The Assassination of Truth

“God is dead. God remains dead.
And we have killed him.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Whenever I think of this quote from our dead Mr. Nietzsche, I think of the typical Christian reaction, which is to claim that Nietzsche is wrong. Christians have a tendency to make Newsboys response: My God’s not dead; He’s surely alive. Christians typically say that you cannot kill God, that God is all-powerful, and that God is still there. However, one who has studied (or merely read) Nietzsche recognizes that that is not what he means. He does not mean to say that we took a knife to God and stabbed Him, or strangled Him and He is no longer alive. Rather, Friedrich was saying that we as a culture have rejected God and have banished Him from our minds. We no longer are a theistic world, but most people rely on reason and science. AS a result, we have killed him. Whether or not we agree that we should abandon faith for science does not matter. I would say that this statement is undeniable. When we look to the world around us, especially across the United Staes, we as a culture have completely abandoned God and any sense of the sacred.

We as humans are all made with a longing for God; it is a natural part of who we are. We have this yearning for the Eternal Being Who is God, and we yearn to be in relationship with Him. As St. Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” From our earliest years, we have a recognition of God, whether we realize it or not. However, in a culture that rejects God, when not nurtured, this yearning gets suppressed and lost deep within us. When a culture that has killed off God raises children, we get a generation (or more) of children who live in a perpetual state of darkness, unbeknownst to them. They have these desires, but they have no idea how to fill those gaping holes within them. I look out at my students each day and see how lost they are. While some are fortunate to have some previous exposure to God and the spiritual life, most are just as lost as anyone else.

Beyond our desire for God, we each have a desire for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. We all wish to know what is true, to experience what is beautiful, and to do what is good. We spend our entire lives seeking Perfect Truth, Perfect Beauty, and Perfect Goodness. In our everyday lives, we always encounter them imperfectly. So we seek to become ever more perfectly united to them.

Truth is a journey. We ask questions. We challenge what we hear. But we seek to acknowledge what we believe to be true. If we are to be good and honest seekers of truth, we will engage in debates and discussions, in order that we can understand all sides of an argument. How can we say that something is not true, if we do not understand what that states? Ideally, when we engage in arguments and discussions, we are seeking to learn and to encounter truth. But St. Paul wrote in the 1st century, describing what we often encounter today as “a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes” (1 Tim. 6:4). People have abandoned their search for truth. They care more about the arguments and disputes than the truth itself. As my pastor put it, they care more about who wins than who is right (or who possesses the truth). Whether or not people are right does not matter; what matters is that they win. I know that there have been situations when I have been engaging in discussions and I have realized that I recognize my error, but I do not wish to concede; I want to win the argument. So too today.

Thus, I move beyond what Nietzsche said. While we have killed God, we too have assassinated the truth. The truth is meaningless. Where recognized, it is only to prove a point; it is to be used for our own personal gain and victories. We swing the dead corpse that was once truth, as if they were nunchucks in the hands of 3 year old, taking out everything in his path. We need not worry about the consequences, because no one can make a judgment about my actions, because that which was once the scale for morality now lies dead and limp within our hands. In recent centuries, we have lauded the truth and actively sought it. When we found it, we embraced it. However, in embracing it, we inadvertently suffocated the truth and drained all life from it. There are some of us who seek to perform CPR and bring it back to life, but as long as people treat the truth like their own personal weapon, no life will return to it.

“Whoever is careless with the
truth in small matters cannot be
trusted with important matters.”

-Albert Einstein

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Duc In Altum

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