Living in the Age of Deception: What’s the Answer?
“Oh! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott.
There is an interesting characteristic of human nature that I believe we would agree is universally supported—literally everyone abhors being lied to! I think our detestation of being lied to resides in our perception of being made to feel foolish for having accepted a lie. It is fundamentally an attack on our sense of self-worth. In choosing to proffer lies, one demonstrates a complete lack of respect for those being lied to. Lying is simply a form of holding others in utter disregard and contempt. Truth telling communicates just the opposite, in essence conveying to others that you honor them as persons of substance and worth.
Honesty, integrity, above the board dealings and transparency were once considered traits worthy of human dignity. There was a time when one’s word was considered his bond. A handshake was tantamount to a contract. A person’s trustworthiness was something to be jealously guarded if not to be held sacrosanct even above most other personal traits. Probably no other personal characteristic held the potential to fully define an individual like honesty. The saying, “Honesty is the best policy,” may be the most well-known maxim by children for generations. Its origin is at least as old as Aesop where it was found in his fable, Mercury and the Woodcutter. George Washington quoted it in his farewell address thusly: “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.”
Whatever happened to an honored and accepted policy whose acceptance for many of us became no less than a meme? How did we manage to squander a maxim so lofty its acceptance ranged from personal relationships to everyday business and commerce to international dealings and agreements? Can there be any doubt remaining that we as a culture have in essence shifted—or precipitously fallen—from honesty as the best policy to deception as the preferred practice? I want to focus more on our response to this dilemma than on its raison d’etre. Suffice it to posit here that when we as a nation rejected God from our national life and existence, we concomitantly rejected truth. Consider the following passages:
…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 Jn 1:5 KJV).
And ye shall know the truth, the truth shall make you free (Jn 8:32 KJV).
Behold, you desire truth in the innermost being… (Ps 51:6 NASB).
…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him who is the head—Christ…(Eph 4:15 NKJV).
Unquestionably, we as a people have corporately called down the horror of deception upon ourselves as we have systematically and consistently removed God’s presence and influence from our national life. Like the citizens in Jesus’ parable, we have adamantly declared “we will not have this man to reign over us.” Like Israel of old desiring to be like the other nations, we have rejected God’s righteous theocracy and the corruption of man’s oligarchy. Consequently we are evidencing the ravages of deception insinuating itself into the warp and woof of our temporal and spiritual life.
One of the most disconcerting things I observe today is the self-inflicted ignorance practiced by so many. Although so much of what transpires nationally and internationally in our daily lives is underreported, misreported or simply ignored by mainstream media (MSM), thanks to the Internet we still have the means to search out facts and truth from around the globe. It is most troubling that the vast majority seem content to quiescently accept the typical fake, phony and false offerings of MSM. It should be disturbing—if not outright alarming—to all when out of the massive content of reportable news items the handful of national news outlets amazingly end up reporting on the very same stories. When we understand that all mainline news outlets in this country are owned and operated by just six conglomerates, maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising.
It doesn’t take much research to discover two salient facts regarding the MSM “reporting.” The first fact is that true investigative journalism is an absolutely lost art within the MSM. The days of the eager beaver reporter with a nose to smell out and investigate newsworthy stories are long gone. Today most local and national periodicals simply dress up what comes down from the top and pass it on to the gullible public consumer. This is sheer bastardization of authentic journalism. Reporting today is euphemistically used to describe what in reality is selectavizing, propagandizing and editorializing. You are in essence being exposed to just the stories, viewpoints and agendas the news monarchs desire to feed you.
The second fact regarding what passes as reporting today has to do with the role played by the MSM. From its genesis, journalism served as a worthy watchdog over the breadth and depth of government agencies and offices. It was in a sense almost like a fourth branch of government that served to call the other branches into accountability. Unfortunately, the watchdog has gradually morphed into a governmental lapdog basically serving as its shill. Even a modicum of research will verify the extent to which news outlets carry the administration’s water, consistently setting forth the propaganda and outright lies propagated by the various government entities reaching all the way to the top.
Allow me to offer a brief test designed to help categorize one’s degree of entrapment in this lurid game of deception:
- Do you believe climate change is the number one security threat to America?
- Do you believe the US economy is on a sure footing and recovering?
- Do you believe America has legitimate justification for its economic and/or military assaults in places such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc.?
- Do you agree with the increasing and invasive spying of the US government on its own citizens in the name of national security?
- Do you believe the shifting of American jobs and industry out of the country (NAFTA) was in the best interest of our nation?
- Do you support the open border polices adopted by this administration?
- Do you favor the government’s subsidizing of illegal immigrants at tax payer expense?
- Do you support the massive acquisition of public and private lands/properties being carried out by the federal government?
- Do you believe public education in America is successfully providing our children with a classical education leading them to think and reason for themselves?
- Do you believe geo-engineering—specifically chem-trailing (the spraying of chemicals such as aluminum, strontium and barium) into our atmosphere is responsible behavior by our government?
