Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 5:09 pm | Fair 75º


D.C. Collier: Is Truth Negotiable? Oprah Winfrey Seems to Think So

The concept of truth has been under attack like never before.

A central tenet of the now-pervasive postmodern worldview is that truth is relative, and each group or individual decides for themselves what is true. What is true or right for one person or group, is not necessarily true or right for another.

Something is not believed because it is true, they say, rather it is true because it is believed. For example, there is nothing “right” about monogamous heterosexual marriage apart from cultural conventions and traditions. There exists no objective criteria or authority for moral judgment.

Is it possible that a higher authority, operating outside the influence or opinion of humans, has instituted a body of absolute truths that govern the universe?

                                                                 •        •        •

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Winston Churchill

                                                                 •        •        •

Truth noun \ ˈtrüth \ . : the true or actual state of a matter; conformity with fact or reality; verity; a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like.

                                                                 •        •        •

To begin with, I’m a great admirer of Oprah Winfrey. She’s an extraordinarily gifted human being who has done so much for so many people that she’s been showered with humanitarian awards over her career.

But even the best of us can occasionally run off the rails. In a recent Wall Street Journal commentary entitled, “Oprah’s ‘Truth’ and Its Potentially Deadly Consequences,” author Julie Gunlock writes:

“Former daytime television superstar and rumored Democratic presidential candidate Oprah Winfrey won the Cecil B. deMille Award at Sunday night’s Golden Globes. In the ‘complicated times’ we live in, she said during her acceptance speech, ‘speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.’

“While such bromides may play well with an audience of entertainers, Ms. Winfrey’s applause lines should be a warning to those who take her political ambitions seriously. She built her media empire by crafting pleasing narratives. She isn’t interested in boring things like data and facts. She has difficulty acknowledging that some things are true, and some things are not.”

Gunlock then highlighted the life-and-death consequences when it comes to the matter of truth:

“Ms. Winfrey has a penchant for promoting the myth that vaccines are dangerous. While she claims publicly to be pro-vaccine, she has allowed anti-vaccine megastars a platform to share ‘their truths.’ Yet those ‘truths” aren’t true at all.

“They are a collection of unsubstantiated and conspiratorial charges linking vaccines to autism — never mind the mountain of evidence to the contrary ... the anti-vaccine hysteria Ms. Winfrey helped incubate was more dangerous than mere ‘fake news.’ It actually put people’s lives at risk.”

At issue is Winfrey’s use of the term, “your truth.” It seems to be saying that I can have “my truths” and you can have “your truths,” and our “truths” will never run into each other coming the other way.

That runs head-on (pardon the pun) into the universally accepted “law of non-contradiction.” Gregory Koukl, of Stands to Reason Ministries, explains:

“‘A’ cannot be non-‘A’ in the same way and in the same relationship. A thing can’t be its opposite at the same time and in the same way. Opposite views can’t be true at the same time.

“There is truth and there is falsehood, and rationality helps us to sort through that which we observe so we can determine what is sound and unsound ...

“We do this every moment of virtually every day. For example, when we go to harvest mushrooms we must observe and then discern between different types of mushrooms because some are not edible, some are even poisonous … there are some things that are true and there are some things that are false.”

Imagine you board an airliner and the pilot announces, “Hi folks, welcome aboard! Who wants to help us decide where ‘True North’ should be today? We want to set our compass for this flight.”

By those “rules,” bodies would be falling out of the sky from coast to coast from all the midair collisions. There must be universally accepted facts, or the world will descend into chaos.

If this is true in the physical realm, why believe it’s any different in the spiritual world? The Bible instructs us that there are exquisitely ordered moral and spiritual truths that are every bit as inviolable as, for example, the four fundamental forces of gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces.

Yet astonishingly, when it comes to eternal matters, most ordinarily responsible people inexplicably morph into hazy-eyed players in a high-stakes game of spiritual roulette that can only be explained as “the triumph of hope over experience.” They plan, analyze and strive to secure their “futures,” applying all available financial and business “truths” right up to their last breath, and — without a thought to its blinding inconsistency — leave the rest to chance.

How About You?

Have you been making up your own “truths” as you’ve gone along? Living by your own “laws?” Have you abandoned all those pesky absolutes and “planted” your feet firmly in the thin air of relativism? Was Ashleigh Brilliant right when he said, “I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy?”

A long time ago, Jesus Christ called himself “the Truth” in John 14:6. In the context of other such scriptures, He was claiming much more than just being acquainted with, or understanding the truth. He said in effect, “I circumscribe truth;” ”I am the very definition of truth;” “If you have me, you have the truth.”

This was either a claim of unimaginable grandiosity, total self-deception or absolute confidence. He left no room for ambiguity.

More to come on this critical subject.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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