14 March 2013
This is important to understand, for our culture is inundated with voices that express right and wrong, good and bad, true and false. Competing 'facts' are pushed upon us at alarming rates, so much so that most Americans simply find it too overwhelming to understand. To this, of course, we are told to trust the particular facts which come from a given group of people (the administration, the pundits, the news channels, the political parties, etc). And, whenever the information we receive is contradictory, then it is a race to discredit the opposition. Unfortunately, this administration has shown that their own communication is so often self-contradictory, which leads us to this notion of truth-versions.
A simple example of this is the cancellation of White House tours in the wake of budget sequestration. The President made a public claim that the White House had no say in the matter, was not consulted, and would not have wanted to make the decision. At the same time, however, the press secretary said quite frankly that the administration did in fact make the decision to close the tours. Rather than talk about the financial cost, let us focus on the blatant lying that is happening right in front of us. The philosophical law of non-contradiction should tell us that both of these statements cannot be true. But that is not how this is being defended. The cover on this (after distraction to cancelled grade school tours) is to appeal to versions of the truth - that both can be correct in their own way.
This is impossible, and happens on more than just this one issue. We can think of all of the 'versions' that have been given about the Benghazi scandal, all without a clear presentation of the truth. The out-of-control notion of political correctness has also been a significant factor in understanding truth. We might have perspectives on events and information, but there are no versions of the truth itself.
I often wonder if well-meaning Christians even fall into this sometimes, especially with the acceptance of the Four Gospels. If it is oversimplified, we could easily think that Scripture provides us with four versions of the truth of the gospel. But that is not what we have at all. The four evangelists have presented different perspectives on the one singular truth of the gospel narrative. From these four vantage points - and no two histories will share identical points of view - we are able to enter into a fuller story than if there was only one written account. That is how viewpoints are supposed to work, as supports for the truth rather than replacements for it.
There are no versions of truth, and the truth does not need the government's help in being established. It only needs the government's help to remain hidden. Wherever there is this notion of truth-versions we can be assured that the legitimate facts are being covered, sometimes well and other times poorly. Nevertheless, our instincts would probably serve us well, for in those times when contradiction arises we already know that something is wrong, especially when we must hear versions from those who aspire to political power.
Posted by Michael Thompson at 9:52 AM