Monday, July 21, 2008

Words, Words, Words

Satan is the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning.

Ordinarily, we read that sentence, nod, and move on. We know this from our earliest childhoods, even if we can't express it that way. Lies are wrong. It's bad to tell a lie.

But what if people started to lie more by omission than by commission? What if a whole generation of people began to lie, simply by believing that no such thing as truth existed, that everyone creates his or her own reality, that nothing is absolute, and that concepts such as "truth" and "falsehood" are outdated concepts which have nothing to do with anything that is empirically real?

We have reached that point in America: reached it, claimed it as our own, and worked toward perfecting it and elevating it to a near-art form.

How does this work? It's simple, actually. The process can be described in steps, which seem to me to be as follows:

Step One: Redefine some long-held truth to be a lie, or at least an opinion which can't bind anyone who doesn't agree with it.

Step Two: Declare that some lie, which is opposed to that long-held truth, is actually true, at least for more people at the present time (thus reinforcing the idea that "truths" are mutable culturally-conditioned concepts rather than timeless principles).

Step Three: Insist that everyone embrace this new "truth" and isolate those who don't, stigmatizing them as rigid, fundamentalist, closed-minded, or by some equally pejorative term.

We can see how this works by examples:

Example A:

Step One: It is not murder to kill a pre-born human.
Step Two: Abortion is a fundamental human right.
Step Three: Pro-life fanatics are all religious zealots who are opposed to reason.

Example B:

Step One: Two men or two women can marry. You don't have to have opposite genders for a marriage.
Step Two: Andrew Sullivan is married. (Or Rosie O'Donnell, etc.)
Step Three: Anyone who insists that same-sex couples can't marry, or aren't really married, is just a rigid, mean-spirited, religious zealot who refuses to accept the new reality.

Example C:

Step One: Women can be Catholic priests if they want, regardless of what the Church says.
Step Two: Any woman who says she's a Catholic priest should be considered one, written about as if she had really been ordained, and made to look like a heroine fighting a patriarchal backward institution.
Step Three: Anyone, including the official Catholic Church, who says the women in question are not priests now, have never been priests, can never be priests, and are in fact no longer even Catholics in good standing, are just a bunch of mean patriarchal people trying to force their rigid narrow view of the truth onto the rest of us.

Satan is the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. And in the twenty-first century when anyone who believes that truth is absolute can be marginalized and defined as an undesirable, he barely even has to lift a finger to gain the souls not only of the wicked, but of their duped counterparts, the easily deluded who think that it's more important to be nicey-nice and give everybody whatever spiritual pabulum they want than to guard and defend the truth from the relentless assaults of error.

2 comments:

Irenaeus said...

Bingo. Bingo. A thousand times bingo. Reminds of Fr Neuhaus' dictum, "Where orthodoxy is optional, it will be proscribed."

freddy said...

This should be required reading for anyone studying the dictatorship of relativism!