It is an election year and almost every point of intellectual contact I have has something to say about it. One of the overwhelming voices has been coming from the Democratic and liberal side and it echoes over and over the same refrain, “Bush Lied.” The dialog around this issue was marvelously encapsulated in O’Reilly’s interview of Michael Moore. For me, there is a theme that runs as an undercurrent through all of this. Whether it is opinion pieces, commentary, punditry, or just plain old folks, the undergirding issue I see is the loss of TRUTH. Not truth or Truth, both of which, while carrying some degree of intrinsic power in their innate self-referencing, are human constructs and predisposed to the subjective distortions of venal human thinking. In the hands of most of us, truth is as malleable as putty and becomes a shell game in support of our current pet peeve. Just watch O’Reilly’s interview for a current example and remember that a lot of the apologists for Moore argue that he speaks what is true for him and like Moore close their ears to any counterargument.
As a Christian, I always see the cause of those tortuous manglings of truth residing in the corrupted and the fallen nature of all humankind, even among people who have put on the new man in salvation through Jesus Christ. Yes, wood, hay, and stubble are used by even the redeemed to build houses of straw and argue against straw men. So, I make a distinction between truth/Truth and what, for the purpose of this little exposition, I will call TRUTH. By this I mean the fundamental absolutes that proceed directly from God, who alone arbitrates their meaning. I know, I have lost a large portion of the audience right there. Since my argument is that we can only apprehend the meaning of those TRUTHs through divine revelation combined with a renewed mind, most people will reject even the idea of TRUTH. In addition, even among the regenerate a reasonable apprehension of TRUTH is found only in those who are willing to submit their bodies as living sacrifices to God (see Romans 12:1-4).
While scripture argues that God’s TRUTH is foolishness to the natural man (sorry but that’s what it says), even those in total rebellion have been enlightened by God’s true light (see John 1:6-9), at least enough to know that God is God (see Romans 1:18-22). His TRUTH is there, informing their conscience, whispering its still small voice against the tide of their insolence, their rebellion to that TRUTH.
In the natural man’s wholesale abandonment of first things nothing has really changed since the first sin in Eden. From the beginning the issue for us has always been the trustworthiness of God’s TRUTH, the veracity of His revealed Word. It is no different today. Whether from the ongoing manipulations of the homosexual lobby both inside and outside the Church and the obfuscation of those in authority who support their cause, to the arguments of secular men like Robert Reich, who attack Christianity at every turn in the public sphere, God’s TRUTH is rejected and man’s truth/Truth is elevated as the guiding principle for all worthy thought and action. It doesn’t seem to matter that this politically correct, self-referencing, humanistic construct is always subjective and relative, changing with the needs of those in power and the demands of the existential moment. While initially rooted in the enlightenment and its elevation of man to apex of all things, this position finds its fruition in the modern deconstructionist’s abandonment of intrinsic meaning and all absolutes as it trumpets its intellectual bankruptcy as virtue. The truth is what I say it is because it is true for me, the argument goes.
During this election season, as we banter about the concepts of patriotism and the American “dream”, we have to remember that the inalienable rights of mankind expressed in American Republican government find their foundations in God’s revealed TRUTH. Remove that and rely on the relativistic truths of the post modernist and those inalienable rights become the nothing more than the consent of the power elite, without meaning or valid precedence, and the door is thrown open to the final solution, the execution of God from every aspect of life along with all those who believe in Him and His TRUTH. W. B. Yeats was indeed prophetic when in 1921 he penned his burning question.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
What rough beast indeed slouches through our post-modern, truth impaired culture to be born.