"Just because someone says something, doesn't make it true."
Simple enough, right? "Just because someone says something, doesn't make it true." As I read through the post-election articles, reflections, and musings, I can't help but be reminded of this statement: "Just because someone says something doesn't make it true." Just because we are told something about a political candidate, doesn't make it true. Do some fact checking. Do some research. Learn. Read. Listen. Check out FactCheck.org to see what is truth, half-truth, and flat out bull. It's sad that fact checking sites need to exist, but I wonder, how many people even care? I believe we would believe almost anything if the right person says it. Why? Fear.
There was a lot of fear surrounding this election - on both sides of the political aisle. Fear can be an awful motivator. Fear often leads to vilification and demonizing of the other, the unknown, or the stranger. Fear can lead us to easily identify and exaggerate the negative traits of those with whom we disagree. Fear causes us to label, judge, and dehumanize the other. Look at the campaign. Look at the ugliness. Look at how quick people are to point fingers, make rash statements and judgments based not on truth, but on fear. We are willing to stoop pretty low, even us Christians, when we are afraid.
Is there a way forward in our civil discourse? Is there a way forward in the church as we are forced to tackle difficult social issues such as same sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, abortion, war, and capital punishment? Will we listen to each other and take each other seriously, even our enemies? Will we be informed not by our favorite brand of media or culture warriors, but by God's Word, stories from real people, historical analysis, and evidence?
I spoke in my last post about the postings on Facebook and Twitter following the election results. It was clear to me that many of these posts were simply words regurgitated from the various news outlets and stump speeches of candidates. In some of these posts a dialogue would appear in the comments section. As I creeped on these conversations, I began to wonder, what is the truth, and is there hope that it will emerge in a Facebook comment section? Will people really listen to each other through Facebook? Has anyone EVER changed his/her mind based on Facebook comments alone? What if those conversations happened over a cup of coffee? What if those conversations could include a smattering of understanding, a hint of serious reflection, and HUGE doses of HUMILITY? Would our current civil discourse look any different if we weren't so concerned about winning as we were about loving our neighbor as ourself?
Remember, "Just because someone says something, doesn't make it true."