All Truth Is Now Opinion

Jim Denison | Denison Forum | Updated: Mar 25, 2024
All Truth Is Now Opinion

All Truth Is Now Opinion

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Princess Kate Middleton’s video announcement that she is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer shocked the world. Global leaders immediately joined the royal family in expressing their support for her. A spokesman later said that she and her husband, Prince William, are “extremely moved by the public’s warmth and support” following her announcement.

But as Helen Lewis noted in the Atlantic, the princess was “bullied into this statement, because the alternative—a wildfire of gossip and conspiracy theories—was worse.” Lewis pointed to the “massive online guessing game” about the reasons Kate was less visible following her abdominal surgery in January. Some even mocked the royal family and questioned Kate’s marriage.

The bottom line is that many in the press and on social media did not trust what Kensington Palace told the world and felt free to tell her story as it suited them.

The other headline news over the weekend was the horrific shooting at a Moscow concert venue that left at least 137 people dead, including three children. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. US officials confirmed the claim shortly afterward and also reported that they passed secret warnings to Russia earlier this month of a terrorist plot to target large crowds.

However, Vladimir Putin described these warnings as “provocative” statements that resemble “outright blackmail and an intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.” Clearly, he did not trust the motives by which America shared its intelligence with his government. Now his nation is mourning its deadliest terrorist attack in more than two decades.

“Opinion is a substitute for what is real”

Cultural commentator Jonah Goldberg wrote recently that we now live in a “philodoxical” rather than a “philosophical” age. “Philodoxy” means “love of opinion,” while “philosophy” means “love of wisdom.”

According to Goldberg, “We live in a moment where reality is a matter of opinion, where the ‘ought’ crowds out the ‘is,’ and where opinion is a substitute for what is real.” He warns that this “will only get worse as more and more of life moves to screens, where images and ideas can be tailored to what we want to see and hear.”

This should not surprise us in a postmodern culture that has jettisoned objective truth and morality. Since wisdom is the application of truth to life, if we no longer believe in objective truth, we can no longer have wisdom.

All truth is now opinion, whether the issue is Kate Middleton’s health or jihadist terrorism.

“Apart from me you can do nothing”

You and I must beware the similar temptation to substitute our preferences for God’s commands. Scripture is clear: “The fear of the Lᴏʀᴅ is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 110:10). To “fear” God is to revere and serve him in recognition of his omnipotence and holiness. Such a commitment is foundational to the wisdom by which we live in ways God is able to bless.

Here’s the point:

We “fear” God to the degree that we trust him more than we trust ourselves.

When God’s word calls us to “trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), it forces us to choose between divine wisdom and human finitude. Satan tempts us to choose the latter because he knows the truth of Jesus’ warning: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

If an enemy can destroy our supply lines and weaponry resources, before long he can defeat our troops. If you pull the plug, my electric drill runs down. If you foul the gas reserves, our cars stop working. This is the most strategic way Satan can defeat the work of God—by luring us into self-dependence that chooses our will over God’s word.

“Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches”

Holy Week is Exhibit A of this strategy at work.

On Palm Sunday, the crowds cheered Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem in the belief that he would be the messiah who would overthrow the hated Romans and reestablish their nation (cf. Acts 1:6). By Friday, when it became clear that he would not do their bidding, their cheers turned to jeers as they condemned him to crucifixion.

We are called today to a different response, one that submits our will to our Father’s word and our lives to his glory. When we choose to obey God even when we don’t want to, we show that he is truly our King. When we choose our will over his, we show that we are on the throne of our hearts.

St. Andrew of Crete (AD 650–740) wrote:

Let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him.

Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away . . . and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.”

What “garments” will you “spread before him” today?

Image credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/AndreyPopov

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

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All Truth Is Now Opinion