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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Politics and the truth

Leonard Pitts, with his usual economical elegance, has put into words something that seems to be true. That is, all too many US citizens have a very mushy working definition of truth -- truth is, for so many of us, what I want to be true. (The candidates haven't helped.)

Pitts starts off with various rumors about Obama and Palin, rumors that are just that, and that have no basis in fact. But "red" citizens want to believe that Obama doesn't salute the flag, and "blue" citizens want to believe that Palin banned books in the local library when she was mayor. Anyone who says that Obama salutes the flag, or that Palin didn't throw library books into the incinerator, is a liar, un-American, and probably unChristian.

What are the consequences? Well, one consequence is that citizens aren't asking questions that they should be, especially about the qualifications of these relatively inexperienced candidates. "Red" citizens need to ask if a candidate who had no passport until about the time she became governor about two years ago is really qualified to be one heartbeat away from the presidency, especially when the presidential candidate is so old. "Blue" citizens need to ask if a person with so little concrete legislative accomplishment really is the leader that he claims to be.

There is a much more important consequence. Christians, above all others, should be zealous in their defense of objective truth. Jesus did die. He was resurrected. The only solution to the sin problem is Christ's sacrifice. If the truth is only what I want to believe, then I won't believe this awesome and fundamental truth. I'll believe that I can solve the sin problem myself, or that I don't have such a problem, in spite of common experience and what the Bible says.

As Pitts put it:
All things are up in the air, all things open to interpretation. Indeed, truth hardly seems to be the point anymore. Lies serve just as well. As a result, we are no longer grounded in the same shared body of facts and in a very real sense, have no basis upon which to reason together, no basis for shared mission, purpose or identity.

Please, God, if it isn't too late, help the citizens of our country to wake up to the fact that there are some things that are true, no matter who says them, and some things that are false, no matter who says them, and that knowing this makes eternal differences.

Thanks for reading.


Rob Rumfelt said...

Amen to this one! I can't believe how this campaign has deteriorated on both sides.

Great post!

Martin LaBar said...

Well, I'm afraid that I can believe it. I don't like it. Thanks, rob.