When we refer to “the truth,” we assume there is a solid, universal, absolute truth that everyone shares: The sun is hot; rain makes the ground wet; cows are large animals.
When we begin to refer to “my truth,” we no longer have the common, reliable certainties that are known by all. Here’s what happens when we apply that idea to earlier truths we listed:
- “The sun is hot.” My truth is that it is snowing outside, and I am cold, so the sun is not nearly hot enough.
- “Rain makes the ground wet.” I spent a lot of my adult life in Oregon. Thus, I have seen a lot of rain in my time, so my truth is that after a light drizzle, the ground can barely be considered wet.
- “Cows are large animals.” A cow may be large, but it is vastly outranked by hippopotami, elephants, and rhinos, so my truth is that cows are, at best, medium-sized animals.
Certainly, these statements are subjective, allowing for differing opinions as to an individual’s truth. The problem comes in when interpreting “one’s own truth” impedes our perception of absolute truth. Here’s what we mean: Show a crowd of people a brick, and they could see any number of things, such as the start of a building, a weapon, an innovation that changed the world around 7000 BC,[i] or even, if dropped, a broken toe. Yet, none of these impressions alters the fact that everyone in the group likely sees a concrete rectangle. So, where is the disconnect between each person’s truth and the fact that the brick is an inanimate, concrete block? It’s this: Everyone’s “truth” is actually his or her own perception of the brick’s potential based on his or her experience with the object; it’s not a property of the item itself.
I can say that “my truth” calls this brick a person—I can even give it a name and paint a face on it. However, the brick will never form a relationship with me. I can decide that it will be the heir to all my worldly goods, but it can certainly never spend or enjoy the money. I can call it a piece of my future house, but all it will really be is one foundational element that I will be responsible to place and build upon. Even regarding its connection to innovations in construction practices that occurred in 7000 BC, unless I’m holding one of the actual ancient bricks (which, technically, would be made of different material), I still only have a representation of that innovation. Essentially, as stated earlier, I hold a concrete rectangle, nothing more.
Some things are absolute, universal truths—whether we like it or not.
In the postmodern world we live in, the concept of reliable, fundamental truths has simply gone out of style. It is the prerogative of all people to dissect each morsel of reality under the lens of what they perceive to be their own truth; for many, it’s become an outlet for expressing individualism and/or creativity. Redefining truth with more profoundness or ingenuity than one’s predecessors becomes a challenge that, if successful, draws accolades of having the “more enlightened mind” that sees the most unique and progressive version of reality. The secularization of society has taken God, His supremacy, and His law from the center of focus and placed man in the position of the final authority by which our own standards of morality and fulfillment come. As this revolution has occurred, mankind has placed himself on his own throne of deity, and those who still believe in and follow God are seen as old-fashioned, unevolved, stuck in their ways, and hateful. Eventually, their statements (and even their faith) are at risk of being labeled as hate speech, censored, and legislated.
Having abandoned common belief in a God who imposes absolute truth/moral law, we no longer have a common thread of right and wrong to unite us. See the following excerpt from Unscrambling the Millennial Paradox:
If there is no God, there is no standard by which morality is required to be measured. And if morality is left completely up to individual preferences [filtered through such subjectivities as “my truth”], then we can decide that acts previously considered sinful or even heinous are no longer immoral based upon personal enjoyment. [We can see this progression through the evolution of depravity portrayed on movies and media in comparison with increased conservatism of decades past]. Some individuals even escalate this philosophy by believing that God is a mere state of mind or other attribute found in each of us. Beyond this, people then were given a path by which they could literally choose their own reality, free of judgment from others.[ii]
It has taken years for us to get here, but know one thing: Complicating truthful perspectives will be a tool used to groom the masses to embrace unthinkable deeds.
Skew the Perspective on Love
Despite the fact that many people would like to assert their autonomy apart from God, a recurrent theme throughout history says that mankind wants to be connected to a divine authority. Those who study human nature throughout the ages often draw the common conclusion that mankind, of his own accord, consistently comes up with a religious system that involves such powers as good, evil, and hierarchies of entities embracing both factions.[iii] Other than the modern Western culture, few civilizations have evolved to become free of religious belief. Some have even claimed that there is such a thing as a “God gene:…the need for God [which] may be a crucial trait stamped deeper and deeper into our genome with every passing generation.”[iv] This is reinforced by anthropologists who repeatedly discover “tribes living in remote areas [who] come up with a concept of God as readily as nations living shoulder to shoulder…[which makes] a fairly strong indication that the idea is preloaded in the genome rather than picked up on the fly.”[v]
In addition to cultural studies linking various civilizations to the compulsion toward religion, we see that when people are is separated from the notion of a Higher Power, they often feel listless, depressed, lost, or without purpose. While many assert themselves to be the center of their own universe, they often experience an emptiness that’s hard to account for in a postmodern, “enlightened” state of mind. Yet, many are surprised to learn that, following the Renaissance, a sweeping melancholy brushed across much of the population. Termed the “Renaissance Melancholy,” it was the depressed and directionless aftermath of “enlightenment” many experienced when they realized that the exchange they made for their illumination was the stability and absolute reality that came with believing in a Higher Power. (Maybe most people haven’t heard about this because of selective omission?)
