Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. …”
- John 18:33-38
“But the claim of the word of God upon us does not depend merely upon our relationship to Him as creatures and subjects. We are to believe and obey it, not only because He tells us to, but also, and primarily, because it is a true word. Its author is ‘the God of truth’ (Ps. 31:5, Is. 65:16), ‘abundant in … truth’ (Ex. 34:6 KJV); ‘His truth reacheth unto the clouds’ (Ps. 108:4 KJV, compare 57:10) – that is, it is universal and limitless.”
- J. I. Packer, Knowing God
A niece of mine posted something on Facebook about a year ago. It had to do with the media and truth. I commented that the two words could rarely be placed in the same sentence, and then amended what I said with – maybe not lies, but not telling enough facts for someone to make an informed decision.
Unknown to me, my niece had some journalist friends who ripped me apart on that comment. To them, it was not ‘lying,’ it was ‘good’ journalism to report a few facts and claim them as truth when there were ‘alternate facts’ that refuted what you reported, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Why not tell the entire story? The ‘alternate facts’ did not support the agenda of the people who ran the media outlet, the ones that pay the reporter. Of course, the big boss’ agenda is fueled by advertisement dollars, the ones that pay him or her.
In other words, if you have enough money, you can have the media parrot anything that you want said, and they will say it convincingly, as if it were true. In their eyes, with their definition of the ‘facts,’ it is true.
In other words, to the modern person, truth is very soft modeling clay that can be changed to fit your needs. It is not absolute.
Pilate’s question, his parting words to Jesus, are then valid in the present world view. What is truth?
The explosion in the media markets over the term ‘fake news’ has reminded me of an old joke, or was it a true story? What is truth, anyway?
Back during the Cold War, there was a two-country track meet in an off-Olympic year. The USA and the USSR had a track and field competition as a tune-up for the Olympics. The US destroyed the Soviets in almost every event in a landslide “medal count” victory. (Medal count in quotes since they were not Olympic medals.) The government-controlled media outlet in the USSR, Pravda, reported the results of the track meet. “An International track meet was held. The USSR came in second place. The Americans came in next to last.”
Nothing in their reporting was false. It was ‘international.’ Leaving out the ‘alternate facts’ of only two countries competing misled the people of the Soviet-bloc countries. If there had been thirty nations competing, then the USSR did much better than the Americans, right? And why wouldn’t there be 30 or more countries competing? Thus, you do not have to lie to tell a big whopper.
I have a web browser that boots up into a news feed page. I wish to have almost anything else as a home page, but I cannot find how to change it. Frequently, there are news flashes that attract my eyes, a picture with a few words superimposed. The one that enrages me the most… Actually, there are several that use the same line about various topics. “The False Facts that you Thought You Believed about …”
If the “Fact” is false, it is not a fact. It is a lie! You did not ‘think’ you believed it. You believed the lie, but maybe you didn’t. I went to the one on World War II, and you would only consider two or three out of the 25 lies to even be plausible and you had to know almost nothing about World War II to disregard most of them. Most of these idiotic statements were things that I had never heard, and I have researched both World War II and conspiracy theories, although not a conspiracy theorist myself. So, someone invented lies and purported them as rumors / theories and concocted a pile of garbage. Yet, he got paid to do it.
Just like with the news on the media outlets, follow the money and discern how the lies that are being told cause the guy with the money to make more money. Then you find the motivation to deceive the populace.
But Jesus is talking about an absolute Truth.
Someday, maybe soon, we will stand before God on Judgment Day. The only thing that will matter at that point is Truth, the one with the capital “T.” If we have a personal and meaningful relationship with Jesus, nothing else will matter. There are no ‘alternate facts.’ There are no ‘false facts.’
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.