Evangelical Christians are nice, and so when they lie it is in the interests of keeping things nice. They therefore have a hard time comprehending those unsavory characters who lie in the interests of advancing causes which are mean and nasty. Moreover, these evangelicals, having made “nice” the standard instead of Scripture, have drifted so far away from their biblical mooring that when they encounter the rare specimen who comes along speaking the truth, they think he is simply working out a new form of being mean and nasty. As the saying goes, truth sounds like hate if you hate the truth. Things are in quite a jumble.
The apostle Paul was at great pains to warn us about vain philosophy, and I think he must have had Kant especially in mind.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Colossians 2:8 (KJV)
Full disclosure here: I majored in philosophy, and I did get two degrees in it, and so some might think that I am not exactly the one to be talking. So yes, that is true, I did get those degrees. But I hasten to add that I am very, very sorry, and have no intention of doing that ever again.
Actually, all that aside, what I was doing was reconnoitering. I was behind enemy lines, people. When the classified files on this great epistemic conflict are finally opened up to the public, it will be revealed that there were times when I had to go up to the library and read philosophy journals. I had to read them aloud to myself so as to maintain some kind of forward motion. It was like putting on asbestos hip waders and walking across a stream of rapidly cooling magma.
So be that as it may, the apostolic warning against philosophy was laid down for Christians. Now I know that this is the moment when some orthodox Christians who are trained in philosophy will want to protest, saying that it is possible to maintain a faithful Christian witness in the halls of philosophy, and that they have seen it done. And I cheerfully grant the point. I too have seen it done.
But we need to remember that we are living in a generation in which the evangelical church at large is drowning in oceans of vain deceit, has gotten lost in the mirkwood of man’s traditions, and is badly mired in the swamps of the world’s rudiments. If there were ever a generation that knew how to avoid the snares of vain philosophy, our generation never met those guys.
Correspondence and Coherence
I bring this issue of philosophy up because I want to point Christians to the right side of a philosophical distinction that many of our number have been getting consistently wrong. At first, there didn’t seem to be major consequences to getting it wrong, because it was just a red mark on your philosophy quiz. But now, there you are in the ladies room, and Bruno is in the next stall, and his trans-partner lesbian wannabe is at the sink shaving, and you are wondering how things ever got to this point. You are also wondering how you are going to get back outside, back to those great, great deals at Target. How did we get to this point? Well, I will tell you. It has to do with that red mark on your philosophy quiz.
The reason you didn’t notice that you were getting answers marked wrong on that quiz is that you were being encouraged in it by your therapist. He taught you to believe that the emotions you were feeling about your father were “your truth,” and that made you feel good whenever you had a session with your therapist.
The correspondence view of truth says that a statement is true if that statement corresponds to the actual way things are in the world. Please note that I italicized that word corresponds. You say it is raining outside, and that indicative statement is true if and only if droplets of water are falling out of the sky in a place that is normally what we refer to as outside. Somebody else says that it is not raining outside, and the first speaker offers to walk out to the parking lot with him in order to test his assertion. The second speaker declines to do so, saying that his assertion “works for him,” and as he is a stubborn cuss, he sticks to his story all day long. This is the coherence view of truth, or as some might describe it, “that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
The correspondence view is an objective view. The coherence view is a subjective view. The correspondence view measures the truth of a statement by how it lines up with the facts out there in the world. The coherence view measures the truth of a statement by how it relates to other statements. This can be confusing to some because a correspondence view is also going to cohere. But a coherence view need not correspond to anything except the subjective whims of the person who is sticking to his story. Faithful Christians know that the correspondence view is absolutely necessary because there must be a correspondence between Christ rose from the dead and Christ actually doing so outside Jerusalem two thousand years ago. If that statement does not correspond to the facts of what actually happened, then we are all still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17).
America’s Grand Mal Seizure
Now America’s current dilemma is that we are putting up with the most absurd and manifest lies, bunched up clusters of lies. The problem is not that everyone believes the lies, because a lot of people don’t. But we do put up with them. The people running this grand charade lie and lie and then lie some more. After doing all this, they retain their positions such that they can lie to us all again tomorrow. In a healthy society, they would be sitting outside the town, picking feathers out of the tar.
If tolerating the ongoing presence of a lie were a mild tremor, America is currently going through a grand mal seizure, with both of Uncle Sam’s heels drumming the floor.
Think about it. What manifest lies do we tolerate? We put up with statements that assure us that Joe Biden is not mentally impaired. We put up with masks on airplanes. We fail to laugh when someone tells us their preferred pronouns. We put up with the CDC. We put up with the notion that Joe Biden was swept into office in a tsunami of enthusiasm, 80 million strong. We put up with the idea that free speech exists in the world of Big Tech. We put up with the notion that universities and colleges care about the life of the mind. We put up with the suggestion that Disney cares for the best interests of children. We put up with the idea that CNN has viewers. And the American people rose up with one voice, and we know this because we can hear them bleating in the barn.
“We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.”Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
And then there was this gem, sent into us by a reader and which I published yesterday.
“Since all genuine problems and matters of critical importance are hidden beneath a thick crust of lies, it is never quite clear when the proverbial last straw will fall, or what the straw will be. THIS, TOO, IS WHY THE REGIME PROSECUTES, ALMOST AS A REFLEX ACTION PREVENTATIVELY, EVEN THE MOST MODEST ATTEMPTS TO LIVE WITHIN THE TRUTH.”Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless
So the one place in our town where I can count on blind acceptance of all the medical lies is the hospital. “Sir, I am afraid that your mask is under your nose.”
It is of course a sin to tell lies. But it is also complicity to listen to them. You don’t want to be the devil, telling lies, but neither should you want to be sons of the devil, listening to them.
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
John 8:44 (ESV)
All of these lies, and I do mean all of them, are calculated to give them absolute control over every aspect of our lives. And when that control is established, they will begin the deconstruction of man in earnest. This is a different phrase than Lewis’s abolition of man, but it amounts to the same thing.
What matters to them is the coherence view of truth, and because they will be in the control, it will be their coherence. Not yours, and not mine. Not God’s either, because God’s Word corresponds to God’s world.
And their lust to control everything—libido dominandi—is a lust that simply will not stop. Hell’s yawning maw is never satisfied, and neither will the lusts of these people be satisfied. You should remember what line we were being fed when Obergefell was handed down. “All homosexuals want is the same right to marry that you have. Nothing else will change.” Now if parents in Florida don’t want depraved second grade teachers grooming the kids by explaining the wonders of sexual perversion to them, they are reviled and dismissed as haters. So we went from “we just want to be suburban married couples like you” to “hand over your children” pretty fast.
Tell me this. Will a society that doesn’t know what a woman is be able to tell us what a child is? And if we don’t know what a child is, then what is pedophilia actually? when all is said and done? Is not pedophilia an artificial social construct? Hmmmm?
We will know that the coherence view of truth has established full control when all the lusts line up. And believers read this, and want to know what to do to fight it. The answer is pretty straightforward.
Stop putting up with lies. Stop going along with lies. Stop pretending that their truth veneer is a white oak plank.