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What is truth?

We all seem to see truth in different way these days. Is this progress or a travesty? 

Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all. (John 18:38)

Pilate knew that all Jesus said was true, but still allowed the drama to play out to its awful conclusion. As Christians we need not just to ask the same question, what is truth?, but to seek it earnestly, and deal with the consequences.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Sometimes the truth is clear, as in the question posed at the head of the previous article, was Jesus goy? The fact that some choose to avoid the truth says more about them than perhaps they realise. Most of us have perhaps s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d the truth now and again. I should know, I come from a family who positively revel in it. Here’s a typical dinner-time conversation from my earlier days:

Father: I had a really famous actor in my taxi today.

Mother: Who was it?

Father: Can’t remember, but he’s been in hundreds of films.

Sister : That’s nothing, my teacher used to be an actress. She’s been in thousands of films.

Me: So what! My teacher told me I’m such a good writer that someday millions of people will want to read my books!

In fact, Maltz exaggeration is probably the most endearing family trait known to man (see what I’ve done here?) But you really didn’t want to know that. Back to the real World …

The truth is not so much a certainty as just an option in today’s World. They call it relativism, where there are no absolutes, no definable rights and wrongs. What’s right for you may not be right for me. It’s very un-PC to go against this and particularly so when you use the Bible as a source for your absolutes. The World’s thinking is that, as religious dogma has been the source of so much conflict, we need to rise above this and accept, in a spirit of tolerance, that we all live by different rules and we shouldn’t judge those who live by a different truth. Let us remind ourselves:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

If we want God’s approval we need to unashamedly seek His truth in everything. If we want man’s approval then we accept whatever “truth” has been set up as the way to live your life in this World. There’s an extreme version of this. It is called propaganda.

Remember what I said earlier? Those Palestinian historians and far-right Christians chose to believe a lie. There was choice in the matter, because one suspects that they knew what the truth was, but they chose to reject it. This is a propaganda technique, the big lie, supposedly invented by Adolf Hitler concerning what he called the Jew’s lies about who was responsible for Germany losing the First World War.

His propaganda minister, Goebbels, explained it well, when writing about Winston Churchill :

“The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

Of course, no-one actually employed the big lie better than Goebbels and the Nazis, using it to justify the holocaust, by vilifying the Jews as monsters and arch manipulators and depicting Germany as a victim nation that was simply having to fight back against “International Jewry”.

The essence of the big lie is that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. Arguably, the advertising industry and politicians have benefited greatly from this view of the World. But you never heard that here!

For the previous article in this series, click here.

For the next article in this series, click here.

To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.

You can reach Steve with any comments or questions at the Saltshakers Web Community website.

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