The Power of Liars
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)
I have recently quit my participation and membership in a political party. I originally joined rather inadvertently, and remained in the vain hope that I might help create positive change in political decisions. And my hope was vain – as in futile and ineffective. I quit because I realized that I had entered into such a morass of lies, counter-lies, and deceitfulness that, figuratively speaking, I didn’t know which way was up.
It reminded me of the seemingly endless seconds when I had tripped over the front of my ski while waterskiing. I was spun around in the air and fired deep under the water, with nothing to orient me to which way to swim for the surface. I remember my panic as, with only a quick half-breath of air in my lungs, I waited, helpless, until the buoyancy of my ski-vest finally, slowly, floated me to life-restoring surface air. Being in that political party was like being air-starved not knowing where the surface lay; quitting the political party was like being able to breathe again.
Perhaps political parties are excessively affected by subterfuge and deceit in comparison to most human enterprises. They are, after all, primarily oriented towards ‘power’, and like Machiavelli’s Prince, people who successfully participate in political parties are highly skilled at lying. And unlike other collective human endeavors where ‘reality’ dictates that some truth must exist – such as in building a bridge – politics has a lot more latitude because the consequences of non-truth are not so obviously catastrophic as a collapsed bridge (as an example). The catastrophes of politics may eventually be real, but not right away.
Indeed, the more ‘abstract’ the human enterprise, the more latitude there is for lies to give power. I think that this is the reason why the world of religion is so rife with lies and liars. There are no obvious ‘realities’ for most people to foresee the consequences of lies told in religions. But there are still realities, and the consequences are of far greater consequence than for any other realm of truth and lies.
The problem with liars is the problem I had when I was a participant in the political party. At a certain point, the lies outnumber the truths, and the differences between lies and truths become impossible to determine. And the real reason why truth becomes so incomprehensible is that, in the world of politics and the secular world, all we have to go on (unless the bridge collapses!) is words.
And sometimes this is what man-made institutional religions seem like. They seem to be all about words, and nothing else. Theologians debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and various clergy play self-aggrandizing politics from the pulpit. Religious organizations can, indeed, seem no better (and given the importance of the world of our spirit, worse), than that political party. And this is true, but for one very important difference.
As seekers of spiritual truth, as born again Christians, we have more than our church and The Bible – and their words – on which to call. We can call on God himself. Through prayer, through faith, through good works and contemplation, God is omnipresent. All we need to do is seek Him and His righteousness. God’s words are spoken, not as liars speak, but to our very heart.
Peter’s Thoughts for This Day!