Politics, Power, and the Abandonment of Truth

Just published at BreakPoint: My article Politics, Power, and the Abandonment of Truth.

The central political tragedy of our day is not any of the decisions being made regarding health care, abortion, marriage, or morality.

Nor is it special interest group influence, campaign negativity, or even governmental encroachment on our freedoms. It is that we have abandoned truth as the guide for our political processes. We’ve given up hope in it.

Open for comments here…

Comments

  1. Chris van Avery

    While we will endlessly squabble about the religious alignment of the founders, there’s one thing in which they were unanimous in their focus: truth.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”, and all that.

  2. Pingback: Politics, Power, and the Abandonment of Truth – Thinking Christian · World News at PaperBoyo.com

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    Tom Gilson

    I’ve just deleted three comments, including one of my own, that from the beginning were taking this conversation off topic and into unrelated matters. I should have done so yesterday evening, but better late than never.

    The person with whom I exchanged that brief discussion is welcome to comment here again, but not without substantive focus on the topics this thread is based on. Please see the Discussion Policies for more on that.

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  5. Nick Matzke

    Well, feel free to continue being one of those “defining truth and reality as we see fit”, then…

  6. Bill

    Tom,

    Thank you for a thoughtful and enlightening look at this issue. It’s hard to understand how we can recapture the ethicial orientation that we have lost by abandoning the Judeo/Christian basis for those beliefs. We can hope that the many people who still understand that there truley is a right and wrong will rediscover that belief is empty without a transendental foundation upon which to anchor it.

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    Tom Gilson

    Thanks, Bill.

    Nick,

    You’re welcome to comment on the substance of the article, in accordance with the Discussion Policies. What substance you included in your previous (now deleted) comment was buried under references to Noah’s flood, the ancestry of humans, and the age of the earth (on which you seriously misrepresented me, by the way, in spite of our many previous conversations on related topics). It is not “defining truth and reality as I see fit” for me to consider those things unrelated to the current topic. This blog is not for hijacking. I don’t welcome being misrepresented by people who should know better, either.

  8. luke

    I sit here and ponder a bit about biblical beliefs and “objective” truth (I’m not sure how well I understand nor buy into that — but I’ll roll with it) in relation to politics and our nation.

    I agree that egalitarianism is a Christian belief and that a political system be made out of it (Lockean egalitarianism that all are equal because God loves everyone), in fact it is the one I prefer and would argue for as opposed to others. But wouldn’t it also be “biblically” based to argue for some other types of government (monarchy) based on Romans 13? In fact I’m fairly certain that Divine Right is argued for based on that idea — and Luther himself argued that the secular princes were ok in their use of force (killing) peasants in his Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants based on Romans 13.

    I guess where I’m heading is that I can see more then one way for biblical based readings of political systems.

    Abandoning truth, or choosing the wrong “truth,” are what will cause us to lose our freedom.

    I’m not sure we are anywhere near losing the egalitarian system, but assume we do abandon that “truth” for something like the view held by Luther (as described above), we would no less lose the Truth that we are all equal in Christ, even if we lose our freedoms as we currently enjoy them — Christians throughout the centuries managed before us and manage elsewhere in the world under different governments.

    Peace

  9. Ron Krumpos

    Tom,

    I fully agree with the excerpt on your post. Truth is lacking in both politics and society. Too often expedient and self-serving “truths” overlook essential truths. What works today is all that seems to matter. Politicians “spin” truth until it suits their own objectives.

  10. Ron Krumpos

    Tom,

    I hope this isn’t off-base, but it does relate to absolute moral truth.

    In my book at http://www.suprarational.org I wrote a chapter about morality and conscience, called “Duel of the Dual.” Here is an excerpt:

    “Conscience” is a misused and misunderstood word. “Have you no conscience?,” ask people of a person who does something which seems to them to be so obviously wrong. Each person has a dual conscience and, occasionally, these two sides do engage in a duel.

    The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines conscience as “a reasonably coherent set of internalized moral principals that provides evaluations of right and wrong with regard to acts either performed or contemplated. Historically, theistic views aligned conscience with the voice of God and hence regarded it as innate. The contemporary view is that the prohibitions and obligations of conscience are learned…” Individual moral development is based on both.

    Socrates said that conscience was the inner warning voice of God. Among Stoics it was a divine spark in man. Throughout the Middle Ages, conscience, synderesis in Greek, was universally binding rules of conduct. Religious interpretations later changed in psychiatry.

    Sigmund Freud had coined a new term for conscience; he called it “superego.” This was self-imposed standards of behavior we learned from parents and our community, rather than from a divine source. People who transgressed those rules felt guilt. Carl Jung, Freud’s famous contemporary, said that conscience was an archetype of a “collective unconscious”; content from society is learned later. Most religions still view conscience as the foundation of morality.

    Sri Aurobindo said “…true original Conscience in us [is] deeper than constructed and conventional conscience of the moralist, for it is this which points always towards Truth and Right and Beauty, towards Love and Harmony and all that is a divine possibility in us.” As Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is within you.” Perhaps conscience can be viewed as a double-pane window, with the self in between. On one side, it looks toward ego and free will to obey community’s laws. On the other side, it is toward the soul and divine will to follow universal law. They often converge to dictate the same, or a similar, course of conduct…and sometimes not.

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    Tom Gilson

    This is interesting, Ron, but I’m afraid I can’t see how these definitions of “conscience” from various conflicting perspectives shed light on absolute truth. If there is absolute truth (and I believe there is) it does not contradict itself, and it does not come from conflicting sources. It comes from the one true source, God himself, revealed through his Word.

  12. Ron Krumpos

    Tom,

    Absolute truth does not contradict itself. It is we who too often contradict it, do not understand it or reject it. Most people’s conscience, most of the time, relate to the transient “truths” of society rather than to divine timeless truth.

    We are in agreement, just approaching it from different perspectives.

Comments are closed.