“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever took a few steps back and wondered aloud why people are so content to wander around in the dark when the truth is staring them in the face?
Why is truth a much more difficult concept to accept than the lies that pervade it? Why do people fight and seek to destroy the seekers of truth when they are lost as can be? Why strike the face of the potential deliverer?
I’ve turned this question over and over in my mind, and I’m now able to fully admit it. It bothers me. It stirs me in an area I can’t pinpoint and in a way I can’t explain. There is an answer, but no simple solution except to keep spreading truth and shaking the dust from my sandals. I don’t claim to be better than anyone, but I believe, like my peers, that I know the truth and only wish for people to live the same kind of blissful existence that I do. I’ve studied, searched and prayed through this issue, but still have no definite answer. I have, however, learned a few things along the way.
First of all, the acceptance of lies over truth can be summed up in one word. “Convenience.” Don’t believe me? Look at the multi-millions of Twinkies, Cokes, instant ramen and TV dinners sold just over the past year alone. Look at prescription drug, cigarette and alcahol sales. There’s a reason why these products, though loaded with calories, fat, additives and cancer-causing agents, are still so insanely popular.
Sure, there are healthier and more beneficial alternatives to the things that we take for granted every day, but they take work. We have to become gardeners, chefs and nutritionists. We have to study. We have to think. We have to read. Heaven forbid.
Fast food and prepackaged processed snacks give us an instant sweet taste and full stomach. Alcahol, cigarettes and drugs give us an instant feeling of euphoria, peace and wellness. But for how long? And for what price? People don’t care. All they care about is the here and now.
True wisdom must overcome the same hurdle to be heard. Why listen to the voice of truth? The voice of truth says that I must reach for something, to listen, to learn. The voice of truth says that I must work. Why should I listen to the voice of truth when the voice of lies tells me that I can have it now with no effort required on my part. It tells me that it’s all there at my fingertips. This, of course, is all a lie, because that voice leads us into toxic codependency, but codependency is still far more appealing to the common man than truth.
Take mass media for example. Have you ever noticed that when being asked if you’re a reader, you take it as an innocent question? Well, some people read and others don’t. Some like newspapers, others like novels, some like biographies. You shrug it off. “Sure”, or “Nah” you say, dismissively. But when asked the same question about television, you stare agape at that person as if he had just descended from Mars to find out about your unique culture. “Of course I am!” you cry. “What kind of silly question is that?”
Why is it such a silly question? Because like fast food and prepackaged junk, television is so simple and so instant that it is taken for granted as ubiquitous, whether it really is or not. Unlike books that require the reader to make inferences for himself or even radio that requires the listener to assemble the pictures in his mind, television is instantaneous. Simply click a button on the remote and receive an instant overload of information. Is that information true? Is it reliable? Who cares? It’s cheap, it’s convenient and it’s instant.
Think about how much we rely on television commercials and sound bites to receive our information. Think about how much of it we recall on a daily basis. You can’t tell me for an instant that we’re not actively learning from it. How much of our culture is dependent on television and cinema? How much of our modern history naturally coincides with the broadcast schedules of popular shows and spots?
When did watching grown-ups act like children on national television become the “adult” thing to do while reading and radio drama became childish? Why did the internet transform from a place to share vital information to a place to play silly games and watch mindless videos? Why are we so intent on asserting our independence by joining the ranks of the world? Why do we insist on accepting convenient lies over timeless truth?
Just my two cents:
What we need as a society is something that works. The church has touted the life, the truth and the way for centuries, and through the Bible, they have the authority to tout it with all their might. Though there have been standout exceptions, it has generally instead perverted God’s own words. It has offered people nothing but meaningless ritual and tradition. It has offered harsh words for people who have questioned the works of the Almighthy in their own lives. To be frank, it has offered nothing that people can’t already have in the “real world” with less effort.
Does truth need to be more convenient? I should say not, or else it wouldn’t be unfiltered truth anymore. No. Those that speak the truth must realize that they are not speaking for an elite club to the masses. They are speaking for the free to the imprisoned. People understandably don’t wish to exchange one prison for another.
Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In other words, “Take my truth to heart because it only has two rules (live by faith and walk in love) and no condemnation (divine forgiveness).”
Sometimes I wonder why people choose to accept lies over the Truth when the Truth is so much clearer. Then I think that if we remove our worldly masks when we speak the truth, perhaps they wouldn’t. I have been given a mission. We all have. I am removing my mask now, possibly destroying it for good, so that people might see the whole Truth shine through me.
Because after all, there are no masks in eternity.