Truth Over Facts ?
I generally steer clear of politics in my posts. I prefer to stick to discussions of a spiritual/biblical nature. Just about everyone has an opinion or belief system where politics or spiritual things are concerned and they aren’t always compatible. In my opinion, the eternal spiritual state of each individual is far more important than political conflicts. However, on rare instances, politics offers an opportunity for spiritual enrichment and today I would like to call attention to one such opportunity. So let’s start by defining some terms. I have always found it helpful to insure good communication.
Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of politics:
Politics - Noun pol·i·tics | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌtiks \
1a: the art or science of government
1b: the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
1c: the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government
If you check Google for the definition of politics you will read:
the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
I think that most will agree that definition 1c above and especially the second part of the Google definition reflect the general understanding that most people have of the term, politics. In the definitions, there is also a special emphasis on debate or conflict, as we see played out every day in the media.
Political rivals seize every opportunity to bash one another for their views and comments. Recently a comment from presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, made the news. His comment was widely reported as just another of his long string of gaffes. Here is the quote:
“…We choose truth over facts.” Joe Biden
The problem with the reporting, and much of the commentary about Biden’s comment, is a fundamental lack of understanding or worse, a redefinition of the words in use, truth and facts. So just what are facts and what is truth? Simply stated by Google:
- a thing that is known or proved to be true
- the quality or state of being true
- that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
- a fact or belief that is accepted as true
Biden’s fellow liberal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been on record saying facts do not matter when she said in an interview with Anderson Cooper, “There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” It would appear that in her mind, her “feelings” are what define morality and truth.
On the surface, Biden was trying to make a contrast between two words that most people accept as having equal meaning, which is probably why it is considered by most to be a gaffe. He was making a distinction without a difference. However, Ocasio-Cortez makes the distinction that facts are irrelevant when it comes to her feelings of moral superiority.
According to the dictionary definitions above, the two terms are interdependent and virtually synonymous. This overlap of terms, in which each defines the other, causes some trouble. This problem is not just in found in our contemporary society. It has been around for millennia. The wisdom and understanding of humans leads to confusion because in general, the participants don’t accept any standard or authority. In public discourse, politicians redefine the words they use in conversation and interject personal prejudice into the meanings that they convey. This is the definition of Ideolatry, as humans alter truth and fact to suit their own personal agenda.
This ambiguity is at odds with the Concept of Absolutes that I discussed in last week’s blog post. When the absolute truth is rejected, humans exert their own moral preferences and actively redefine both truth and fact. If you look a little deeper into the definitions above, you will note that a fact is “a thing that is known or proved to be true” and truth is “a fact or belief that is accepted as true.”
I would ask, “Known or proven by whom?” and “Accepted by whom?”
We now live in an exceptionally fluid time. Facts and truth are actively distorted on a daily basis in many areas. One glaring example is the attempt to remove any gender identity based on how an individual “feels” about who they are, but there are many others. Feelings do not alter real truth. Truth itself is unchangeable; it is always the same, whereas fact can be altered.
The fact is, if you are reading this, you are alive.
The truth is, someday you won’t be, no matter how you feel about it.
My purpose in writing Ideolatry and this blog is to prompt you to think. To ask you to consider the things that you allow into your mind and spirit through “ear gates and your “eye gates”. Evaluate the input you receive and test it against the standard of Truth that is God’s Word, the Bible. God’s Truth is not based on feelings or the Ideolatry of humans, no matter how well-intentioned. God’s ways are far different than ours and His priorities are as well.
Jesus dealt with this problem when he was questioned by Pilate, the representative of the Roman government in the region, as described in John 18:33-38.
John 18:33-38 (GNT)
Pilate went back into the palace and called Jesus. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked him.
Jesus answered, "Does this question come from you or have others told you about me?"
Pilate replied, "Do you think I am a Jew? It was your own people and the chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done?"
Jesus said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. No, my kingdom does not belong here!"
So Pilate asked him, "Are you a king, then?"
Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me."
"And what is truth?" Pilate asked.
Jesus told Pilate that he was there to speak about the truth (God), and those who belonged (trusted in, revered, and honored God) to the truth (God), listened to Him.
Pilate, the ruler, was blind to real truth. The governmental leader was clueless, only interested in his own agenda, just as many of our leaders are today. The evidence was in his question, the question that has been echoing on the lips of Ideolatrous humans for millennia, "And what is truth?"
Jesus did not offer an answer to Pilate’s rhetorical question, because He knew that Pilate did not “belong to the truth.” The decision to belong to God is one that must come through a free-will choice and not one of coercion, demand or persuasive logic.
Jesus made it very clear what truth was when He replied to his disciple, Thomas, in John 14:6-7.
John 14:6-7 (GWT)
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him through me and have seen him in me."
In reality, Joe Biden’s comment was right on. There is a difference between truth and fact. It is probably about the only thing he said that I would agree with. Although I doubt that he was making that spiritual point. We should be guided by the Truth of God, rather than the facts of humans.
Will you acknowledge the Absolute Truth of God’s Word and His Son Jesus?
If you have, endeavor to weigh that which you hear and see by His truth and not through your Ideolatry or anyone else’s.
May God richly bless you in all that you do! - Dr Rich Masek
I invite you to read Chapter 5, Acts of God in
Ideolatry - God Is Not Your Problem
To learn more about how Ideolatry can affect your life.
Available in digital formats for Kindle, iBooks, Nook and Generic eReaders
You can read about more subjects from Ideolatry below.