4 Problems with the Truth ~ The Crisis of Truth (Part 2)

Note: This is the second in a three-part series about living in a post-truth culture, a series that has come out of a number of discussions, teachings, and writings that have occurred lately on the very issue. Part two addresses why we avoid the truth. If you would like to read part one, an annotation of the crisis, click here.
There exists a cultural crisis that is not bound by times, country borders, or cultures, but one that spans across the globe. That crisis is one of truth. It has caused the modern era to be labeled as “post-truth.” That label carries a serious charge against society because it indicates a deliberate rejection of logic, reasoning, and veracity and a substitution with emotionalism, opinions, and egoism. Unfortunately, the truth is problematic and a consequence of those problems is it becomes easier rationalize and facilitate a rejection of the truth. There are four primary problems with the truth that spur such thinking.

The Truth is Confrontational
First, it does not matter the content nor the context, the truth will always be confrontational because it is often contrary to our natural inclination towards the sin nature. It addresses an individual’s worldview, it addresses emotions, and it addresses opinions. Each of those is very personal in character. Therefore, when the truth addresses those issues it is seen as an affront to the very being of a person.

The Truth Is Hard
Additionally, the truth is hard. Certainly, its confrontational nature makes it difficult to begin with. However, it can impact the very things that people hold dear to them. Truth forces people to deal honestly with who they are and who others are. Sometimes, this means it may shatter our elevated opinions of ourselves and others. Furthermore, it shatters ways of thinking and ideologies.

The Truth Hurts
Because the truth is both hard and confrontational it is expected to also be hurtful. However, consider that the truth tells us who we are as people. In other words, it reveals our sin nature. The truth forces people to deal with realities that they spend their lives trying to avoid, and forces people to confront their faults and failures.

As a result, the truth is like a surgeon’s knife that penetrates into the heart, removing all infirmity. Such a process is painful. Yet, the result of it is a healthier person.

The Truth Requires Action
Finally, because the truth confronts failures and flaws, it requires action lest a person be complacent and remain stagnant. However, the truth is meant to be more than an exercise in mental fluidity but instead is meant to stimulate personal growth. Therefore, it requires intentionality and willful acquiescence.

The fact that the truth is confrontational, hard, hurtful, and requires action necessitates diplomacy when addressing the truth. Even the simple fact that it is confrontational by itself, means that how the truth is presented can be critical. To present something that is already confrontational by what it is in an even more confrontational way can create unnecessary retribution. This does not mean the truth is to be avoided, subverted, or subdued. Instead, it means we must pay careful attention to our manner of presenting the truth, and to do so in a way that indicates a level of compassion and consideration.

To do so in a way that is both compassionate and considerate means that one must act with Christlikeness and love. That means that truth is not distributed solely in a manner of selfish concern (i.e. how the person acts affects me and therefore needs to change) or with an abusive authority. Instead, the truth must be allowed with a deep affection for the other person that is exemplified by the strongest of desires of the best for the other person.
Therefore, the truth has several ‘problems’ that make it difficult for people to accept. Instead, most are quick to reject it in favor of personal comfort. However, these ‘problems’ do not make the truth less worthy. In fact, it is because of these four characteristics that the truth is so important to the maintenance of a thriving culture, but that is what will be addressed in the final part of this series on the crisis of truth.

Photo “new york times” courtesy of user samchills and Flickr.