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In the Trenches - Truth & Lies

02 May 2014

We are being lied to; lied to every day.  Lied to by our news media who, straight-faced, promote themselves as bastions of objectivity, but then shamelessly distort images in order to promote their own agenda.  Lied to by advertisers who tell us that if we only had this certain brand of shampoo, life would be perfect.  Lied to by our culture of self-esteem that tells us that we can’t tell our kids ‘No’ because it hurts their feelings.  Lied to by our banks that tell us they’re doing us a favour by letting them use our money for their gain.  Lied to by our politicians who tell us they have our interests at heart, but can’t seem to keep their promises because they’re too busy lining their own pockets while maligning other parties for doing the same.  Lied to by religious leaders who, in the name of whichever god, spread hate, fear, and hypocrisy.  Lied to by atheists who refuse to acknowledge atheism's brutal record evidenced by the 20th century.  Lied to by the likes of Richard Dawkins who tells us that faith is the belief in something for which we have no evidence; or worse, in spite of the evidence!  Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies!

This column is called 'Faith & Reason', and I understand what’s meant by that title, but it betrays the underlying assumption that it’s for faith (and particularly the Christian faith) to provide reasons to justify its beliefs.  But shouldn’t everyone, regardless of their belief system, offer us reasons why we should believe what they’re telling us?  Surely 'the burden of proof’ is on every one of us to provide evidence for the world-views we hold and promote in life: for the politician promoting their policy; for people who advocate a particular view of morality; for those who agitate for social change; for the atheist, the theist, the polytheist - everyone. Unfortunately, in our day, it’s far more fashionable to assume that our views are self-evident and then attack those who hold a different view to our own.

My problem isn’t that we should provide evidence or reason in support of what we believe, it’s that in a culture of rampant weaponized-lies, launched across the trenches of traditional and social media, how am I to believe anything at all?

It’s this very question (amongst others) that’s produced the philosophy of post-modernism, the denial of all authority and meta-narratives.  But post-modernism is itself another lie because it promotes the mind-jarring idea that there is no one truth – except, of course, the one truth that there is no one truth - another lie!

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of being lied to.  Could everyone please stop yelling, take our fingers off the send/post button, and take the time to actually understand what we believe and why.  Then, put forward a positive case for our beliefs.  Could we stop and listen to each other; honestly listen to the beliefs of others instead of repeating vacuous sound bites?

As humans, we’re all trying to make sense of life and seeking truth.  But I think we’re looking for more than that.  Not only are we looking for something to believe in, but someone to believe in; someone who not only tells us the truth but who will be true and faithful to us; someone we can trust.

For the Christian faith, truth isn’t merely the sum total of facts about reality discoverable from a variety of sources such as philosophy, empirical evidence, and experience.  Ultimate truth and reality is found in the person of God - not just a mind behind the universe but a divine personality.  Truth, then, isn’t simply to be understood but to be known relationally.

If this is the case, if truth and relationship are intrinsically linked, then shouldn’t this influence the way in which we pursue truth?  Shouldn’t the search for truth and the sharing of our discoveries be conducted in relationship with others?

Churchill once quipped that "truth is often surrounded by a bodyguard of lies".  The question is, are we willing to examine ourselves honestly to expose any lies that distort the truth in our lives?  Perhaps, if we were honest with ourselves, we might be more humble about the 'bodyguards' in the employ of others!

I have come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the self-revelation of the divine person.  Jesus is the one through whom we come to know ultimate truth and reality, not only as we learn about him, but as we walk with him in relationship through life.

I have found Jesus to be an uncomfortable truth who’s in the business of sacking the security detail I have spent my life-time recruiting.  As painful as that can be, I find myself all the better for it.

Kristopher Bate
Director
Thinking Faith
www.thinkingfaith.co.nz

 


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