Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The truth, the whole truth, but nothing of Truth

My four year old has a really odd sense of "fairness".  Basically, anything that he doesn't agree with is an indication of being unfair.  Time to eat dinner?  "You're not being fair".  Time to go to bed?  "You're not being fair".  Another common one is the argument about who gets to pick out a tv show between his little sister and himself. By a wide margin my son watches more of "his" shows.  But, let her watch one show that she requests and he is upset about it not being fair.

Clearly this is a problem and we are addressing it.  It has gotten to the point that he has been instructed to not even utter the phrase, "It isn't fair" at all.  He misuses and abuses it.  Here is the real issue though;  He emotionally feels as if what he is claiming is valid and right.  There is no self-introspection or willingness(yet) to accurately measure what is going on.  The feelings he feels are all the argument he needs to declare a statement of "Truth". 

The concept of Truth used to mean something to everyone.  Namely, that Truth was a non-negotiable and reliable claim about observable conditions and reality.  Seeking the Truth was a process of carefully and honestly appraising competing claims against the backdrop of known reality.  With each subsequent discovery of Truth becoming the building block and lens of which following observations must be weighed by.

Now truth has become a fluid and ever changing concept that is redefined daily based upon the desires and perception of those making the statements.  And to disagree with someone's personal statements of truth is the height of impropriety. 

The key factor in determining the truth of something(today) is how the statement effects you emotionally.  Facts, figures, logic, data points, etc, are all secondary in importance behind the emotional resonance of a particular truth claim.  And once you have emotionally made a decision on truth, the facts must be manipulated and conformed to that decision.

This is tyranny.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that, "The heart is deceitful above all things"(Jeremiah 17:9)  If you are honest with yourself, and I with myself, we will admit to the constant fluidity of our "feelings" on almost all subjects.  Our hearts and emotions are easily manipulated and rarely do those feelings find themselves safely rooted in non-negotiable truths. 

How would you like your spouse to make the marriage declaration to love you for better or for worse.....as long as they feel then like they do now.....

We need consistency and non-negotiability to safely navigate our relationships, jobs, cultures, physics, and, life in general.  When we become prisoners to the ever changing fickle nature of emotional reactionism we are truly under tyranny. 

But Adam, you say, our hearts and emotions aren't that terrible for making life decisions!!  You're being too critical.

No.  No I am not.

According to the CDC, half of all Americans will suffer at some point in their adult life from mental disorder issues of some sort.  Depression, bi-polarism, PTSD, addiction, etc.  So, in other words, half of every one you know and deal with will have at least some period of time in their lives where they could literally be incapable of making healthy decisions.  If someone is suffering from clinical depression, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, and any other number of deep seated issues that reside in chemical imbalances and other brain issues(that are OUTSIDE OF THEIR CONTROL) they are INCAPABLE of even being able to accurately evaluating the reality around them. 

So, how is basing "truth" on unreliable emotions not tyranny?

We need to stop being tossed around and reevaluating truth and our lives through the lens of finite emotional moments.  The hope we have is to root ourselves in absolute Truth.  And then, allowing our emotions to be shaped by Truth, instead of the other way around.

If you are a Christian, let me challenge you.  You aren't called to be "authentic" in your emotional responses and behaviors.  You are called to have integrity to live according to Truth, EVEN WHEN YOU AREN'T FEELING THAT WAY!!!

If you are not a Christian, let me challenge you.   What is Truth.  Big T, non-negotiable, set your clock by it Truth?  What dictates reality for you?  I am convinced that God is reliable and True, and that the Bible is Reliable and True.  Big T True.  It is a bulwark against fickle emotion based reality and a shelter from the storms of life.  If you have any questions, any thoughts, go ahead and ask!!!

Which will you choose?

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