If you answered in the affirmative to most or all of these quarries, than you probably fall into that broad category of persons who have chosen to accept the MSM’s shilling propaganda leaving you at risk of being fatally deceived.
There is such an abysmal culture of deception prevailing in government today that telling lies has now become the rule rather than the exception. Unfortunately there are tremendous dangers and consequences for those living under this perpetual deception. Whereas there ought to be public shock and outrage in the face of this contemptuous behavior, there seems instead to be a passive acquiescence. Even worse, it results in a normalcy bias leaving the majority of Americans woefully uninformed and unprepared for the disruptions soon to come. Like the people of Pompeii who watched the erupting volcano for hours without taking action, millions of Americans are failing to respond to the impending disasters most assuredly on the horizon.
This insidious culture of deception extends far beyond the multitude of government offices, agencies and departments. It literally permeates almost every vestige of life. Maybe the most prominent fields are those of advertising and marketing. The whole psychology of advertising is designed to break down an individual’s sense of self-worth with the goal of convincing him that by purchasing some product a person will somehow feel better about himself. In addition to insidiously preying upon one’s often fragile sense of self-worth, marketers typically find ways to (mis)represent products in appealing and promising ways that the consumer seldom realizes in the ultimate purchase.
A typical example would be in the fast food industry. Has it ever bothered you that the food you are served seldom if ever fully resembles the graphics displayed on the signs? Why is it that cereal boxes are one third to one half larger in size than the contents they hold would require? Why is it that full disclosure regarding products or services are presented in miniscule print that discourages consumers from reading it? One of the most recent and most obnoxious techniques in radio advertising is having a person talk in such rapid, machinegun fashion that it is literally impossible to distinguish what is being said. Some might argue that this technique is simply to conserve radio time. Personally I believe it is simply radio’s equivalent to the fine print. Bottom line, they don’t want you to understand something that they are bound by law to disclose.
There are a couple of inane idioms in our culture that go something like this: “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” and “Ignorance is bliss.” I can only surmise that those who embrace this kind of thinking are suffering from some degree of denial and escapism. To live under any kind of deception is to live in some kind of bondage. Jesus’ antidote for this kind of behavior was stated thusly:
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (Jn 8:32 KJV).
Scripture is clear and instructive regarding God’s thoughts about “freedom.” It has always been true that God’s heart is that man live in absolute freedom. Jesus came preaching deliverance for captives. The only slavery or bondage acceptable—metaphorically speaking—is the voluntary bond servanthood of those completely yielding to Christ. It is the context of freedom that brings the greatest authenticity and transforming power to one’s faithful responses to life’s circumstances and challenges.
Given the enormity of deception permeating our culture today, I would like to offer some practical suggestions for countering its affects in our personal lives. Fulfilling the biblical mandates to become a spiritual being is paramount. So much of what passes for Christianity these days is woefully short of what the Bible describes in no uncertain terms. Followers of Christ must literally live as citizens of the Kingdom of God eschewing the values and goals of this world. We cannot afford to treat our faith as some ancillary religious add-on to what amounts to a temporally focused life. Everything of and about this present life must be consciously subsumed under the meta-narrative of God. God’s eternal and ultimate intention for our lives—our full completion in Christ—must be our overarching focus and pursuit.
In taking practical steps toward shedding the pernicious deception to which we are constantly exposed, we must become serious students of the Word of God. Jesus’ teaching was sure, “continuing” in the Word is the mark of a true disciple and the fruit of doing so is coming into liberating truth. The Greek rendering of the word “continue” carries the sense of residing, of not departing or leaving but continuing to be present. This obviously suggests something far more extensive than a quick morning devotional or a casual reading of the Bible. This means digging into the Word in a manner that allows the Holy Spirit to make it existential and applicable in our everyday lives. Becoming familiar with and using good biblical tools such as Bible dictionaries, concordances and Greek and Hebrew lexicons is imperative to unpacking the deeper truths of God’s word.
Choose to live authentically. Be wood instead of plastic. Be real. So much of what influences our daily lives calls us more and more into phoniness and pretension. Satan’s design is to reproduce or clone myriad persons void of individuality and decisiveness who simply blend into the mob. Living authentically means allowing God to refine, define and distinguish one as an individual who responsibly thinks for himself. This entails becoming a person whose sense of worth and value is derived exclusively from Christ. Living authentically means refusing to allow the world to squeeze one into its mold.
Escaping the morass of deception in which we live means taking personal responsibility for informing one’s self by making concerted efforts to glean authentic news rather than accepting by default the contrived servings of propaganda, misinformation and prevarications of the MSM. By prayerfully employing wisdom and discernment, it is possible by researching over the Internet to ferret out truth and facts with respect to the significant events of the day. Part of discovering what resources one can trust and follow is in discerning the character and motives of the persons propagating the material you’re digesting. Personally, I would rather err on the side of mild paranoia than ingest someone’s offerings of false or misleading data.
We are living in dangerous times wherein knowing truth and living righteously could be the definitive difference between becoming a victim of untoward circumstances or being an over-comer who is positioned to help lead others into freedom and victory. The choice is ours.
Do your own research…