It’s official. Truth is dead. Facts are passé. The Oxford English Dictionary selected “post-truth” as its international word of the year for 2016. The dictionary defines the term as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Each year the OED chooses a word that captures the “ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year… and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.” “Post-truth” was selected as the editors noted a 2,000 percent increase in its usage over 2015… in articles and social media on both sides of the pond. I believe the editors nailed it. I believe it is where we are as a culture. It is almost universal. And it is where we are likely to remain for a long time.

More than a decade ago Steven Colbert popularized another word, “truthiness.” “Truthiness” is “believing something that feels true, even if it isn’t supported by fact.” Over the years everyone has become more and more comfortable with truthiness… “You have your truth. I have my truth. After all we are just making it up as we go along.” So we don’t fact check to see if the piece we shared on Facebook is actually true. We don’t question when our group is guilty of outright fabrication… let alone of mere spin. We consume whatever our media of choice has fabricated and then we swallow it all whole. And it doesn’t even have to be “truthy.” We are pretty comfortable with outright lies.

We have gone from watching reality TV to living in a reality TV show. We are living in a world so used to “spin” that we wonder if there is anything but spin. We expect to be lied to all the time; we are used to it, and we don’t particularly care.

That’s where we are as a culture. We are “post-truth.” However, eventually the truth will catch up with all of us. “Spin” isn’t something invented by modern media. It’s as old as the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2 God said to Adam, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden… except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” But, by the next chapter we enter a reality distortion field. The snake says, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit of any of the trees in the garden?”

A smooth move on the snake’s part! Of course God said no such thing. And the woman corrects the snake. But when he also promises that she won’t die, she swallows that lie along with the fruit. And she didn’t die right away. But die she did eventually. You can think we are post truth, but the truth always catches up with you.

Our culture may be post-truth. But, as Christians we can never be post truth. We believe that there is truth beyond mere human opinion. And our belief is anchored in God’s promises. We are called to cling to those promises with all that is in us.

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