“Truth Decay”

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“The light shines in darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

John 1: 5

President Obama said something today that caught my attention: “Trump has accelerated ‘Truth Decay.'” Evidently this term has been around for years but I failed to pay attention to it. It does seem appropriate for the circumstances we are experiencing today.

Out of curiosity I did a quick search and discovered there is a book called Truth Decay by Jennifer Kavanaugh and Michael D. Rich published by RAND. You can read more about it HERE. What the term means is that people are giving as much weight to opinions and wishful thinking as they do to facts and analysis. I believe this explains how thousands and perhaps millions of our citizens can support the outgoing president’s claims that he won the election in spite of facts and analysis to the contrary.

I am not a young person and have experienced several presidents come and go in my lifetime. This is the first time I am witnessing a refusal by the losing candidate to accept reality. I am shocked by those who support his refusal and have blocked the transition from one president to the next. This is what darkness looks like, when what is true is denied.

This feels dangerous to me as we continue to confront a surging pandemic and economic crisis. I want our next president and his administration to be prepared to get to work on day one with all the information they need to be successful. Transitions in the past have honored the custom of preparing the next administration for their work and I guess I took it for granted that this custom would be honored this time, too.

What came to mind as I reflected on this news were the many prophets in Hebrew scriptures who would have appreciated the term “Truth Decay.” I think especially of the prophet Jeremiah. He began by supporting the reforms of King Josiah with hope for the nation of Israel, but at this king’s death the next king began to undo all the reforms. So, Jeremiah ended up being a prophet to a nation in crisis. Time and again he tried to warn both king and people of coming disaster if they kept doing things in the same way, but there were so-called prophets on the other side feeding the people conspiracy theories about Jeremiah and wishful thinking about the way things were. We know the result — disaster.

In Christian Churches we are getting ready for the season of Advent. People are planning their Advent wreaths with four or five candles which they will light each week during the season. During Advent we experience the darkest time of the year. Light takes on greater meaning in the dark.

Light has a purpose and works as a great metaphor. It allows as to see what is there and it let’s us see the path to follow. In other words, we need the light of truth in order to see what needs to be done. We cannot afford the luxury of wishful thinking or the confusion of conspiracy theories. We need facts and the clear analysis of those facts.

I believe that God still sends us prophets who tell us the truth and warn us of coming problems and difficulties. We just don’t call them prophets these days, but we need to listen. We need the light of truth.

My beloved ones, treasure the light of truth.

Bishop Kedda

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