The truth sure takes a beating these days, doesn’t it? Nothing serves to remind us of this fact quite like a political campaign. Night after night I watch the news and marvel at the creativity of people who can take any fact and twist it around to serve their purposes. Granted, sometimes their spin is pathetically lame, but you have to give them an A for effort. That they can say such ridiculous things with a straight face is impressive.
What troubles me more than the spinmeisters is the number of people who gobble up whatever they’re told without thinking it through. If it fits with their preconceived notions, if it allows them to stay in their comfort zone, if it tugs at their heartstrings, and yes, if it “digs” their opponent, they have all the reasons they need to buy in.
Paul was talking about such people when he wrote, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
I think it’s time we faced up to a fact that isn’t often stated: The truth crisis in this country isn’t just the fault of the talkers, it’s equally the fault of the listeners. In fact, it may be more the fault of the listeners than the talkers.
Because listeners empower talkers. For example, as long as a media voice has good ratings, he’ll stay on the air. As long as a politician gets enough votes, he’ll stay in office. As long as a preacher, no matter how nutty he is, has a big attendance, he’ll be a fixture in the pulpit.
It’s high time those of us on the receiving end of all this hot air quit bellyaching about all the truth-murderers in our culture and start realizing how much power we wield. Collectively, our on/off switches and votes could serve as a gigantic mute button.
But it all starts with thinking about what we’re hearing.
For further reflection read John 8:31-32 Ephesians 4:14-15.