Friday, June 11, 2010

Why is it Easier to Believe a Lie than the Truth? - part 1

If history has taught us anything, it is that believing in a lie is easier than believing in the truth. Keep telling the lie over and over and sooner or later it becomes the acceptable truth. In fact, the bigger the lie the better. Adolf Hitler understood this concept. Through his manipulation of state-run media and films such as Triumph of the Will, he convinced the German people to accept Nazism and national socialism. And, by doing so, this led to the death of over 50 million people, including millions of Jews who died in concentration camps throughout World War II.

He convinced a nation that elimination of the Jewish Problem or so-called Final Solution would lead to a perfect society. Obviously, this did not work out as planned. Even by the end of the war, most Germans were convinced and believed that Hitler would lead them to the ultimate victory. We always pay a price for believing in lies.

Joseph Stalin was also successful in convincing the Russian people to accept his brand of totalitarianism, which led to the death of millions of people and enslaved an entire nation for decades. It seems that through time itself we continue to accept the lie over the truth because it is what we choose to believe. In many cases, it is a convenient truth that serves our purpose and interests.

Today, we do the same thing. Bigger is better. Money can fix all of our problems. The American Dream is about materialism and wealth. Government is capable of creating a utopian society. All of these are lies in one form or another. But the biggest lie of them all is what the Body of Christ believes about itself. We are convinced that we are changing the world and impacting culture for the cause of Christ. But, in reality, we are being changed by the culture and the media to reflect the same condition that exists throughout the world. Yes, we are just as self-centered as so-called unbelievers.

The truth is that there is no difference between us and the secular culture. Obviously, this won’t win me a lot of friends in the Church. And others would say how is this possible. Look at the megachurch and the market-driven church. It is successful, powerful and has unlimited resources. Surely it must be impacting the world. In America today we have churches of 5,000 - 15,000 people and more, who are capable of doing anything they want whenever they desire to do it. But is that evidence of a church where the Body of Christ is impacting the culture, or is it an example of how the media culture has manipulated the Church?

Perhaps, this is a thought-provoking concept. Lies are always convenient and ultimately help us to cope. To look at the truth requires us to look at ourselves. And to do that, we may not like what we see. I believe there are five areas in which we, as the Body of Christ, have compromised our core beliefs. It starts with the media culture, and it ends with the media culture.

1. We do what we want. God is at work in this world. The question is will we join Him in his work. Most Christians would say that’s exactly what we are doing. But is it? If that were the case, I am convinced the Body of Christ would look completely different. Would we be so interested in buildings, property, equipment and programs? Would we redirect our energy and resources to the things that really matter to God such as people? Just because we have large impressive buildings doesn’t mean we are impacting the world for Christ. I’m convinced we do what we want because it’s what we want to do. Then we tell ourselves it’s the will of God so the we can feel better and justify our actions.

2. We promote a friendly gospel. Dare I say it? To use the word sin? Let’s face it. We don’t talk a lot about things that make people uncomfortable in church. The message today is I’m good and you’re good. God loves you. We love you. And you should love yourself. Obviously this is a true statement, but it reflects only a part of the Gospel message. Sure, we want to feel good about ourselves, but that shouldn’t be the goal of the Body of Christ and the Church. Unless we deal with the sin issue, we cannot reflect the glory of God and grow into the image of Christ. Is it possible that some churches are scared to preach the full Gospel because we might offend some big donors who might take their money elsewhere? Whether directly or indirectly, have we toned down the message. We now live in a numbers-driven culture. Big numbers are impressive. They indicate success and power. Have we bought into the message of the media culture?

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