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.
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