Post-Truth

There exists a bit of a panic at the direction civilized societies are taking when it comes to thinking; there’s a new way of looking at things and it’s scary. Professor A. C. Grayling, master of the New College of Humanities, commented on this newly-labeled “post-truth,” which he feels is the beginning of a dangerous trend toward non-thinking.

The Oxford Dictionary recently added this term and this definition: “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”[1] Professor Grayling believes that devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) have contributed to this demise of reason; they make it possible for people to spread nonsense, innuendo and “false news” and, as Vladimir Lenin would say: “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” “It’s not the soundbite any more, but the ‘i-bite’… where strong opinion can shut down evidence,” says Grayling. He continues, “The whole post-truth phenomenon is about, ‘My opinion is worth more than the facts.’ It’s about how I feel about things.”

This may be a recent roil in politics (the focus of Graylings concern) but religion has seen this phenomenon for centuries. Holding to rarely-questioned traditions based upon personal popularity or individual advantage has forever redirected worship, service and even moral authority from God to self (cf. Genesis 4:3-7). When what one feels becomes more relevant as truth than the objective truth of God’s Word (John 8:31-32; 17:17), “my truth” and “your truth” can be completely contradictory but equally authoritative. What a rudderless ship we ride when anything imaginable can be spiritually authorized just because “I say so” or “I feel so.”

The fact that you have made it to the end of this article may speak volumes about your willingness to follow an assertion to its conclusion in search of something beyond post-truth. So, here is the truth: personal preference has its place but there is no place for it in establishing truth. God’s Word is truth (Psalm 119:160) and is established in coherent, clear and concise terms (Deuteronomy 30:11-14) that His intelligent creation is expected to understand, embrace and obey (John 14:15; 15:14). No “post-truth” here.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Jeff Sweeten

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/education-38557838; and all further quotes.