A bedrock principle of Natural Law (the Law upon which Western Civilization rests) is the primacy of truth. Without a desire for, and appreciation of, truth, society cannot sustain itself. Lies, deceit, duplicity, etc., are more than moral evils; they are the bane of freedom and liberty. Take away truth, and one is left without honor, justice, or decency. Truth is the cement that holds the bricks and stones of a sane and civilized society together. Remove the former and the latter will crumble.
Truth also demands courage and honesty, because sometimes it can be very painful to look at! It takes an honest man to desire truth, as truth will often reveal the character flaws in his own soul. It also takes courage to appreciate truth, as truth will often demand that one change his own opinion or conduct. Unfortunately, it does appear that the desire for truth has been replaced with a desire for deceit.
Years ago, a great, old preacher-warrior told my former church congregation, "People today love being lied to." How right he was! For the most part, even professing Christian people today love being lied to. It would seem that many people find deceit easier to digest than truth. Maybe it's because these people lack the aforementioned virtues of honesty and courage.
Truth demands the virtue of honesty, because honesty requires that information be objectively analyzed and studied; it requires that personal prejudices and proclivities be set aside; it requires that humility replace pride, which allows one's opinions and conduct to change in the face of truth.
Truth also demands courage, as courage is the active response to honesty. To know what is right to do is great (many people do not even know this much), but to act upon what one knows to be right is even greater–and also harder! Courage gives men the fortitude and conviction to suffer personal loss in order to be faithful to their own honesty. Courage places more value on honesty and truth than on personal prosperity or aggrandizement. Courage propelled Daniel into the lion's den; it drove Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the burning fiery furnace; it placed a youthful David onto the battlefield alone against a fierce and ferocious adversary; it gathered Pastor Jonas Clark's congregants (mostly farmers and merchants) onto Lexington Green to face Britain's highly trained, professional soldiers.
So, where are the virtues of honesty and courage in the desire for truth today? Threaten the average pastor and church leader with some obscure IRS tax code and they will quickly turn their backs upon virtually every principle of truth and honor that they once professed to believe. The mere threat of potential financial loss sends men (excuse me, males) scurrying for cover.
In this regard, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson created the heinous 501(c)3 IRS tax-exempt status for churches, he very cleverly (with assistance from Hades, I might add) planted the seeds that would grow up to intimidate the vast majority of America's pastors and church leaders into becoming silent slaves of the state. In fact, if one has an opportunity to ever bore deeply into the matter, he or she will discover that most pastors and church leaders today do not even regard the Church as the institution of the living God, bound only to the laws and principles of God's Holy Word; they perceive it as a creature of the state, bound to the subjective machinations of IRS bureaucrats and their toadies in the law profession. And should a choice ever have to be made between the two, God, His Word, and His Church will be thrown under the bus in preference to the state-owned corporation. So much for truth–or honesty, or courage, for that matter.
The rejection of truth seems ubiquitous in America today. When did it start? Maybe when Abraham Lincoln turned the Constitution on its head and–at bayonet point–turned republicanism into nationalism; maybe when Woodrow Wilson rejected thousands of years of human history and turned America's sound money system over to the corrupt and illegitimate Federal Reserve; maybe when Wilson created the monstrous Internal Revenue Service; maybe when the 17th Amendment was adopted; maybe when the American media convinced people that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; maybe when the American people (including the vast majority of pastors and Christians) turned their backs (and their hearts) to the Branch Davidians, who were murdered by federal agents outside Waco, Texas; maybe when so-called "conservative" Senate Republicans deliberately chose to cover up President Bill Clinton's criminal conduct; maybe when the powers that be began demonizing anyone who dared to question the "official" story regarding the events on 9/11/01; maybe when a vast majority of Christians and conservatives blindly followed and actively supported the unconstitutional, un-American policies of President George W. Bush. They supported Bush when he threw off Western Civilization's time-tested Just War doctrine (and replaced it with an unconscionable Preemptive War policy), and, again, when he officially began turning America into a police state by creating the Department of Homeland Security, implementing the Military Commissions Act, introducing the Patriot Act, and dismantling Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus. Whenever it started, the sad reality is, America has largely become a nation of truth-rejecters.
There is a passage of Scripture that I simply must interject here: "Because they received not the love of the truth . . . God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." (II Thess. 2:10,11 KJV)
This is one of God's universal principles: when people deliberately reject truth, God will allow them to believe lies, which always leads to ultimate destruction. I submit that is exactly where America is today. As a nation, we have rejected truth, and God is giving us over to deceit and falsehood. And what is interesting to me is the way in which many unbelievers seem to have a thirst for truth that far surpasses that of many professing Christians. This leads to an amazing paradox.
Think of it: when God is moving within a nation with His plan of truth and justice (which He is always doing), then it stands to reason that the evil one is, likewise, resisting and countering God's plan through deceit and falsehood. This means that those unbelievers who seek truth are allying themselves with God (maybe even unwittingly), while those professing Christians who have rejected truth are allying themselves against God (again, maybe even unwittingly). Remember, God called the heathen king, Cyrus, "my shepherd." (Isa. 44:28) But one thing is constant: truth is like a magnet: one is always being pulled toward it or away from it, depending upon the polarity of one's heart and mind. People who embrace truth tend to embrace it further, while people who reject truth tend to be continually hardened against it.
Think of the conflicts of world and American history where brothers fought against brothers. Many of these brethren died at the hands of brethren fighting for truth, while other brethren died fighting against truth. And though men may be unable to discern the difference, God suffers from no such malady. He knows those who enable truth and those who disable it. And many of those today that are resisting and disabling truth call themselves Christians. There is another appropriate Scripture: "By their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:20 KJV)
Again, the desire for truth is a bedrock principle of a free and independent society. We must desire truth, first, in our own hearts. We must be willing to objectively analyze our motives and actions based upon this fundamental principle. How can so many people (including professing Christians) behave so dishonestly? How can they act so cowardly? How is it that truth is only precious when it doesn't cost us anything? How can people be so unconcerned about truth and so spiteful toward those who seek it? How can those who claim as their Savior the One is "the way, the truth, and the life" be so calloused against truth? How can those who claim to read the word of truth (the Bible) be so ignorant of truth?
Look around you: our society is breaking apart due to a lack of appreciation for truth. Small businesses are being put out of business due to a lack of truth. Families are being torn apart due to a lack of truth. Churches are filled with bitterness, carnality, envy, deceit, duplicity, false accusation, greed, and cowardice due to a lack of truth. Our political institutions mock the principles of decency and honor due to a lack of truth. The national media loves to distort truth; the federal judiciary loves to twist truth; and there is no such thing as truth to Big Business–only bottom line profits.