in audio and video for years and years without end. Of course, they couldn’t possibly be making it up.

Tonight I wondered. Reading a verse of the Quran, I wondered about something he had told us. The great details, punctuated by “I’m not making this up” which seemed to contradict that verse so completely. I wondered about the source of the amazing details I was furnished with, but found references nowhere.

For the first time I asked myself, “Is he making this up?” After years as an ardent admirer, I asked myself, “Is he trustworthy?” Reflecting, I asked, “Is he telling the truth?”

But then that perpetual refrain just rang back in my ears. “I’m not making this up.” Do we take his promise on trust?

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