Elections–What they Tell Us About Ourselves–And the Loss of Truth

Truth has been redefined many times in history. Since the failure of the Enlightenment (late nineteenth century and early twentieth century) truth has taken on a personalized meaning. This redefining of truth is the cornerstone to what we call Post-Modernism.  So, never before in history has a personal pronoun been used as an adjective to truth. Now we have “their truth, his truth, and my truth.”

While my evangelical friends say I have “gone liberal” in my modern thinking, when it comes to truth, I’m an extreme fundamentalist. But I’m not alone. Many in the secular world, especially in the scientific community (except for maybe sociologists and psychologists) sill hold to the aspiration of finding real truth.

The Church has always, against the advice of Paul of Tarsus, adopted and absorb the flavor of the secular work in which it rest.  In this new age, the Church, reflecting the changes in the post-modern world, has also redefined truth as personal. But rather saying that it is “my truth” or “his truth” they will use the catchy phrase “Biblical truth.” This so-called Biblical truth has more to do with their subculture (particular church upbringing) than anything the Bible has ever said.

I have said many times that the two places that truth becomes most distorted is in religion and politics. We are now in the season where the two meet and meet strongly.

To illustrate this mobility of Biblical truth is to look at the spectrum of Christians and their notion of the best candidate for president. Each Christian subculture boast that they have the corner on Biblical truth. My Pacific NW and Lutheran (Midwest) Christian friends and family, saw Bernie Sanders as the candidate who supported Christian principles the most.  My Evangelical friends and family say that Donald Trump best emulates Christian principles. While I’m sorry to say that I don’t have many black Christian friends (and I wish I did) they would be quick to say that Hillary Clinton best represents the essence of the Gospel.

Now, I’m not saying that truth is relative, but the opposite. But first I must define truth the way I ascribe to it.

Truth is that which really is. It has nothing to do with doctrine in the context of, “My church teaches truth.” That statement means my church teaches what I agree with. Real truth is not defined by what we believe or by our experience. Yes, when a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it . . . it still makes the same sound, which could be detected by instruments. If God is there, I and I think he is, he dwells in this kind of real truth. So real truth should be no threat to the honest Christian.

I will now be quick to say that I’m not a Democrat or Republican. I think neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump deserves to be president, but one of the two (most likely Hillary) will be.

In this hotly contested political season I am appalled how Christians on each side promote their candidate. Mostly it’s the evangelicals promoting Trump. They promote their party so strongly that they start to live in a totally fantasy world. I have gotten “secret” videos from friends and family this week, each reported to show that Hillary is the devil. One yesterday (made by a Christian “Truth” site) has proof that Hillary directly sold weapons to Isil for money. Who really believes this shit? Apparently a lot of people do.

On the other side, of course the media, who created Trump to start with, is constantly trying to discredit him.

My point is simply this. Truth is real. Propaganda is a distortion of truth. The more that Christians allow themselves to be brainwashed by propaganda, the most distant they become from God who dwells in truth and reality.

Friedrich Nietzsche was partially right. His concepts are complex and I will slaughter them here in attempts to explain them. Simply the fundamental motive to our lives results in happiness and that happiness is determined by the fulfillment of the will and the course of that will is controlled by a function of our power to exert that will. In simpler (but not so accurate) word would be ambition.

So, each of the parties Republican and Democratic, has the will to succeed and that is the ultimate will, not to make America Great or any more idealistic notions. The motivation of each player (candidate) is to succeed by being elected. They will (if they get caught up in the emotions of it or “blind ambition” as we call it) will do ANYTHING to get elected.

The people become the pawns of those primal motives. They manipulate us to support their personal will.  Churches do the same. We do it to each other.

I did digress but I want to make a point. I am shocked as to how gullible we all are. And once we get taken in, we become even more gullible. I am shocked by the Evangelical leaders who see Trump as the great American hero, who will save Christianity and America (which they often mix).

I am equally appalled who do not question Hillary’ sincerity when she reads scripture in a church.

So what do we do? Do we give up and defer to cynicism?

Our country will go on. Our wise forefathers knew that if a nut-job gets elected, there are enough checks and balances to keep the country from disintegrating.

But a far more important issue is that we, humans first and Christians second, must have discernment. We must humbly recognize our mental frailty and how we can get some things wrong. Most of all, we must not give up on reality. There is a truth there. Trump did molest women . . . or he didn’t. Hillary did sell weapons to Isil or she didn’t. There is no relativism of those truths. It is our job to understand the motives of the power to will and deception on both sides. It is our responsibility to ask hard questions, the hardest ones to the people we agree with.

Sorry for the typos I did not have time to proof-read.

 

Mike

 

One thought on “Elections–What they Tell Us About Ourselves–And the Loss of Truth

  1. In Dante’s Inferno, the only thing the damned who knew Dante want to talk to him about is Italian City-State POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS and POLITICS.

    Think Dante was getting in another dig?
    Something American Christians should pay heed to?

    Like

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