Post Truth And The Confusion It Creates

Recently I heard there has been an increase in the number of people who believe in a flat earth. I didn’t think it was true until I encountered some in a writer group who were arguing for the position. Really? I was a little floored. I mean we have pictures of the round earth, and many more facts, too numerous to mention here without getting sidetracked.

I didn’t realize until just today that this kind of “belief in the face of opposing evidence” is actually on the rise. Another example: apparently there are some people who believe that the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook never happened. I don’t know what they do with the shootings since then. But apparently, the thinking goes, the government put out this fake story with fake pictures so that they can implement gun control and undermine the Second Amendment.

There’s more. Some have held to the idea that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, or alternatively that the government knew about them and let them happen. As one article on these conspiracies says, “This theory was, of course, widely debunked but continues to live on” (“America’s 10 Most Popular Conspiracy Theories“).

Another ridiculous claim, but one held by a surprising number of people, is that the moon landing was faked. Worst of all, in my opinion, is that the Holocaust never happened.

The point here is that people continue to believe these things regardless of the evidence. It’s the old saying I first read back in 1967: My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with facts. Back then this was displayed on a card among other humorous quips. Today it more nearly reflects the thinking of a large portion of society

So in the last twelve months I’ve had discussions with people who claim Jesus never lived. This in the face of the evidence. From The Guardian: “The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings” (“What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?“).

Here’s the definitive statement that illustrates the grip post-truth has on western culture:

About 10 years ago, The Jesus Project was set up in the US; one of its main questions for discussion was that of whether or not Jesus existed. Some authors have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth was doubly non-existent, contending that both Jesus and Nazareth are Christian inventions. It is worth noting, though, that the two mainstream historians who have written most against these hypersceptical arguments are atheists: Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina). They have issued stinging criticisms of the “Jesus-myth” approach, branding it pseudo-scholarship. Nevertheless, a recent survey discovered that 40% of adults in England did not believe that Jesus was a real historical figure. (Ibid.; emphasis mine)

Postmodern thinking introduced the idea that truth is relative: you have your truth and I have mine. But post-truth basically says that truth is irrelevant. What counts is your perception, how you feel, want you want to believe.

The problem here is that truth does matter. Take the illustration I recently heard about a motorist who had discovered a “short cut.” Parallel to the road he was taking ran an unfinished highway. He crossed the narrow ditch between the two and made great time on the smooth road. But at one point he came upon big flashing lights that announced the road would end at the unfinished bridge ahead. Then followed a series of four signs commemorating motorists who had died THAT WEEK because they didn’t heed the warning.

They simply did not believe the experts because they didn’t want to believe. Maybe they thought the construction company was purposefully keeping the public away for greedy gain. Maybe they simply weren’t paying attention, though it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t see those huge, blinking signs. Whatever the reason, they didn’t believe the truth and it cost them their lives.

And here is Jesus, saying in His word, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” He’s the Truth. A living embodiment of what is True. Consequently, His witness about His Father is True. His statements about our spiritual condition are True.

But I have to wonder if our post-truth culture even cares. They would just as soon continue on the smooth, broad road that leads to destruction. Perhaps they love their sin too much to pay attention to Truth. But the chaos, the confusion that results from ignoring the Truth, is certain.

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13 Comments

  1. An ironic way to end a post given the number of people who believe in ludicrous creation myths; and all the other absurd stories in the big book of contradictions. People really do ‘believe what they want to believe’.

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    • Not sure why you think it’s ironic to end this post stating that Jesus is, in fact, the Truth. He made that claim, and it is either true or not. It it’s true and people continue disbelieving without evidence to the contrary, they are part of the post-truth confusion, depending on their own feelings and perceptions without doing any meaningful investigation, such as actually reading about Jesus in the Bible.

      Just stating that creation is a myth without any evidence of such or that the Bible has “absurd stories” is more confusion and a post-truth proposition that leans only on perception and bias, not on evidence or fact or truth. So yes, people do really believe what they want, not what is objectively and unchangingly true.

      Becky

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      • ‘Jesus is, in fact, the truth’ is not a fact, it’s an opinion. An opinion that many writers claim is based on a book of contradictions and mites whimsical nonsense.
        Meaningful investigation makes that much clear.
        You are wrong to presume that I haven’t read the bible, but hey, dogma.

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        • You aren’t giving any evidence, so I have no idea if you’ve read the Bible or not. And” Jesus is the truth” is either a fact or it’s a lie. It most certainly is not opinion. But again, evidence? What is your evidence that He is NOT the truth?

          Becky

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          • Evidence is in the bible, a book with so many contradictions that it can’t be trusted. That’s on top of the supernatural claims it makes that bear no resemblance to what happens in the real world. At best, it’s a book of metaphors.
            Of course I have read it. I would never be so arrogant as to criticise a book I have not read.

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  2. There is an entire museum and “institute” dedicated to proving that the Earth is only 6000 years old because of the Bible.

    https://creationmuseum.org

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    • Not sure what your point here is, Catherine. Maybe you could elaborate.

      Becky

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      • It’s evidence of the absurdity of belief. A whole museum dedicated to distorting evidence leading to corrupt conclusions- the young earth ideology.

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        • How do you know that their evidence is distorted? How do you know their conclusions are corrupt?

          Becky

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  3. On a different thought, why do Christians capitalise ‘Truth’ when talking theology?

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    • I don’t know why others do. I capitalize it when I am referring to Jesus.

      Becky

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      • That’s nearly an answer, why capitalise when referring to Jesus?

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        • Jesus is a proper name. Words that replace His name, including pronouns, have for a long time also been capitalized, though that is changing in the latest writing style books.

          Becky

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