I recently came across Oxford’s word of the year for 2016, ‘Post-Truth’, which is defined in the article as;
“a Situation in which feelings trump facts”. Link to the article
It goes on to reflect that:
“objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion or personal belief”.
Then I read another article in the independent reflecting on the Facebook fake news writer, who some say helped swing the U.S election result through hoaxes people took seriously and then shared widely.
Horner says “Nobody fact-checks anything any more”.
I don’t know about you, but this both challenges and concerns me.
It challenges me to ask the question of myself; what have I shared with others that supported my beliefs but might not have been true? Social media gives us the opportunity to share without thinking (or checking facts) and if we’re to be slow to speak (James 1:19) then I’m pretty sure we need to apply this to sharing on social media as well.
But it concerns me as well.
If feelings are trumping facts and nobody checks the facts anyway, does that mean truth no longer matters?
Of course it does.
I’m pretty sure most of us would be interested in the truth when it comes to a medical diagnosis, and less concerned with opinions and personal beliefs. When it comes to the big questions of life and death, I don’t want popular opinion or to know what you feel (no offence), I want the truth. While our emotions matter, as do our personal opinions, we must never think they are the final determiners of what is true.
Truth lies at the heart of Christianity; Jesus says
“I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37);
He made an audacious claim when he said “I am the truth…” (John 14:6) and goes on to promise that knowing the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Paul says if the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not true, then we’re in serious trouble and a sorry state (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
I love what Ravi Zacharias writes in relation to Jesus words.
“By claiming to be the truth, Jesus implies that all He affirms is true and that nothing He says is false. If it is true that the foundational pursuit of life is meaning, then that meaning must be within the confines of truth, and that truth cannot be found apart from Jesus.”*
Truth & facts… who needs em? We do, and according to Jesus we’re lost without them.
P.S. If you’re new to this whole Christianity thing, I’d encourage you to check out the facts and explore the truth claims of Christ for yourself. You’d be welcome to join us on our upcoming Alpha course where you can do just that.
P.P.S And if anyone ever says to you, there’s no such thing as truth; just ask them if they think that’s true.
* Ravi Zacharias, Can man live without God (W Publishing, 1994) p103