Monday, June 18 , 2018, 7:21 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 
Faith

D.C. Collier: Learning to Live with Truth or Consequences

There is a furious, ongoing Satanic assault aimed at the target-rich spiritual lives of distracted and preoccupied modern men and women. At stake is control of their minds. The weapons employed are ideas, values and principles that wreak as much devastation inwardly as bombs and bullets do outwardly.

The postmodern worldview has insidiously clouded our mental perspective very much like when airplane pilots fall prey to whiteout — a weather condition that causes disorientation and low visibility due to snow, overcast clouds and fog. The pilot loses sight of the horizon because of the snow-covered terrain against the backdrop of a similarly colored sky.

In the same way, in the field of ideas, philosophies and beliefs, it is possible to lose sight of absolutes, objective truths and fixed principles. And ... ideas have consequences.

                                                                 •        •        •

Matters of the spirit have experienced a seismic shift in recent times. As recently as 50 years ago, it was possible to have a relatively civil and respectful discussion with almost anyone concerning subjects like the existence of absolute truth, the person of God (or at least the notion of a creator), an immaterial realm of existence, heaven, hell and the possibility of eternal life.

Such matters used to be at least tolerated as viable alternatives to the pervasive materialistic view of things. In the short span of a half-century, that has all changed.

Something Is Wrong with This Picture

In an unusually piercing op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, entitled, “The Parkland Massacre and the Air We Breathe,” columnist Peggy Noonan wrote about what’s gone wrong with our culture that produces such atrocities:

“What has happened the past 40 years or so to produce a society so ill at ease with itself, so prone to violence? ... We have been swept by social, technological and cultural revolution. The family blew up — divorce, unwed childbearing. Fatherless sons. Fatherless daughters, too. Poor children with no one to love them.

“The Internet flourished. Porn proliferated. Drugs, legal and illegal. Violent videogames, in which nameless people are eliminated and spattered all over the screen. (The Columbine shooters loved and might have been addicted to “Doom.”) The abortion regime settled in, with its fierce, endless yet somehow casual talk about the right to end a life.

“An increasingly violent entertainment culture — low, hypersexualized, full of anomie and weirdness, allergic to meaning and depth. The old longing for integration gave way to a culture of accusation — you are a supremacist, a misogynist, you are guilty of privilege and defined by your color and class, we don’t let your sort speak here.”

Noonan observes, “All this change, compressed into 40 years, has produced some good things, even miraculous ones. But it does not feel accidental that America is experiencing what appears to be a mental-health crisis, especially among the young.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported as many as 20 percent of children 3 to 17 have, in any given year, a mental or emotional illness. There is research indicating depression among teenagers is worsening.”

Usually, when things are falling apart, reasonable people look around for answers, seek advice, peer “outside the box” for something they’ve missed. Yet, in the face of this widespread dysfunction, thought-leaders seem more close-minded than ever.

And nowhere is the tendency to suppress the truth more pronounced than on college campuses. The news media are filled with instances of outside speakers being “disinvited” due to their so-called conservative or right-wing views, especially if they hold openly religious beliefs.

The student reactions are often violent. University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax has been pilloried for her politically incorrect views. In a recent article entitled, “What Can’t Be Debated on Campus,” she wonders if it’s still possible to have substantive arguments about divisive issues:

“There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with lip service paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas.

“What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them ...

“The reactions to this piece raise the question of how unorthodox opinions should be dealt with in academia — and in American society at large. How should these academics handle opinions that depart, even quite sharply, from their ‘politically correct’ views?”

The common denominator here is the growing intolerance of dissenting views on the part of politicians, academicians, student activists and young people in general. Increasingly, students retreat into so-called “safe spaces,” where sensitive souls can be protected from views with which they disagree.

But then, you might rightly ask, “doesn’t that stifle freedom of speech, and, more important, prevent open debate over sensitive matters?” “How else can students learn?” “Isn’t that the reason for an education in the first place?”

I’m reminded of a defining moment in the movie, A Few Good Men, when defense attorney “Kaffee,” played by Tom Cruise, confronts the real villain, “Col. Jessep,” played by Jack Nicholson:

Col. Jessep: You want answers?

Kaffee: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Col. Jessep: YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

How About You?

Do you think you could handle perspectives that depart from the politically correct mainstream? Some 2,000 years ago, a dynamic transformative disrupter fearlessly spoke truth to power and changed the world. In the Gospel of John, speaking of Jesus Christ, the Apostle declares:

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us ... For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.1

Of all the terms available to him, the Apostle picks just two that literally mark the character and personality of Jesus Christ — grace and truth. He then tells us that, although no one has seen God in the fullness of His heavenly glory, Jesus Christ was the full expression of Him, housed in a human body — the Truth personified.

More on this Gentle Innocent from another dimension next time.

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.

1. John 1:14-18 NASB

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