We read in one article about this period that “human action was [no longer] judged in terms of right and wrong or good and evil…but in…concrete validity, effectiveness, and beauty…once the unity of design had lost its authority, certainty about the final value of human actions was no longer…found.”[vi]
Studies on this subject abound, and curious readers will find that we’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg. Suffice it to say, it’s more than believable theory that something deep inside each of us desires to be connected to God. After all, we were created to live in community with Him and with each other, in a beautiful garden setting where all our needs were provided. Unfortunately, at the Fall of Man, we lost access to that environment wherein we were created to live, and since then, our plight has been to try to recreate and reenter this type of utopia. Equally unfortunate is the fact that we can never reproduce the ideal conditions our Maker originally assigned for us. (This is why every attempt to create heaven on earth ends in a lackluster, troubled version of communal living, often under the authority of a sometimes-crazed leader who likely has a skewed sense of authority or religion.)
Since the human race was removed from the Garden, we’ve compensated for the loss by polarizing between two pursuits: chasing God relentlessly and trying to narrow the gap between ourselves and the Almighty. The second—which, sadly, occurs more often—involves running farther from God, denying our need for Him, and filling the resulting breach with other attempts to numb the pain and fill in the empty place. When all efforts to satiate the desire for a connection to the Supreme come up short, we attempt to “repress…[our] desire for love because…[this unmet need] leaves us vulnerable to being hurt.”[vii] God is aware of this aching in the human soul and meets this need by offering the remedy in the two most important commandments He gave: 1) that we have no other Gods before Him (Exodus 20:3) and 2) that we love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37–39). These instructions are first in God’s eyes because He knows the level of destruction that is caused when our capacity for and understanding of love are tampered with. By prioritizing these commandments, He shows us that the first thing He wants to do when we surrender to Him is heal that vital aspect of our injured souls.
When our comprehension of love is skewed, our desires fall out of alignment and our affections are at risk of being hijacked by counterfeit contenders that invade our lives and mislead us. When our love is first for God and secondly for one another as He intends, we avoid many of the pitfalls that so easily befall us because of the way we vet our every action. If we don’t keep these “love priorities” as our guiding principles, we’re at risk of forming attachments that captivate our passions but lead us into dark territories. This may seem like an oversimplified strategy of manipulation in a work that outlines other, more technical methods, yet this one likely is the most subversive and difficult to arm ourselves against, because it tangles the heart instead of the mind. When we become fixated on and infatuated with pursuits God hasn’t ordained for us, the attachment becomes “nailed, to specific behaviors, objects, or people…[and becomes] the process that enslaves desire and creates the state of addiction.”[viii] (The author in that reference is referring to any unhealthy compulsion that commandeers our passions and drives us to engage in unhealthy habits, friendships, or activities. Much more is on the line than substance addiction.) Collectively, a skewed understanding of love is a dangerous trait. What, as a society, are people passionate about? These authors observe many behaviors and activities that have been mistaken and even substituted for love—and always with destructive consequences. For example, sex is often mistaken for love, which causes many seeking love to become intimate with countless people. Yet, they yet remain unfulfilled and keep searching, because the thing they desperately seek—again, love—cannot be found in physical gratification. Similarly, some use food as a replacement for love, which has contributed to such health epidemics as obesity and diabetes. As we look to find and exchange love in a world that is increasingly detached from the very definition of the word, we find ourselves facing a paradox: If it’s true that “whatever we are ultimately concerned with is God for us,”[ix] then, when we look at what captivates and preoccupies our society, we see what this culture’s gods are. What/who are these gods? On the dark end of the spectrum, they are fear, loneliness, depression, isolation, and abuse. On the other extreme, these emotions are channeled into the search for love by manifesting in the desire to join a cause, to engage in something worth fighting for, to gain validation of our human reasoning, and to follow a “truth” that all can agree upon and accept, once and for all. Do these sound like the pursuits that demand the attention of modern society? We believe they are a clear summation.
We can see how closely these efforts reflect a large-scale need for God. The dark emotions experienced by today’s society express the need for a Savior. The participation in positive activities—causes—shows a generation looking for righteous undertakings. Yet, these efforts are exploited by the gods of this world that distract us from the underlying pain of separation from our Maker with superficial exploits that pretend, momentarily, to fill the void but leave us empty. Ultimately, through this confusion about love, what it is, where we find it, and where we should direct it, we’ve become our own gods, preoccupied with our own reason, and the powers that be are perfectly willing to sit back and watch members of society destroy themselves, at their own expense, in the search for love and spiritual fulfillment.
UP NEXT: The Enemy Is Patient, and he Wants You Complacent
If you would like more information on the topics covered in this article series, see the book Dark Covenant by Donna Howell and Allie Anderson, available below:
[i] “The History of Bricks and Brickmaking.” Brickarchitecture. 2020. Accessed November 6, 2020. https://brickarchitecture.com/about-brick/why-brick/the-history-of-bricks-brickmaking.
[ii] Anderson, Allie. Unscrambling the Millennial Paradox, 35.
[iii] Kluger, Jeffrey. Is God in Our Genes?. vol. 164. (New York: Time Inc.:, 2004). 5.
[iv] Ibid., 2.
[v] Ibid., 5.
[vi] “The Renaissance: Overview; History and Culture.” Norton Anthology. 2020. Accessed November 6, 2020. https://wwnorton.com/college/english/nawest/content/overview/renaissance.htm.
[vii] May, Gerald. Addiction & Grace. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers; 1988) 2.
[viii] Ibid., 14.
[ix] Ibid., 29.