Friday, February 03, 2006

Deconstruction: Satan's Final Pitch?

We all know that satan is the father of lies, and throughout history all of his servants have tried in one way or another to get people to believe their lies, that is, to make them think that the lie is the truth. In order to unmask them, it has usually been sufficient to show clearly what the truth is, and hence what the falsehood is, so that people can see clearly and act accordingly.

But the devil is trying a new pitch these days, and it may be his last, for if this is successful, then complete chaos, confusion, and anarchy will be the norm, at least for the “sophisticated” societies of the world. It is something called deconstructionism, which is a kind of philosophy that has connections with nihilism, relativism, and atheistic existentialism. One of the things they want to “deconstruct” is language, with all that entails: concepts, truth, meaning, etc. What does this mean for us, who may not be philosophers and who may not think that this has any bearing on our lives?

One of the main problems with a deconstructionist is that you can’t really have a dialogue or argument with one, because such is not a matter of each party attempting rationally or logically to demonstrate the truth of one’s position, and hence to invite the other to accept it. Here is where the devil outdoes himself: he doesn’t have to offer a lie as if it were the truth, and then hope we’ll go for the bait—for in this new pitch truth is irrelevant. You see, it simply doesn’t matter if you know the truth and can demonstrate it convincingly, for they don’t care what the truth is, and they will think and speak and act accordingly.

A few illustrations I recently came across: A popular book about the experiences of a certain individual was proven to be a fraud, a collection of blatant lies. Oprah, who liked it so much before she knew it was all lies, still liked it even after she knew. She still experienced an “emotional resonance” to his fraudulent tale, so that was enough for her to defend and support the lying author. The value of the book was for her not in its truth, but in her emotional response to it. Thus, as one commentator remarked, “resonance” makes lying defensible. One of the points the deconstructionists make about literature is that it has no inherent value. It’s only value lies in the response it elicits, what people choose to think about it. There is no objective truth in reality or in human thought or experience, only "narratives" and responses to them. Those who would deconstruct truth are constructing a new Tower of Babel, where confusion reigns.

On a college campus a kidnapping and rape were faked and reported as if true. When the truth finally did come out the perpetrators were unapologetic. They wanted to support their position that women and minorities were oppressed there, so they used a fraudulent method to make their point. They said later that it didn’t matter whether the crime occurred or not, for it served their purpose.

Similar things are happening in psychotherapy. A California woman sued her parents for abusing her as a child, even though there was no evidence or even memory of it, because her therapist guided her to the feeling that she must have been abused. The therapist’s comment? “I don’t care if it’s true… What actually happened is irrelevant to me.” The client’s feelings, even if manipulated, were all that mattered.

So satan’s strategy has first been to fill the world with lies, “so much so that numbness sets in. ‘Emotional truth’ seems to take advantage of this numbness over a culture saturated with lies… If emotional impact keeps advancing at the price of truth, we will all be in trouble” (John Leo, “What’s the ‘truth’ anymore?”). More than just trouble. We will be in the midst of a spiritual, moral, and intellectual chaos unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s one thing to have an honest disagreement about what’s right and wrong, what’s true or false. It’s quite another when truth itself is deemed irrelevant, and thus is no longer the goal of any discussion or debate. Dialogue ends when someone simply says, “I don’t care if it’s true or not!” If this mentality prevails, what will become of the divine commandments, of faith in Him who said, "I am the Truth," of any sort of norms for justice or morality?

We need to be alert to people who judge things merely by a subjective emotional response, and who are thus closed or indifferent to truth. Deconstructionism is being taught in many colleges and universities today, and so many of our future leaders are being badly de-formed. The devil is trying to deconstruct the Kingdom of God on earth. Let us pray that the Spirit of Truth will not only reveal the truth to those who are in the darkness of evil or ignorance, but that He also put it into their hearts to want to know the truth, to accept that truth matters. Let us hope that people will not discover too late how relevant to their eternal salvation truth really is.