Truth is on a vacation. The only question is whether it’s coming back.
We are many people of many faiths in a multi-faith land. All of those faiths rely on a moral base that includes Truth. Not all their people do.
The biggest offenders – and defenders? “Christians.”
A member of a jury in Appalachia once said, “When someone takes the witness stand and says, ‘I’m a Christian, so I wouldn’t lie!’ I immediately know I’m not going to hear the Truth.’ ”
They weren’t wrong, then or now.
As Christians, we don’t demand truth from our leaders, much less from ourselves. What’s more, we don’t require an improvement in the human condition – something Jesus spent his ministry doing – from our leadership. We only mouth the words, while people around the world God created sit destitute.
Here’s what we demand: Reinforcement.
Got a lurking bigotry in your mind? Reinforcement.
Perceive you’re somehow getting the short end of the stick? Reinforcement.
Think someone is getting more than you are? Reinforcement.
The bigger the lie, from the bigger the leader, the better.
And you say to yourself, “So what. We all tell lies.”
We even give some leaders – who we’ve lately termed “Baby Christians” – an even bigger pass, and even more room to lie, when it comes to telling the truth. Because, apparently, they haven’t yet learned enough about the Bible and faith to be fully “Christian.”
Here’s how you kiss the truth goodbye.
You say to yourself: “That will show the people I don’t like, even if my dislike amounts to a mild disagreement, especially if it’s hate. Hate, after all, is very ‘Christian.’ ”
God will look the other way. Jesus did, in my book. Because I’ll pray about it and be completely forgiven. And Jesus will do the forgiving. Not like those folks I detest. Jesus won’t listen to them, let alone God.
And would someone please tell me why my hard-earned dollars should be spent on people who haven’t elevated themselves on their own, like me. Or on people in my circumstances who don’t look or sound like me but who look like they might be getting a step ahead of me?
Please, show me, in the Bible translation I’ve chosen for myself, just what responsibility I have for anyone other than myself? After all, I’m a “Christian.”
People say times have changed, that things are not the way they were. Usually, I wave that off, remembering someone in the Navy who complained about their current duty station while wistfully reminiscing about the duty station they just came from, where they used to complain. We all look back fondly with rose-colored glasses.
But real truth, not fake truth, supported by real facts, not fake news, is essential to a moral life. And to the teaching of morality to others, whether by example or word.
I could have missed the memo, but I could swear that’s something Jesus taught.
You can have honest differences of opinion and ideologies. But when truth leaves the room, your morality goes with it. You have lost your moral base.
You end up having to live with the results. One of those results?
You end up being a “Christian.”