Truth, Idols, and the 9th and 1st Commandments

I first read All That's Good by Hannah Anderson last fall, and I'm rereading it with a group of women from church.

If we ignore truth and the virtues of integrity and honesty, we will be drawn to something else. Hannah writes, “we will find consensus through shared emotional or subjective reality. We will retreat into tribes that validate our own experience and form communities around those biases and tendencies. And when this tribal or party identity is threatened, we will respond, not from  carefully considered decisions made for the common good, but from a place of insecurity.”

 

“While truth is based on facts, it involves more than facts and does not end with them… This is why pure rationalism and scientism cannot lead us to truth; such approaches cannot tell us how to interpret, arrange, and discern the meaning of what we see, touch, feel, taste, and hear. Nor can they ensure that we will be ethical in the process. Pursuing truth requires more than knowing where the facts lead. It requires the honesty to actually follow them,regardless of who they implicate.” (pg. 74, my italics)

I first read All That’s Good by Hannah Anderson last fall, and I’m rereading it with a group of women from church. We are now on Chapter 4, which is one of the best chapters of the book in my opinion, because Hannah addresses an area that I am deeply concerned about.

I was in a situation many years ago where the truth did not lead to transparency but a cover up of the facts and a minimization of sin. Even though I was not the target, I was badly burned and felt betrayed. This experience has made me extra sensitive to any hint of cover-up and wagon-circling at the expense of the truth. It would seem obvious that as Christians, we should not lie. We should not cover up the sins of institutions or powerful people even though they may be implicated. Integrity and ethics should matter.

But if we ignore truth and the virtues of integrity and honesty, we will be drawn to something else. Hannah writes, “we will find consensus through shared emotional or subjective reality. We will retreat into tribes that validate our own experience and form communities around those biases and tendencies. And when this tribal or party identity is threatened, we will respond, not from  carefully considered decisions made for the common good, but from a place of insecurity.” (pg. 70, my italics)

And haven’t we seen this?

We express outrage about the Roman Catholic child abuse scandals, Larry Nassar, and Jerry Sandusky, yet how many are willing to address the child abuse cover-ups in Evangelical or reformed circles? Don’t believe me?  Read what happened to Rachael Denhollander and her response to continued pushback. How often do we throw the book at a politician on the opposite political aisle and yet self-justify the comparable behavior of someone in our camp? Our history and heroes, past and present, become untouchable and God forbid that anyone critique them or expose any fallibility. This is also incredibly ironic coming from Christians who believe every person is a sinner in need of a Savior, and for the reformed who affirm the doctrine of total depravity.

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