Posted by: matt25 | January 22, 2011

That’s Your Reality! or What Is Truth?

When I was an undergraduate way back in the dark ages of the transition from the 70’s to the 80’s, there was a fairly common phrase thrown around whenever someone did not want to listen to or believe what they were being told.  “Well, that’s your reality!” was the defensive response allowing the dismissal of any uncomfortable viewpoint even if that viewpoint was a statement that was true.  We were so smart and full of  youthful surety that we were arrogantly positive that we could invent for ourselves what was real and true.  Now, some 30 years later, I find that I mostly have questions and I hope a willingness to listen for wisdom and truth, especially if it challenges me in my comfort zone.

As modern as we were, the unwillingness to even listen to and attempt to wrestle with a challenging statement of truth is not a new innovation, in fact it may well be a universal component of the human condition. In the Gospel of John, Pilate seems to be at a similar place in a pluralistic society when he is questioning Jesus:

Pilate said, “So, then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.”   `Truth?” said Pilate. “What is that?”                                                   ~John 18:37-38 (NJB)

And so it continues, and perhaps even worsens, as the rejection of the idea that there may in fact be, an objective truth which can be known, is widely embraced by mainstream media as it shapes the collective consciousness of our culture.

I started to think about this today as I read an article “Rediscover moral roots of society, Pope urges” which said in part:

In a January 21 meeting with police official of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said that it is crucial to uphold clear moral principles at a time when the public fears “that moral consensus is breaking down.” …the Pontiff’s remarks were addressed to a broader sense of turmoil in society—a sense that all ethical standards have been called into question.

He observed that many people today think that all morality is subjective, “because modern thought has developed a reductive view of conscience, according to which there are no objective references in determining what has value and what is true; rather, each individual provides his own measure through his own intuitions and experiences, each possesses his own truth and his own morals.”

The result of this subjective approach, the Pope continued, is that “religion and morals tend to be confined to the subjective and private sphere; and faith with its values and its modes of behavior no longer merits a place in public and civil life.” The importance of faith is “progressively marginalized,” he said, at precisely the time when the witness of faith is most important.

Indeed! I agree wholeheartedly that this is precisely the time when the witness of faith is most important.  The signs of the times are quite clear if we open our eyes and make an honest assessment.  But there is hope.  I believe that there is still love and a desire to do good in the hearts and minds of most people. I suggest however that is not enough, we need to add truth to stop the accelerated de-civilization of society that is currently rampant all over the world.  Once again this is not a new idea.

….Jesus said:If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples;
you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.                                   ~John 18:37-38 (NJB)

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