Here’s a creative graphic presentation of the words of poet Taylor Mali‘s “Totally Like Whatever, You Know?” along with an audio of Mali’s recitation of the poem. Mali challenges what he calls “the most aggressively inarticulate generation” to speak with clarity and conviction. This is brilliant.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
“The ordinary lie was but the omission or the contradiction of a truth, which still subsisted elsewhere and still judged us. But the diabolical lie denies the judge. It proceeds only from itself and proliferates autarchically, like a cancerous cell, introducing into the universe that sophism of pure anguish: the lie of no truth.”
~ Denis De Rougemont, The Devil’s Share (New York, NY: Meridian Books, 1956), 41.
Telling the truth only when it is safe or convenient is cowardice. Contending for the faith where the truth is being opposed proves our loyalty to and love for the truth. Consider these words from Martin Luther:
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
~ Quoted in Parker T. Williamson, Standing Firm: Reclaiming Christian Faith in Times of Controversy (Springfield, Pa.: PLC Publications, 1996), 5.
“The modern secular world—the world which tries to remove God from his all-creating, all-sustaining, all-defining, all-governing place—has no choice but to make itself god and to create its own morality. In other words, when man abandons God and his self-revelation as the source of what is objectively true and right and beautiful, the next highest court of appeal is man himself.
If God is not the measure of what is true and right and beautiful, then I am and you are. And since we—the god called ‘you,’ and the god called ‘me’—may not agree, the result will be: Might makes right. And everything in education, and media, and politics in this God-evicting world becomes a battle for power. Not a quest for objective truth and right and beauty, since there isn’t any, but a power-struggle. Because the one who has the power, in a world without God, defines reality. Defines what is true. Defines what is right. Defines what is beautiful. And there is no court of appeal in heaven for the weak. Man is god. And the powerful man is god-Almighty—the maker of the truth, the inventor of what is right, and the definer of what is beautiful. And the bloodiest century in the history of the world—the twentieth century with its Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini and Milosevic and Pot and Amin and Mao and Sung and Hussein and the abortion industry—prove it with horrifying evidence.”
~ John Piper, “Abortion and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil“
Recently, three of my children began taking art classes. Their teacher’s comments about there being no such thing as good or bad art reminded me of this thought from Denis De Rougemont:
The Devil is the father of false art, of all those works which are ‘neither good not bad,’ because the act of which they were born suppresses the very measure of beauty. There are no errors of taste possible where taste no longer exists, as there is no possible crime where no Law exists.
~ The Devil’s Share (New York, NY: Meridian Books, 1956), 40-41.
Posted in Art, Beauty, Truth
“Skeptical theorists have observed that the very words truth, justice, freedom, responsibility, and many others cannot be uttered without implying the existence of One who underwrites their meaning. Contending that such a One does not exist, such theorists have insisted that we must put all such words — indeed, all words — in inverted commas. ‘Truth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘responsibility,’ so the argument goes, are empty or, at best, only convenient fictions. They are simply verbal tools that have been used and are still being used in the interests of those in positions of power.”
~ Craig Gay, Dialogue, Catalogue & Monologue (Vancouver, Canada: Regent College Publishing, 2008), 44.
For a culture that overwhelmingly denies objective truth, Denis De Rougemont’s words offer a chilling perspective:
There are two ways of lying, as there are two ways of deceiving a customer. If the scale registers 15 ounces, you can say: ‘It is a pound.’ Your lie will remain relative to an invariable measure of the true. If the customer checks it he can see that he is being robbed, and you know by how much you are robbing him: a truth remains as a judge between you.
But if the Demon induces you to tamper with the scale itself, it is the criterion of the true which is denatured, there is no longer any possible control. And little by little you will forget that you are cheating. We may even bet that you will exercise all your scruples in giving exact weights, perhaps adding a few pinches ‘for good measure,’ for the smile of the buyer and the satisfaction of your virtue. That is ‘pure’ lying, the Devil’s very work. The moment you falsify the scale of truth itself all your ‘virtues’ are at the service of evil and are accomplices in the work of the Evil One.
~ The Devil’s Share (New York, NY: Meridian Books, 1956), 39-40.