“We have a president capable of standing in the rain and saying it was a sunny day,” John Oliver recently observed on Last Week Tonight, as he called Donald Trump a “pathological liar”. But what if he isn’t lying? What if his press secretary, Sean Spicer, is correct when saying that Trump really believes that what he says is true?
It should be clear by now that Trump doesn’t subscribe to a conventional notion of truth, related to verifiable facts and an independently existing reality. For Trump, truth is subordinate to attitude, an attitude that can be modified at will. This whimsical notion comes straight from Norman Vincent Peale, an American minister and motivational speaker who was close to the Trump family, even officiating at Trump’s first marriage, with Ivana. In his 1952 bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale presents a simple and “workable philosophy” to help people live more effective and successful lives. The technique is simple: “prayerise, visualise, actualise”. By using this technique you can overcome defeat and take control over the circumstances of your life
Fact check: what did Trump’s tweets about Obama’s ‘wiretaps’ mean?
Trump accuses former president of illegal wiretapping – claims that appear to be based on rumors circulating in rightwing media about a ‘silent coup’
On Saturday morning, without presenting evidence, Donald Trump
accused former president Barack Obama of illegal wiretapping.
Using Twitter, the president also mounted a defense of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions and his meetings with the Russian ambassador.
The six tweets appeared to originate with rumors circulating in rightwing media, especially talk radio and Breitbart News – recently run by Steve Bannon, now the president’s chief strategist – about a “silent coup” against Trump, by members of the Obama administration.
mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Trump’s remarkable press conference: world wrap with Matt Bevan
And watch this brief video. Take careful note of what is actually asked by the questioner, and then see whether the question and the tone in which it was asked has any relationship to the answer given and the attitude in which it was given.
Brief CNN Summary of the Press Conference.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
[Trump’s] supporters don’t care what he says, they don’t care whether he’s telling the truth or not… whatever he says it doesn’t matter. Whether he’s caught as a misogynist, whether he’s caught lying about a whole bunch of issues, they don’t care because they can see him as their saviour, so the facts aren’t really an issue…
… when you have a president that lies pathologically, that believes in alternative facts, it suggests to me there is a problem. I don’t know the extent of that problem.
To the “evangelicals” who voted for and continue to support Trump. Do YOU care about your favoured president’s attitude to truth?
Or do you also push aside the clear message of the following and what it says about the source of lies?
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Who is YOUR Father?
“Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies”
We’ve been calling this “post-truth politics” but I now worry that the phrase is far too gentle, suggesting society has simply reached some new phase in its development. It lets off the guilty too lightly. What Trump is doing is not “engaging in post-truth politics”. He’s lying.
Worse still, Trump and those like him not only lie: they imply that the truth doesn’t matter…
There are a lot of warnings in scripture about false teachers, false prophets and false Christ’s that would all be totally redundant if there wasn’t a need to alert people to the possibility of being turned from the truth to accept something contrary to the truth.
But not only are there warnings about deceivers, there are warnings about people who follow them. In Jeremiah a commentary on false prophets also turns an accusing finger upon those who welcome their messages: “My people love to have it so”; and Paul writes about people who collect teachers to appeal to their itching ears.
Without a “market” for deception, no deceiver would survive.
It seems today there is little difference between attitudes to theological ideas and the consumption of news. Does it really matter if the source is reliable as long as its message supports a desired stance?
Often it takes only a very cursory (honest) look into a teaching or news source to assess its truthfulness, but unless there is a genuine desire FOR the truth, it is easy to dismiss clear evidence if it contradicts what we WANT to believe.
Likewise it’s easy to ignore serious flaws in a teaching or news source if it’s PROMOTING what we want to believe.
It’s sad fact that many (even professing Christians) really have no love of the truth, preferring to mould a more appealing (to them) version of “reality” to live by.
“Pizzagate is a lie. But what it says about our society is real” by Ijeoma Oluo.
Americans who believe fake news aren’t duped. They willingly decide to accept whatever outrageous story fits their bias and hatred
In any other year, a story like “Pizzagate” would get you laughed out of the room. The conspiracy theory claiming that Hillary Clinton was part of an underground child-sex trafficking ring run out of a pizza shop, is bizarre and disturbing from start to finish. But in 2016 – a year where nothing seems to make sense anymore – a story like that can be cited as a motive for a crime.
A fake news story was even tweeted by General Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser. In the 3 November tweet he linked to a discredited story that suggested Hillary Clinton and her “crew” were involved in child abuse and added the comment “U decide.”
No matter the actual facts, people will believe what they want to, and TRUTH IS IRRELEVANT.
What better explanation of “post-truth” can we find?
The change in the world’s way of thinking, demonstrated by the Oxford Dictionary amongst others, is a reality that is and will impact us all. In particular, it opens the door to massive global deception on a scale never before experienced.
The phenomenon seems especially alive in Christian circles, perhaps because Christians are more likely to believe in the supernatural or apocalyptic predictions that non believers would dismiss out of hand.
Post-truth’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries
In the era of Donald Trump and Brexit, Oxford Dictionaries has declared “post-truth” to be its international word of the year.
Defined by the dictionary as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year. The spike in usage, it said, is “in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States”.