Are we living in a post-truth era?
Rumor has it that we’re living in a post-truth era. Post-truth is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief” (lexico.com). While this may be an apt description of what appears to be going on within the current political arena, post-truth is not a term I would use to describe the world in which we actually live. And here’s why:
As a Christian Scientist, I’ve come to appreciate Truth—with a capital T—not as an all-too-often-subjective representation of fact, but as a synonym for God; as that which, by its very nature, is infallible and invariable, entirely good, completely pure; as something I can depend on without question and without fail; as that which, even when resisted, sooner or later finds a way to make its presence known in my experience.
So when I hear the term post-truth (which I translate as “post-Truth”), I tend to hear “post-God,” and regardless of our politics, I’m sure many would agree that we don’t live in a world without God.
This doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been the odd occasion when I’ve been fooled into believing otherwise. In fact, just last November, a couple of days before the presidential election in the United States, I needed to pray my way out of just such a situation.
It was shortly after dinner when my stomach became so painful that it was all I could do to lie down and send a text message to a friend to ask for his prayerful support. As I waited for his response, I opened my Bible—completely randomly—and read, “What aileth thee?” (Isaiah 22:1).
By turning to Truth with a capital T, we’re turning to God.
At first I thought, “What do you mean, ‘What aileth thee?’ My stomach aileth me!” But then I realized what a great question it was. And I had to admit that at that moment, just before the election, what was ailing me most was the notion that I was living in a post-Truth world—a world where the God I had come to know as infinitely good couldn’t be trusted, a world where I couldn’t trust others, a world that seemed to be drowning in a sea of mistrust and fear.
Glancing again at my Bible, I read, “A grievous vision is declared unto me; . . . Therefore are my loins filled with pain” (Isaiah 21:2, 3).
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
This connection between what we allow into our thought and our physical well-being is fundamental to the practice of Christian Science. The key, however, isn’t making sure we think positive thoughts, but rather allowing our thoughts to be governed by God—by divine Mind or Love. (Note the capitalization of Mind and Love, which, like Truth, are applied in Christian Science as synonyms for God).
“To be immortal, we must forsake the mortal sense of things, turn from the lie of false belief to Truth, and gather the facts of being from the divine Mind,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The passage continues, “The body improves under the same regimen which spiritualizes the thought; and if health is not made manifest under this regimen, this proves that fear is governing the body” (p. 370).
By turning to Truth with a capital T, we’re turning to God, not just some abstract idea of truth, subject to the whims of personal interpretation. We’re appealing to that which presents and perpetuates itself in such qualities as honesty, integrity, and so on. And when we prayerfully and persistently affirm the all-presence and all-power of Truth, we’re able to relieve ourselves of the discouraging and sometimes debilitating belief of living in a world, or living a life, that is devoid of Truth, devoid of God—devoid of universally and divinely bestowed and maintained mental and physical harmony.
We need to recognize in ourselves and others the very same expression of Truth, the same God-given honesty and integrity, that Christ Jesus saw.
So what do we do when we’re bombarded day in and day out with what seems to be anything but the truth, perhaps especially as it relates to politics? When we find it next to impossible to have a conversation with someone whose take on truth isn’t in line with our own?
First and foremost, we need to recognize, and be willing to call upon, our innate ability to see in ourselves and others the very same expression of Truth, the same God-given honesty and integrity, that Christ Jesus saw in everyone. When we do this, healing happens. And not just for us but for society as a whole.
“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,” said Jesus, “that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). This is a reminder to us all of the importance of distinguishing between what is and isn’t true about God and God’s beloved creation, and of recognizing that we each reflect the purity and consistency of Truth itself.
Although I don’t recall exactly what it was my friend said in his reply to my text, I do remember, after reading it, having a greater confidence in my ability to follow Jesus’ example, at least in some small measure. I could trust God to be God; trust others to be what God created them to be; understand that Truth’s all-presence and all-power make no allowance for mistrust and fear.
Physically speaking, my situation improved immediately. Within a short time, I was completely free of pain. Even better, though, was the realization that followed: that despite the rumor of our living in a post-truth era, Truth continues to reign supreme, and when prayerfully appealed to, continues to ensure the health and harmony of all.