Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Disregard for Truth

Interesting talk from the archbishop in Ghana.
Archbishop Nketsiah noted that people tended to care more for, and be concerned with their ethnic affiliation, political party affiliation and their social status more than they cared for the truth. He said people would go at length to tell lies to defend their political parties and ethnic groups.

He said the increasing disregard for the truth posed great danger to churches, communities and the nation as a whole.

The Archbishop said if the truth was sacrificed, then nothing would stand
I think this is very useful to point out. In politics, in business, and even in religious discussion we see more games played with the truth all the time. People have come to expect it. They hardly bother pointing out when a politician is lying or when an advertisement is misleading. News organizations used to be terrified of printing a false story. Now they accept it as the cost of keeping up with instant news media. Even the outrage people feel when the other side lies about them is assumed to be feigned outrage. Really nobody is surprised.

Christians are supposed to stand out as signs of contradiction in this kind of mess. Do they? I can say that about some of them but not that many. Often they are politically at least as partisan as the average American. You don't hear them calling out their own party when lies are told. Often they want the most aggressive, negative, twist the truth campaigns. They work. People respond. So if we want to win that is what we have to do.

But what do you win? If you join in the rat-race even when you win you look in the mirror and notice you are a rat. You no longer have the power to change the world for Christ because you have left Christ. What is worse is society judges Jesus by you just because you are in the public eye.

Look at what George Bush did. He was an evangelical yet he ran against John McCain by spreading a rumor that McCain had father black children out of wedlock. How many Christians called him out for that and many other less than charitable and less than truthful tactics? I know the Republican elites would have been furious with Christians if they had gone public with concerns like that. It is hard to respect the truth. The reality is that it is not clear many Christians even had private concerns. They wanted to win as bad as anyone.

So when George Bush won was it a victory for Christ? Did abortion and gay marriage go into decline? Quite the opposite. Bush proceeded to associate Christianity with war, with lack of reason, and with hypocrisy. These associations existed before but having a poster child for all 3 sit in the white house for 8 years made things a lot worse.

I have to say I think Catholic bishops have done far better than most Christians in sticking to all of the truth regardless of whether their favorite political party is on the right side of that issue or not. They can defend the unborn one day and the immigrant worker the next. They can love what is natural when discussing environmental policy and also love what is natural when discussing marriage. They can win or lose a political race but they will not lose their integrity. I can't say that is true about all Catholic bishops and not true about protestant leaders but I have noticed a real difference.

So now we get to have another election. Will Christians win or lose? As corny as it sounds it is really true. It is not whether we win or lose. It is how we play the game. If we are willing to sacrifice short term political advantage for the sake of being true to our faith then we can change society. If we don't then society has changed us.


  1. I think the underlying issue here is the "worldly" dogma that the End can and often does justify the Means.

    Thus, it is ok to lie as long as one is winning an election or pushing an agenda they truly believe needs to be done.

    In fact, various religious groups do this all the time when they are trying to win converts. They very often feel justified in telling a lie because they believe the conversion is more important than the facts. Though this can be done with good intentions, it's really a tactic of the Devil, since quite often the Facts are extremely relevant.

  2. That was one of the things that truly amazed me as a protestants starting to look at Catholic arguments. I saw protestant corrected in a very convincing way about Catholic teaching yet continue to make the same misstatements of Catholic doctrine. Whatever gets them down that aisle to say that prayer. I was quite disgusted by it. It didn't make me think Catholicism was true. Just that many protestant apologists lack basic Christian charity. God have mercy on them.