Thursday, 13 April 2017

Unmasking The Myths -What Is Truth?

Unmasking The Myths -What Is Truth?

“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. (John 18 v 38). The Roman Governor was wrestling over what to do with this strange man the Jewish authorities had handed to him. They were pressing for Jesus's crucifixion. In our world of full of fake news we might well ask Jesus the same question. What is the truth and what is false? And Pilate’s dilemma shows how fake news is not just a recent problem. He was having to grapple with this in his decision about Jesus. Was he really a dangerous rebel plotting to usurp Caesar as King? Was that true or was that myth, fake news spun by the Jewish authorities looking to pursue their own agenda? He never really got to the bottom of the issue. Yet, as we remember this Easter, he sent Jesus to the cross anyway.

In our age of ever accessible internet, 24 hour news and constant social media we are bombarded by messages, much of it spawned from fake news and myths. These myths often deceive us into making decisions that are against our own best interests and those of wider society. We will never face as momentous a decision as Pilate did- to send the Son of God to his death. However, we have many decisions affecting our own lives which can be influenced by myths and fake news.  As a Christian I believe the most important of these decisions is whether to follow the man (the God) whom Pilate had crucified. This I believe will determine our eternal destiny (John 3 v 16).

But myths and fake news also infect our beliefs and decisions on wider issues affecting the whole of our community, country and even the world. Unlike Pilate we may not think we have any influence over those. However, since we live in a democracy collectively through the exercise of our votes and voices we do. 

In my future blogs I am going to unmask what I believe are some of the myths and fake news that deceive us and infect our beliefs and decisions on political issues. Since I myself am not immune to the deceptive influence of myths I won't always get it right!

Over the past 30 years or so I have changed my views on a whole range of political issues (and sometimes more than once):
  • Nuclear disarmament (several times!)
  • Brexit (albeit only very briefly)
  • Taxation policy
  • The causes of the crash
  • Austerity
  • Privatising public services
  • Abortion laws
  • Gay marriage
  • Which party I've voted for (at least three!)
  • Which political leader I support
 Some of those changes I might justify in terms of changes of facts. However, in most cases the real underlying facts have not changed - only my perception of them or the conclusions I have drawn from them. Therefore, I must have got it wrong on most of these issues. The only question is whether I've got it wrong now or got it wrong before! (Or perhaps was I wrong both times?)

However, I would like to think that I do at least try to cut through the myths and deceptions to reach the truth. A bit like the Prince in the Ladybird version of Sleeping Beauty (now I’m really showing my age!). I am slashing through the weeds and brambles with my trusty sword, determined to make it through to the castle that they hide. (Sometimes perhaps only to find it’s the wrong castle!)

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