‘Have you heard that so-and-so is having an affair with so-and-so?’ What makes people present as fact what is at best a mere suspicion?
Pope Benedict, in a statement for World Communication Day which we celebrated in this country on 25th September, welcomed social media like cell-phones, Internet and e-mail, Facebook, Twitter etc. but warned that they can be abused.
The technical brilliance of these and other new communication gadgets means nothing it they are merely used to spread more unfounded rumours, mere hearsay and outright lies.
Every day people are intimidated by the ruling party. At the same time party leaders condemn violence and call for peace. Who do they take us for?
Words, words, words – and no truth. Words create impressions and illusions. So often they do not convey facts, do not confront with reality.
Words are to ensure loyalty, gain support, perpetuate hold on power. Power based on falsehood and fallacy.
Philosophers whose exclusive interest is truth are called crazy or criminal. Socrates, the wise man of Greece, who was forever looking for basic causes and the reason of our being was laughed at by his wife, despised by the rabble and sentenced to drink deadly poison as a seducer of youth by a court of law.
Pontius Pilate asked “What is truth?” For a man of power like him it meant nothing. Power and truth do not go together. Speaking truth to power is dangerous.
Which is why kingdoms, empires, autocratic regimes, social systems built on force not on consent, cannot last: built on falsehood, they eventually collide with reality and collapse.
We can only build a lasting social order if it is based on honesty and truthfulness. Our leaders claimed to have fought for freedom, and yet they have silenced us and filled us with fear and terror. They have not liberated us, but just put us in a different kind of prison.
They claimed they have given the land back to the people, but most they grabbed themselves, and the displaced farm workers are still as miserable as ever.
Now they say they empower the poor, but very likely there will be even fewer work places than in the past.
You can tell lies and fool yourselves for just that long; eventually reality hits back and brings about the great awakening.
People have become cynical, “What truth? There is no truth. There are merely opinions.” In that case there is no falsehood either, and you are at the mercy of the powerful, and completely defenceless.
Only if there is truth can our tormentors be held accountable.
People of faith believe that there is truth and that truth will prevail. There will be a judgment, and light will be thrown upon the darkness of falsehood and deceit.
“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all” (1. John 1: 5).
Our country needs nothing more urgently than that we tell the truth. We are certain that truth will have its day. – In Touch Jesuit CommunicationsPost published in: Faith