You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
What happens when a society does not know the truth? How important is truth to the function of a people? Twenty-first century America is a testing ground that’s yielding up the answers faster than we know what to do with them. We find ourselves walking, certainly not on water, not even on thin ice, but on a mere illusion and we can hear it starting to splinter.
I suspect that if I did a thorough investigation into the origins of man’s denial of truth I’d end up in the Garden listening to Eve chat with a snake, so I’ll limit my remarks to what has happened to our truth-meter just this last century.
During the latter half of the 20th century, perhaps in a dishonest attempt to build a philosophical middle ground on which the sterilized public schools could comfortably stand, the idea of absolute TRUTH, truth outside of time and space, truth eternal, was removed from the premises – you have your truth and I have mine – in one sentence wiping out all logic, all fact. I’ll always remember fondly the honors student who pounded her front-row desk one day and announced with pontifical assurance, “There’s no such thing as absolute truth!” She had learned her social studies lessons well and seemed confused by the eruption of laughter as her absolute fist made its final contact with her absolute desk.
That there exists no absolute truth is the most pernicious concept ever to be planted in American soil. We are now seeing the fruit it bears – shriveled and poisonous, its snaky vines working their way like kudzu through the fields of the Republic.
TRUTH – all caps and absolute -- is God. To teach children that there is no TRUTH is to tell them that God does not exist, that at the bottom of it all, there is no purpose, there are no expectations, no explanations. Then we want them to study hard (Why, if none of it is true?), and we wonder why they dive wholesale into drugs and sex instead. What else? Why not?
Truth – in the lower case – is the first thing to go once the Father of TRUTH has been expelled. After all, if there are no solid, divine expectations, then the end doesn’t even have to justify the means. It’s open season on reality and it can become anything a person wants it to become, without all the fuss-and-bother of a whining conscience.
We now live in a nation where truth cannot be found. Let’s look at several areas of concern:
• Science, which used to be man’s attempt to learn the truth about everything in the world that God had given us, is now so prostituted, so eager for accolades and for funding that it will come to whatever conclusion is required of it. The global warming fiasco, of course comes to mind, but look also at the reluctant universities who refuse to even consider the new Intelligent Design work, at the mess made of people’s lives by pharmaceutical malfeasance, at the silliness that issues forth from our researchers – 'Humans evolved after a female chimpanzee mated with a pig': Extraordinary claim made by American geneticist” Science was our second god and now it’s just our drunken uncle.
• Journalism used to function as means for locating truth, and look what’s happened there. News sources don’t even seem embarrassed when caught red-handed printing false stories and making personal attacks. The fourth estate has been swallowed by the third; reporters do the bidding of the White House – hiding what has to be hidden and trumpeting whatever they can find that appears to support their tint of reality. The result? We’ve twice elected a liar to the White House – but we’ll get to him later.
• And how can a justice system even pretend to function where truth has no entre? Look at what happened to George Zimmerman – forced into a trial for which there was no evidence; his life imploded. True, the jurors acquitted him, but the damage had already been done. Prosecutors are more interested in getting the conviction, and the positive press, than they are finding the truth. Defense lawyers are more interested in gaming the system, and judges – they can be bought. I am worried that the courts are now becoming too dependent on “science” – look at the Massachusetts case where a lab tech is accused of faking lab results in 34,000 separate cases. Justice? Not so much.
• Our economy is barely chugging along. Why? No business transactions can be made without trust (you’ll note that word is a derivative of “truth.”). We have to be able to trust the people we do business with, and we must be able to trust what the government will do. No number of contracts and signatures can protect us from those who want to unfairly separate us from our money. No number of laws can either, and now we are drowning our businesses in regulations and even those are not truthfully designed to protect us from fraud; the regulations are their own fraud, created to bestow power on those who least deserve it. Once a man’s word was his bond. No longer.
• Our societal systems are a mess, but so is our personal sense of identity. Having denied the truth, we have started with the erroneous assumption, with the lie, that mankind is essentially good. This preconceived notion gives us no way to understand the hideous things people are capable of doing to each other. It also robs us of our sense of control – if I’ve done something wrong, and people are basically good, then fault (and thereby control) has to be placed elsewhere – on our parents, our poverty level, our chemistry – any place but back on us, and our nature. This confusion has stolen from our schools any possibility for discipline, but more importantly, it makes it impossible to, as Nike says, just do it. America is so weighted down by everyone and everything we blame, and feel guilty about, that we can’t more forward.
But the most devastating result of turning our backs on truth is the government we now live under. We have a government not of the people, by the people or for the people; we have a government of lies – government for government’s sake only. We have elected a man to the presidency who is the exact opposite of George Washington. Barack Obama has not only lied so often that I see him in my mind like Pigpen from Charlie Brown – lies circling around his head like dirt. This man IS a lie. We have no idea who he is, where he’s from, who has financed his rise to power, who pulls the strings now. He is such a cipher that the most horrifying rumors swirl around him fed by the dearth of actual fact and the sense of evil that surrounds him. No believable birth certificate, no college records, no old friends – what are we to think?
He has employed dozens of people of questionable repute for jobs not allowed for in the Constitution. He appears to have no compunction at all about telling bald-faced lies on videotape, knowing (doesn’t he?) that he will be caught later.
He completely denies the truth of the Constitution – to him it’s just an annoyance. It seems that very few people in Washington, including the Supreme Court, have any use for the Law of the Land –, but that makes a certain amount of sense. The United States Constitution is our national Absolute Truth. This president is what happens to a society that has decided that even Truth can fade and wither.
We have decided against the Truth of God, against His Word, against the truth of observable fact, against our national standard of legal truth. We have succumbed to strong delusion, lies permeate the air we breathe; we are told daily that bad is good, that down is up, that the website is working.
I pray daily for the return of TRUTH to this country, the return of justice, the return of the American Way.