In this post I dive into the centre of a theological issue relating to truth (or Truth, if the Good Book is factual). I share the thinking of a truthseeker of more than fifty years when it comes to standing for it, often against the flow. Enjoy
I’ve started and stopped this book for years because it’s one of the most important I’ve written. How do you take 50 years of asking questions and and squash it down into a mere few hundred pages? How do you select from almost 2 million words of blogging over decades and capture it into something that is coherent and relevant?
So I write, and rewrite and think!
Prompted to speak about a recent public lynching of a fellow Christian who paid a high monetary price for speaking his opinions on homosexuality, I’m sharing my thoughts on speaking up – against the tide of public opinion.
Taking on the Prime Minister of Samoa like I did caused me to lose all – literally. Evicted by the cowardly politician who has been top dog in a well-recognised corrupt nation – it was a painful but inevitable experience. You cannot take on authority at their own game and expect to win.
But win indeed you can with asymmetric warfare. If the revolutionary act of speaking truth in a sea of BS brings one thing to the revolutionary, it is that the little people appreciate your heroism. In a commercial sense I could have (and still could) made a killing off the exposure of Corruption in Samoa. The respect of the people (mainly ex-pat Samoans) who call me “a national treasure” and suchlike, and who privately (under the political radar) encourage me to “never give up nor give in” is the gain from this warfare with TPTB.
An intelligent, capable man like me who suffered with huge self-esteem issues for decades lives on that “food”. I can make and have made money in my sleep – so I choose a different return . . . respect.
The inevitable consequences of standing for truth is that we will suffer. How we turn that suffering into value is a multi-faceted challenge that all truthseekers must deal with. Actually truth-speakers have the greater challenge here, for most truthseekers remain silent about their findings. I’ll use two examples of this before turning to the pinnacle of truth-speaking, that of Christ at His trial – Israel Folau and the issue of the Holocaust.
A talented Australian rugby player of Tongan extraction, Israel gained notoriety in Australasia in 2018 with his vocal condemnation of homosexuality due to his biblical beliefs. He was sacked in a public uproar at the time and remained defiant. Labelling occurred along the lines of “homophobe” and opinions were divided on different aspects of his conduct – the right to free speech; religious rights and employment conditions. He had conducted a “high level breach” of his employer’s inclusiveness policy.
Whether homosexuality is accursed according to his belief systems or not; whether he conducted himself wisely, with pure motives, or had the legal right to say what he said and do what he did is not the point here. For the moment, I note that the price Israel paid was high – he is no longer able to play rugby as a result – he was a star and clearly gifted. This was his career and therefore he has lost his regular income streams. He has also p*ssed off a lot of people with his divisive attitude, many who would have supported him in his career. It gets worse though because he has also p*ssed off those in the Christian community with his divisive conduct, stretching those who would have preferred not to be seen as so fundamental and confrontational as he was.
Strategically, Israel gifted the homosexual lobby with material from which they could launch attacks on ALL Christians, something that they are not averse to doing for political gain. In some ways Israel secured an ‘own goal’ yet the events clearly show the huge cost to speaking up for something that is not Politically Correct. “Good on ‘im for that”, I say!
I do not know Mr Folau personally but I do concur with his sentiments that the spirit behind homosexuality is not that of the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen the human misery and cost that result from something the bible warns against – I abhor the rampant sexual deviancy* that is a major aspect of the homosexual temptation, but the wisdom of shouting out your condemnation like Israel did, I tend to doubt.
The act of standing and speaking against the tide brought Israel condemnation from many, support from a few and concern from many, and he may have been well-meaning. He may have been acting in obedience, but was more likely thinking that he was doing a good thing. It is hard to speak like this when the tide is coming in – and the tide of accepting homosexuality as normal is definitely on the rise. Israel will be working through the consequences of speaking up like he did over the next few years. “Years” here, is no exaggeration.
Just like the social acceptance of homosexuality has been engineered, the acceptance of the Holocaust story has too been engineered from powerful vested interests. You can see this social engineering throughout the history of mankind when you take the conspiratorial stance that Christianity [should] bring[s].
