It would be little surprise to many that 2016’s Oxford dictionary word of the year was “post-truth”. That was the year when Britain left that European Union and Donald Trump went against the odds to become President of the United States.
But fast forward a year to 2017’s Macquarie dictionary word of the year, and we somehow find ourselves wondering what and why on earth something called “milkshake duck” has been awarded such a title.
Even if you don’t know the word, you know the phenomenon. It’s defined as a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them.
So, when the truth finally gets out about them, what do you do? Do you acknowledge the reality or just ignore it?
Grappling with truth
There are several ways that society often seeks to grapple (or maybe do away) with the truth. As political comedian Stephen Colbert says we just need “truthiness” which he defines as “the belief in what you feel to be true rather than what the facts will support”. Or as Oprah Winfrey put in at the 2018 Golden Globes it’s important to speak “your truth” – note the emphasis on “your”.
Our responses to a “milkshake duck” can also be viewed through the lens of “post-truth”, that is if someone continues to keep ignoring what’s real and conforming to the mirages of “fake news”.
Obvious examples of a “post-truther” would be a person refusing to come to terms that the “Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea” is anything but free or democratic. Looking beyond the government propaganda reveals a vastly different truth to life in North Korea.
So, what will you do? Will you seek out the truth? Will you bring out your magnifying glasses or do you not care?
Have you found the truth?
The Christian faith gives us the guide to finding the truth – the Bible (“basic information before leaving earth” as described by a Sunday school teacher). In fact, contrary to the secular world – it is only through Christianity that we can know absolute truths rather than just layers of truthiness waiting to be deconstructed humanly.
To quote the Baptist Reverend Martin Luther King from the chapter titled “A Knock at Midnight” in his book “Strength to Love”:
“For modern man, absolute right and absolute wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes and the customs of a community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein’s theory of relativity, which properly described the physical universe, to the moral and ethical realm.”
Christianity also says that there’s a ground to the truth which is not just a stack of data subject to interpretation. Rather this universe is a creation by a creator; it’s made by a maker, that gives it a wholeness.
The Bible reminds us through Colossians chapter 1 verses 16 to 17 that
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together”.
We are also told that because God loved us so much that despite our rebellion and rejection of the creator, we still have a chance of redemption through Jesus Christ.
The truth about us
The Bible also touches on other truths regarding our human nature such as our sinfulness and the free gift of salvation only attainable through the grace of God.
No matter what others may think or believe, as the followers of Jesus – what are you doing to be the hands and feet of Gospel? Have you sought out the truth for yourself? Do you intend to help others learn more about the truth?
Colossians chapter 1 verses 21 to 23 lays a fundamental truth that
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel”.
Let’s ask, test and seek the truth so that we can have a firm grasp not to keep it for ourselves but to be a bearer of the Good News of Christ into the world.
This article was originally published at Christian Today Australia on 10 February 2018.