SEEK 11 – Post Truth
Question: Do we live in a post-truth era?
Bible Reading: John 18:28-40
Text: “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.” (John 18:38)
When you are a child things are simple. You believe what your parents tell you. You believe what your teacher tells you. You believe what anyone tells you. But very quickly you learn how dangerous that can be. We observe with the Psalmist that ‘everyone is a liar’ (Psalm 116:11). We become the victim of lies and the teller of lies. We know that truth is important but the more we go, the harder we find it to know what the truth is. In fact, we now live in a world where what is called objective truth (that is real truth – things that are really true) is denied. Instead, we are left to just make up our own truth. In the words of the Manic Street Preachers, ‘this is my truth, tell me yours’. It is a very confusing world. A world of spin, social media and fake news. Is it true that we have moved beyond true truth and now just live in a world where we can make up our own?
There are those who argue that in this post-truth world, all truth depends on power. The people who decide what is true are the powerful. They are the oppressors. There is a certain amount of truth in that – but it is not the whole truth.
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about truth. It is the devil who is the father of lies – and who introduced humanity to falsehood – claiming that if we disobeyed God we would be like God. (Genesis 3). This has always been humanities biggest problem. We exchange the truth of God for a lie – we worship and serve the created thing, rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Jesus tells us ‘I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14;6). When we reject him, we are rejecting truth.
So, in that sense – much of the Western world is now rejecting its Christian foundations – and is choosing to live by lies. In a world which believes that truth is determined by power, those who get power seek to rewrite the truth. That is why we now have a world where powerful people cannot tell us what a woman is. A world where words have less and less meaning. Where language is used in an Orwellian way.
George Orwell wrote one of the most important books of the 20th Century – 1984. In this book about a dystopian future, he spoke prophetically about how truth could be distorted by The Party. “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength”. “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” You will notice how in our culture the meaning of words is being destroyed. Just think of how equality now means inequality, tolerance means intolerance and diversity means uniformity.
Orwell recognised that if you controlled education and the media you could rewrite history “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
But he holds out the possibility of something different. “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”
But we need to be careful here. Sometimes we can just exchange one lie for another. The internet is full of conspiracy theories and many false facts. That’s another way the devil distorts the truth – sowing confusion and uncertainty.
There is also the danger that we just accept truths we like – and deny or avoid the truths we do not like.
So, can we overcome all of that? The answer is straightforward. Pilate tried to avoid the question of the truth of Jesus being innocent by asking ‘what is truth’? The implication is that we could not know. We might as well just give up the search for truth. But that itself is not true.
We can know the truth, because ultimately the truth is found in a person – Jesus Christ. He is the fountain and source of all truth. All truth is God’s truth.
The post truth world is a world that is on a highway to Hell. Those who walk in the truth of Christ are on the way to heaven – and will experience a foretaste of that joy, love and beauty on earth. Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Consider: How do find out whether something is true or not? What role does humility play? How does relying on Jesus as the truth, help you see more clearly the truth?
Live not by Lies – Rod Dreher –
1984 – George Orwell
Prayer: O Lord, send forth your light and truth; let them be guides to me. Open my eyes that I may see clearly. Set me free by your truth. Lord Jesus, I believe in you. Grant me the wisdom to see all things in your light, for your glory – Amen.
You can buy SEEK here – https://koorong.com/product/s-e-e-k-real-word-questions-real_9781527107052
Or Amazon, Christian bookshops and other online bookshops….