Posted by: owizblog | June 12, 2013

Thought For The Day, BBC Radio Scotland 12/06/13 Speaking Truth To Power

 “The truth shall make you free…” says Jesus, in John’s Gospel.  There’s a deep connection between freedom and truth, but it’s a complicated one.

 

Former CIA operative Edward Snowden’s leaking of the immense scale of American phone and internet surveillance, was apparently meant to spark debate over how to balance personal privacy with state security. “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things…” says Snowden, “…a world where everything I do and say is recorded” Was that his call to make? There are big questions here.

 

Counter-terrorism is of course the principal justification for what opponents will recoil from as “snooping”. Some people will say “Fair enough! If you aren’t a terrorist, aren’t doing anything wrong, what do you have to be afraid of?” Others, if knowledge is power, will be appalled that a government would – and can – amass so much of both over its citizens.

 

You may agree or disagree about the rightness of his actions, but part of the point of what Snowden did seems to be the conviction that, whatever we feel about these things, we need to know.

 

So “whistle-blowing” raises another, even deeper issue. Do we want to be told difficult truths?

 

Or are we content with not knowing? Do we believe that not-knowing absolves us? Or, far worse, do we slip into the assumption that we know all we need to, thatanything done in our name is right, and that’s all the truth anyone needs to know? Do we equate right and truth, and assume that we possess both, because we’re us?

 

Religious people have far too often been guilty of behaving as though they possessedthe truth. And we’re not alone! Yet “The Spirit shall lead you into all truth,” said Jesus. Jesus challenges us to behave, not as the proud, arrogant possessors of the truth, but as people the truth makes demands of. 

 

The truth isn’t where we are. It’s where we should be going. It isn’t what we have, it’s what we should be seeking, and every indication that what we have isn’t the truth should disquiet us deeply.


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