RECENTLY, Oxford Dictionary announced that the word of the year is “post-truth”. It’s an adjective used when describing how facts and truth take a backseat in favour of emotions and personal opinion.
During just the last six months, people have been increasingly talking about “post-truth politics” and a “post-truth world”. Politicians in the UK and the US have been accused of lying and ignoring facts, quoting their own feelings or the feelings of their supporters as sufficient evidence for their positions.
An example of this was when American politician Newt Gingrich argued that the crime level in the US has gone up because “the average American… does not think crime is down”. When challenged by a reporter who quoted FBI statistics that showed the opposite, he simply responded “That’s your view”.
Similarly, when German chancellor complained that the racist party Alternative for Germany was flourishing in spite of ignoring facts concerning immigration and just appealing to people’s feelings, the party’s response was “What you feel is also reality”.
Jesus, on the other hand, never put feelings before truth. He even said that He is the Truth (John 14:12) and that the truth shall set us free (John 8:32). He said that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and that we should be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17).
His followers emphasised that when faced with challenges, we should subject our emotional reaction to the truth of the eternal life that Jesus has provided for us through His death on the cross (Romans 8:18, 1 Peter 4:16). Paul summarised it well when he wrote:
“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
To renounce truth as subject to personal preference and emotion is not the Christian way. We should seek a true and objective understanding of the world and not be misled by the emotional, subjective preferences of our sinful nature.
Christianity isn’t anti-knowledge, anti-science or anti-truth, rather it is because we know that the world is created by an intelligent, loving being that we celebrate truth. No matter what happens in contemporary society or in our own emotional life, we can always trust that Jesus is faithful and true.