Philosopher and Statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is credited with saying, "Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it." Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results."
Dr. Erwin Lutzer describes the process well: "Throughout history, nations, like people have frequently fallen victims to lies — myths that become accepted as truth. How these myths begin makes little difference. But once they are disseminated they are difficult to combat because the populace seems eager to believe them. When uncontested, the myths take over.
"In George Orwell’s 1984 we have a compelling description of how the so-called Ministry of Truth used Newspeak to brainwash the people of Oceania. The party slogans were: WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Through crafty manipulation, these lies were eventually believed.
"The same technique is used in America today. Subtly, if not overtly, myths are sold to the American public. Daily through television, the newspapers, and the decisions of the courts, we are bombarded with a certain understanding of the way things ought to be. These assumptions are often presented uncritically, giving the impression that no thoughtful person would contest their validity. Yet they are as misleading as the slogans in Orwell’s book.
"(These) myths are subtly being forced upon us. If we accept them, we buy our ticket to repression and intolerance. And once the train is rolling we’ve got no choice as to where we are headed," (Lutzer, "Exploding the Myths That Could Destroy America").
As I put electronic pen to paper, I tremble as I see how each of the above quotes apply to America today. Last week I wrote of my concern of how undiscerning we seem to have become and how unthinking we are. Most today are living contradictions, and we don’t even realize it.
One quick example of this: the ruling philosophy of our day is postmodernism. "Postmodernism" sums up the way much of the world thinks today. It includes these viewpoints: There is no objective absolute truth. "Truth" is what you believe it to be. Something can be "true for you, but not true for me." Second, "Choice" is a big virtue in our consumer society. And choice extends to value systems, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. All are seen as equally valid. Choice of religious belief is by mix and match — whatever you feel comfortable with.
The postmodern concept of something can be true for you but not true for me has been championed in the past by talk show host Phil Donahue and current media personality Oprah Winfrey. While this "true for you but not for me" concept is embraced by millions, it is a philosophy that is untenable and contradictory. Watch those who promote this concept. They become absolutely incensed if you disagree with them and very indignant. What we are really saying by this walking philosophical contradiction is the only real truth is my truth. We are not really leaving any room for dissenting views. The further away from a Christian consensus that we move as a nation, the closer to repression we move. Bills are being considered even now in congress that assure the repression of anyone who does not take the politically correct view. Sadly, the recent Miss USA pageant demonstrated the utter intolerance of those who consider themselves tolerant. Living contradictions.
I have to close. There is hope. That hope can be realized if Christians will stop rolling over and playing dead, if we will stop burying our heads in the proverbial sand and stand up and be counted. Martin Niemoller wrote, "In (Nazi) Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up." We dare not make the same mistake.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. He can be heard on the radio on WMVV 90.7 (FM) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday nights.