“You Shall Bear False Witness”

What the post-truth West can can learn from India

The post-Christian West is set to catch up with the East’s corruption. Since politicians are now permitted to pervert truth, shouldn’t the police, the public servants, and the “press” also make-up their own truths?

 

Public debates surrounding Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election made Oxford Dictionary to declare ‘Post-Truth’ “The Word of the Year 2016”. It was reported that Madeconian teenagers launched at least 140 US politics websites. These had domain names that sound American. For example,  WorldPoliticus.com, TrumpVision365.com, USConservativeToday.com, DonaldTrumpNews.co, and USADailyPolitics.com.” Facebook was pulling “news stories” from these sources and even trending items from them.

 

Germany improved upon Post-Truth. It called “Post-Factual” the word of 2016. 

 

In Post-Fact culture, democratic debates are not required to discuss facts. The “Facts” become flexible — subjective interpretations. 

 

The BBC’s chief correspondent noted that Trump’s core team in Post-Christian America campaigned on the assumption that “truth” and “facts” are what a majority of the people prefer to believe. A leader, therefore, has to be an effective story-teller: one who can manipulate majority opinion. 

 

Of course, much before 2016, secularised high school graduates, were absolutely convinced that absolute Truth didn’t exist. Most of them never read Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, or Joseph Campbell. Their postmodern culture sent subliminal messages to them that ‘Truth’ was a relic of the Christian era. Back in the modern age, they sought truth that could be understood by the intellect (Rational), believed by the heart (Faith) and communicated in words (Propositional).  That era was created by the Bible. It taught that the human mind was made in the image of the divine mind. God knew the truth and he gave us the gift of language so that we could learn truth from him, from each other, and go on to discover some of it ourselves. 

 

But if there is no God or ET out there who knows the truth, or if He/She/It cannot verbalize it to us … and if our logical thoughts, beliefs, dreams, intuition and words are nothing more than rationalisations of our private desires … than our ‘truth’ is simply a means we use to manipulate our world to suit our interests.   

 

During the Christian era the West believed in truth because the Ten Commandments required human beings not to chisel their own idols. Those who make gods have to make up stories to manipulate others to worships their made-up gods. 

 

In contrast, the true God revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and their people. God revealed himself because he wanted them to know the him and bear witness to the truth. The New Testament recorded that God came to visit this planet in Jesus Christ. As the apostle John put it, ‘the Logos (Word) became flesh and dwelt amongst us. We beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1: 14 etc.) Peter, John, and Paul insisted that they were witnesses of what they had seen, heard, and handled; that they were not clever story-tellers. 

 

The God who revealed truth, required his people to abide in His word so that they may know the liberating truth (John 8: 31-32) . Some stories are told to entertain and inspire, others are turned into coercive religious myths. The gods that are made up, cannot command: “You shall not bear false witness.” 

 

What happens to a culture built on man’s wisdom, that rejects God’s command?

 

Well, I can tell you what happens in India: 

Mr. A wants to contest the election against Mr. B to become the President of the Village Council. B is a friend with Mr. C — the Member of the State Legislative Assembly. Mr. C asks the police inspector to lock up Mr. A in a trumped up murder or rape case.  The inspector has no problem in finding false witnesses — story-tellers. These alleged “offences” are non-bailable. That means that the accused Mr. A has to stay in prison for a long time. His family may have to sell off his land and house in order to get him out of the prison. An aspiring leader is reduced to a landless, unemployed youth. Who will hire a person who has spent some years in jail on serious charges of murder or rape? Sometimes, there appears to be only one way for him to feed his family and take revenge on Post-Truth society: That is, to become a guerrilla (a member of a Maoist-Communist gang) that offers him a gun, an ideology, and a support-structure. 

 

Our former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, called these Maoist guerrillas, India’s “greatest internal security threat”. Communism is indeed dead. Many of our communist guerrillas are products of a culture whose gods cannot tell our leaders and police officers: “You shall not bear false witness.”