According to the Christian worldview, the world is subject to a cosmic conspiracy whereby God created good, and mankind conspired to go our own way. We naturally expect things to be in a state of decay and disorder and obedience and wisdom comin from a concerted effort to return to His ways. Seeing people take advantage of others is normal in a fallen world.
For those not up with the play, the essence of the Holocaust story is that Hitler ordered the extermination of Six Million Jews which was affected through gassing in Concentration Camps in World War 2. Revisionists from the outset, but more particularly in the last 20 years or so have asked simple questions that have shown this story up. Arabs and those outside of the gullible Western world have always scoffed at the spin. After having researched the subject extensively over many years my take is that there is no credible evidence for the three core planks of the mainstream story – Hitler ordered evacuation, the Six Million figure is a marketing meme, and gas killing is technically impossible. There’s truckloads more but I’m not worried about what did or didn’t happen almost a century ago to people I don’t know in a country that I’ve never been to.
What is important though is the cost to speaking it like it is. The labelling that occurs when contesting something akin to a sacred cow in this case is hugely effective at limiting speech. The thought of being called anti-Semitic, or Holocaust Denier can be hugely scary to all but the hardened truth-seeker. Fortunately as with most conspiracies the people are now waking to the reality that Santa, the Tooth Fairy are not the only fabrications fed to us.
As I lead people to do their own research; to ask intelligent, pertinent and simple questions; and to apply logic, I see the shock, sure, as they realise that their reality is distorted, but I also see the increasing responsibility that they take for engaging with truth. I watch as people who, maybe all their lives have believed (for example) “the big bad Germans who gassed Six Million innocent Jews” gradually became simply another victim of evil, suckered into hatred through the deception of political leaders who used the power they had been gifted.
As I see it, this willingness to engage brain and to apply logic onto fact seems to be less of a problem nowadays than the generations who lived immediately following WW2. It may take a generation or two and a major global crisis to outwork, but I definitely see this as a source of hope.
The teachings of Christ have widespread appeal. Leave off the first of the commandments and the Ten Commandments too have global acceptance. It’s the first one that trips up many, and the Resurrection that cause people the real difficulty.
The Lord God gave guidance that His was was the only way. He was to come first – no idols, thank you! He spoke the truth, period. It was His way or disaster. We don’t like this part because it always trips us up. We want to do things OUR way, and when that is contrary to His, we err.
Jesus claimed that He was the Way the Truth and the Life. Most of us can easily accept that He was a good man; even a great man; even a prophet; even the son of God we could live with . . . except He also snuck in a little exclusivity there. The phrase, “No one comes to the Father but by Me!” grates. It hits at our independence. Nine Commandments – no problem. Be good and do unto others and so on – sure! Exclusivity? Nope! It really gets up our goat, doesn’t it?
This is pride. Ours. So let’s see what Jesus actually said and did at His trial, when the political power of the day challenged Him in regards to Truth. I take this account from John, the Disciple who was the closest to the Master. The context is that Jesus is facing the ‘big-shot’ political leader as a result of the religious leaders and their hatred of what Jesus said and how He conducted Himself. It’s an incredible exchange and shows all parties up really well for who they are:
Jesus Before PilateJohn 18:37,38
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
So here Jesus pours contempt upon political leadership. He states clearly that he’s only interested in the truth. Little wonder that politicians are purveyors of evil; and that those who treasure Truth, those who love and care for it, are hunted and hated!
The last thought for today is that Jesus’ claim that He lived on “food” that others around Him didn’t know of nor understand makes sense to those of us who live for something other than money or power – be it social acceptance, or knowledge of divine approval, or manna from heaven, matters not. Turning from the usual temptations of money and power gives us an appreciation for other means of sustenance.
Chin up and get on with living today. Again, thank you for swinging by.
* The words of Michael Hoffman who describes homosexuality as ‘playing’ in or with the “human sewer pipe” ring in my ears.