revolutionary act." George Orwell, in his book "1984"
That quote by the author, George Orwell, from his famous novel "1984", coupled with a lot of recent news events and the political season we're presently infected with caused me to, once again, think about, and thus opine on, TRUTH. Hopefully, these thoughts will be presented in an understandable manner and will be worth your consideration.
A few years ago there was a TV show about a lawyer who was very successful at winning cases for his clients. In one episode he was explaining his philosophy for his trial preparation and one of his stated guidelines was: "Truth is relative. Pick one that works."
I ask you, is that not a great example of a phenomenon that we are seeing all to frequently anymore? In my humble opinion, this seems to be the philosophy behind the things told to us by politicians, the news media and people involved in those recent news events I mentioned earlier. I'll leave it up to you to pick the event. There's plenty of them out there to choose from, believe me.
Whether they're talking about war, or about politics in general, doesn't it seem that "truth is relative" to whatever fits the occasion? Whatever benefits them? And, in the area of news events, that seems to be the same principle employed by the various sides involved in the controversy. IE: Whatever benefits or pushes public opinion, and/or sympathy, to their side of the matter.
I mentioned the word "war" in the above paragraph (and you can watch for it to crop up again later in our editorial) but haven't we heard so many contradicting news stories (pick any recent war) that it's hard to know what to believe? A former Governor of California, Hiram Johnson, once said, "The first casualty when war comes is truth." Perhaps he wasn't wrong when he said that.
Yes, I believe that man puts out a lot of "truths" that he feels "relative" to whatever occasion he's concerned with. And "untruth" has been around ever since the Garden of Eden when Satan told Eve his "relative" version of "truth" and it certainly did not benefit her, or mankind, since then. It cost her and Adam their home in paradise.
Another phrase that we hear a lot is that we've got to "level the playing field." That seems to be a current political catchphrase we're hearing more and more of. Think about what's being inferred here by this "leveling." It means the rules (the truth) has to be altered or changed in order to benefit people percentage-wise.
Here again, the "truth" has to be made "relative" to the occasion, doesn't it? There can't be any hard and fast "truths" you know, because some might be excluded if there are. So, we have to make things "relative" and thereby "level the playing field."
The problem with man's philosophy regarding "truth" being "relative" is that it carries over from the secular world into the religious world. It induces man into believing that he can make God's Truth "relative." That he can alter God's rules to fit man's way of thinking and thereby make it easier for more people to benefit by the rules change. "Truth" then becomes "relative."
See, if man doesn't "level the playing field," spiritually-speaking, then many are going to be excluded from God's blessings because of having not followed His Truth. People don't want to be told they're wrong if they don't follow God's rules. I'm reminded of something said by the apostle Paul to the Galatians when he asked them "Have I now become your enemy because I'm telling you the truth?" (4:18)
When you think about all of the "relative truths" we're bombarded by on all sides today, the philosophy of "picking the one that works" depending on the situation, doesn't what Paul said relate directly to the quote by Orwell? That someone telling "The Truth" is now performing a "revolutionary act"?
I told you that we'd see the word "war" again before this editorial concluded and now is as good a time as any to get back to that thought. In John 18, verses 37 & 38 we find something I found to be very interesting and I'll explain my interest here. Jesus is on trial before Pilate and in verse 37 Pilate asks Jesus if he was a king. In answering that question, Jesus tells him that the reason ("cause") he came into the world was to "bear witness unto the truth." IE: He came to bring The Truth.
Then in verse 38 we see Pilate ask that oft-sermonized question: "What is truth?" Now, normally, this is where the teacher/preacher goes on into their lesson on teaching about "truth." I'd like you to notice something not usually mentioned. After asking this great question, he didn't even wait for the answer - he walked away.
It seems to me that his question was asked more in a mocking sense, or in jest rather than actually wanting an answer. I repeat myself - he apparently didn't want to know what the truth was because he just walked away. Do you think that a lot of people in this world are just like Pilate in that they just walk away from The Truth. That they really don't want to know it? I do.
I'm going to close our thoughts today by reciting a couple of verses from a poem written by James Russell Lowell entitled: The Present Crisis, a poem written just prior to the Civil War and inspired by the events leading up to it.
The following two verses of the poem were selected by me, in that I felt them fitting to our thoughts here today.
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twist that darkness and that light.
Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record,
One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne, -
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.
Never forget, our war with Satan began in the Garden of Eden and is still going strong. He is still attacking the Truth as much now as he did then and sees it as a victory when he can convince men that "truth is relative."