A couple of months ago these two words would just belong to an American business man.
Now these two words belong to countless debates, commentaries, memes, hate mail, fan mail, controversies, and also the 45th President of the United States.
The last couple of months have been rife with political commentary. Not only in America, but in South Africa as well.
Our president, Jacob Zuma, is surrounded by his own cloud of political buzz, and few other world leaders are above reproach. In fact — few people are spotless, not just leaders.
To be honest, there are very few countries that agree with the choices and decrees their government makes at all times. Whether their leaders are dictators, diplomatically elected, royalty or autocrats — no country is without its burden.
Well, politics aside (if that’s at all possible within a Western World View), something that I’ve been mulling over is the consideration of Truth within modern society.
The Voice of Reason
How often are you told to listen to the voice of reason? Daily? Hourly?
Our society pivots around the understanding of reason, or to be more specific, that which is rational within a particular context.
We are encouraged to be intellectuals, to be campaigners for equality, to be pursuers of justice — within reason.
I recently had a conversation with one of my girl friends about appropriate clothes/dress codes in particular environments. We ended up disagreeing about what is deemed appropriate, but we did agree that society does ‘prescribe’ certain things within certain contexts, and we also agreed that the problem is often not the problem, but different interest groups’ understanding of the problem.
I think this is a measure that can be applied to many debates — our tolerance or understanding or agreement with or about a certain thing depends on the particular point of view we hold pertaining that particular controversy.
Liberals expect conservatives to be less intolerant and ignorant and narrow-minded. Conservatives expect liberals to be less offensive and blasé.
Right or wrong, left or right, liberal or conservative — we are often urged to disagree within reason.
In other words — we are allowed to have opinions that are different from others, as long as they are reasonably different.
The Voice of Truth
This sounds simple enough. Our society has become decreasingly homogeneous and we are encouraged to express ourselves, to stand for what we believe in, to comment, to campaign, and to use social media to get the word out.
But, from a Christian perspective, what does this mean?
Or rather, what is our responsibility?
I finished reading Deadline by Randy Alcorn on Monday. One of the sub-themes in the novel concerns our understanding of “right” and “wrong”. The novel is set in Oregon, and centers around the life of Jake Woods, journalist, estranged father, divorced husband and best friend to Finney and Doc. As a liberal, Wood’s weekly column often takes on the “right-wing conservatives” about their anti-woman views, seeing as they don’t support abortion.
Now, I know this is a touchy subject and I won’t start a debate/ rant in this particular blog post. Wood’s commentary and (later) realizations lead me to question my own understanding and interpretation of the Truth.
Generally I’d say that I try to live the Word, and that I rely on the Holy Spirit for revelation and wisdom on a daily basis. The truth is, however, that my personal willingness to live the Truth is often influenced by what I deem humane.
Now, in principle, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a better human being, and to be a better human to other human beings.
However, does that leave a lot of space for God, or does it simply allow a humanistic world view that says, “if you’re a nice enough person, you’ll be a nice enough Christian?”
In John 14 verse 6, Jesus answers His disciple Tomas’s question about getting to heaven, or “how to be a good person”.
Plainly put — if we have an opinion or a belief that is good and reasonable, but it is not in line with Jesus and Who he is, then it is not the Truth.
How do we discern between the Voice of Reason and the Voice of Truth?
To be honest — I don’t have a cut-and-dry answer to all the issues society faces.
But I know this — Paul and Timothy say in Philippians 4 verse 8 “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.“
In the end it will not matter whether we were tolerant or not, or whether we were right or wrong. What will matter is whether we were obedient to God, honored our leaders, and whether we follow Him as true worshipers.
What is ‘reasonable’ is a shadow in the door to Eternity.
If you’d like to know more about following Christ, and worshiping Him in spirit and truth, feel free to contact me.