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The post-truth era

For Christians who believe in the truth and that, ultimately, God is the truth, this post-truth era poses threats and challenges. More formation and critical observation are called upon so as to stand by the concept of truth no matter what.

Post-truth was chosen by Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year for 2016. The term appeared in the context of Brexit in the U.K. and of the American presidential elections.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, post-truth is a term where “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

The editors of the Dictionaries explained that the word post-truth emerged in the everyday language with the “rise of the social media as a source of information and the growing mistrust in relation to facts presented by the Establishment.” Post refers to the rejection or irrelevance of a concept, in this case, truth, clarified the editors.

The Brexit and the Trump campaigns were filled with innumerous affirmations that nearly everybody knew were not true, but still allowed the candidates to win.

In the Philippines, a similar situation happened. The candidate Rodrigo Duterte won the presidential race last year on the promise that his administration would rid the country of the drug menace in six months. It became a rather unrealistic promise that President Duterte admitted by first asking for one more year after having failed the six months target, and now, he says that his war on drugs will go on until the end of his six-year mandate.

What is at stake here is not so much the fact that politicians do lie in order to win votes and do not fulfill their promises. There is something more serious that lies at the bottom of it all: a growing indifference towards the truth that becomes undervalued.

The recent issue of 'fake news’ in the media illustrates this phenomenon. It has such a disruptive power that governments fear it might influence the course of upcoming elections in various countries. It is a new global trend that demands from us all discernment and precaution. Traditional media outlets have vowed to upgrade their technical capabilities in order to curtail the nasty effects of ‘fake news.’

For Christians who believe in universal values based on the truth and that, ultimately, God is the truth, this post-truth era poses threats and challenges. More formation and critical observation are called upon from individuals and communities to stand by the concept of truth no matter what. We know too well the distinction between truth and lie; we should abide by the former and reject the latter.


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