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Opinions of Friday, 16 February 2018

Columnist: Samuel Sarfo

Those who tell half truths are the most dangerous

Politicians and religious leaders nowadays are telling half-truths and getting away with it Politicians and religious leaders nowadays are telling half-truths and getting away with it

We can advance so many theological arguments to support the oxymoron known as the “gospel truth”; but the purest form of truth is the one advanced by the scientific method. And if you think that your truth originates from some sacred books, not everybody believes, or ought to believe, in your holy books.

Remember also that the whole idea that you take your truth from a book that was written thousands of years ago and from people who lived thousands of years ago is itself problematic because none of those ancient people had any clue of the things you have seen or experienced in your world today.

If you are not living a very antiquated life, you are more likely surrounded by things which those who wrote your holy book never saw or imagined: Computers, radio sets, clocks, cell phones, flat screen TV sets, air conditioners, automobile, etc.

Thus, you are far more advanced in the material sense than those who lived before you, and unless you choose to live the way the ancient people lived, their reality is irrelevant to your reality, and so should their actions and thoughts.

Indeed, for the most part, the things you take for granted today would be considered as miracles by these simple folks who lived in the wilderness under the tyranny of the horned prophet, or under Medo-Persian and Roman bondage. These savages used to stone their fellow citizens, cut off their heads or even crucify them on the cross. And so what exact truth about life do they have to teach us today?

That is why your first shot at truth must be within the scientific context because unlike those ancient savages, at least you live in a world of science and technology, not of superstition, belief and faith.
On the other hand, those ancient people lived in a very agonistic and patriarchal societies which had no notions of human rights or women’s rights or children’s rights.

They had no concepts of international justice and peaceful co-existence with their neighbors who they had already designated as evil and therefore not fit to live. And they were led by evil leaders who climbed mountains to listen to voices and returned to urge their people to go and completely obliterate other people and to plunder their lands and properties to the gory glory of their gods.

That is why the people were also finally conquered and dominated and almost annihilated and scattered to the four corners of the world. Today, the world is still struggling to solve the problems these religious leaders created with their religions.

As to the so-called sacred books they left behind, there is no doubt that there are truths scattered within them even for our time. And that is not extraordinary for any book the size of those holy scriptures. For example, the Bible was written in such a way that it uses very powerful allegories and metaphors that communicate truth in some peculiar ways.

It also features some good model lessons in life which one could find useful.
But that book also contains the most wicked of people and the most drastic of actions and injunctions and edicts typical of nomadic and barbaric societies.

It sanctions unprovoked genocide, stark racism, disgusting slavery, senseless rituals, false doctrines, unscientific conclusions and plain lies. And while sanctioning all these unspeakable evils, every one of these religions claims that their god is the most good, the most munificent, the most righteous and the most holy. How could a holy god require of his followers to go murder, bomb, impale, press, rape and burn others?

And therein lies the problem for all these devotees because those who deceive them and exploit them start with certain basic scriptural truths that are very attractive to the senses, and then along the line, mix those truths with all the detestable falsehoods imaginable. But the initial truth makes so much impression on the people that by the time the lies are told, the people are already sold to go and commit all crimes against humanity.

To overcome this powerful allure to make one a mere tool of the most heinous evil, one must employ the tool of skepticism as the first line of defense. Skepticism, which instigates the inquiring mind, is the first mesh that can distill the whole truth even if clad in the body amour of lies. For example, your religious advisor is telling you to believe in him.

If you have faith in him, you go along; but if you are skeptical of him, you will ask good questions. The latter questions will lead to better answers.
Usually, instead of saying that believe in me, the religious leader will often tell you to believe in God, and then proceed to substitute himself with God. Or tell you to believe in a book, and then proceed to select what to believe in that book.

As far as the futility of your trust in a religious leader is concerned, it is no different from its placement in a political leader, because both the religious leader and the political leader use the same exact chicanery to skim and scam the population. They are just telling you half-truths and getting away with it.

Our politicians are going about telling you to believe in them because they belong to the same tribe with you; or that they belong to the same party with you; or that they have the same ideas as you do. But their true objective is to use you as a ladder to their ambition, and then discard you until the next election cycle. Meanwhile, they convincingly detail the problems of all the society without disclosing to you that they can do nothing about them. This is also another instance of half-truth.

And as to those of us trying to expose these half-truths so that people could distill the full truth, ours is indeed a Sisyphean task. This is because nobody wants to be told the truth.

In the matter of religion, it seems to me that the spirit of God gladly inhabits the ignorant space insofar as the more agonistic a society is, the more religious it tends to be. And the more religious the society is, the more hostile is its attitude towards all those that attempt to shine the torch of enlightenment on the psyche of the society.

That the system is fraught with half-truths is neither in doubt nor in secrecy. The greatest danger that can face the society is within the situation where something good is dangled before the people whereas it is just a foil for teaching toxic habits. Our religious leaders gain our trust by initially pretending to sell us the virtues of righteousness.

Over time, they take our imaginations captive and take control of our minds. Our politicians also begin by giving the appearance that they are saving us from our problems whereas their true intentions are to dupe us and exploit us.

Because these supposed religious and political leaders of the society are merely mouthing platitudes of half-truths to the people while engaging in grossest acts of chicanery, our people have to jettison all faith and beliefs in order to develop competent skills for the testing and discovery of perennial truths.