"Post-Truth" and the Post-Modern
"Post-Truth" is Oxford's Word of the Year. Defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year.
How interesting. Steve Tesich, a playwright, wrote an essay for Nation magazine in 1992 and coined the term "post-truth" with this phrase:
"We, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world."
Do we care what the truth is anymore? Do we even know what the truth is anymore?
On both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat fake news articles have permeated Facebook. Whether you're conservative right or liberal left, you probably succumbed to reading, believing, and even sharing these fake news stories that have cropped up over the last few months, especially in this election cycle. I know this is true - many of my friends on Facebook are conservatives, and they have fallen victim to these fake news stories and misinformation.
We seem like, on the surface, that we don't care what the truth is anymore, so long as it goes along with what we believe. And that's wrong.
Because as Christians, we know what the truth is. The Bible word for this is discernment or to discern.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1.9-11)
This scripture flies in the face of post-truth. We should always be testing, always be seeking the truth in all things.
Closely related with post-truth is post-modern. This is a mindset that there is no absolute truth, and that whatever I feel is subjective to myself only. Both of these mindsets do not align with Scripture.
Our discernment in this age of misinformation has never been more important. In an era when we can instantly share a story or video, fake or true, with one tap of our finger and potentially send that message to thousands of people, what message are you sending?
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4.2-5)