CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Flights From Reality – How People Believe a Lie

Feb 26, 2017

Yesterday I wrote an article featuring a hard core leftist and Democrat Party operative carrying on, with a straight face, about how gender is purely whatever we want it to be. He fully seemed to believe this. See the link below where you can watch him in action. It was scary as all get out. I am still shocked by it all.

He would say things like this over and over again, apparently accepting every word of it: “Your gender identity determines your gender, period.” He actually believed this was somehow in accord with reality. That was the really frightening thing about the short clip.

orwell 6How can one manage to get so far from reality that they can talk absolute gibberish and think they are somehow carrying on a rational discussion? And there are so many other folks like this guy. They have been fed on secular left ideology for decades, and are walking, talking reservoirs of Political Correctness.

It is this spooky ability of folks to believe a lie, or complete nonsense, that I want to explore here. We all know about those who have clearly taken leave of their senses – people who are no longer living in the real world. In the past those who thought they were God or suffered from other grandiose delusions were locked up. Mental illness is one cause of people living in unreal worlds and believing utter nonsense.

Other things can bring this about. Coercion for example can result in people saying things they may not actually believe. And hard-core coercion can even make people believe certain things they once knew to be false. Statism has long tried to fully control people – including their very minds.

George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was modelled on one such totalitarian hellhole: the Stalinist Soviet Union. So his book features horrific and coercive mind-control activities carried out by the State. In one memorable scene from the book the hero, Winston Smith, is being tortured by O’Brien of the Thought Police to cure him of his “insanity”.

He endures a few weeks of this, as O’Brien tells him that reality is whatever the Party says it is. Consider this harrowing account:

‘You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.’

He paused for a few moments, as though to allow what he had been saying to sink in.

‘Do you remember,’ he went on, ‘writing in your diary, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four”?’

‘Yes,’ said Winston.

O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’

‘Four.’

‘And if the party says that it is not four but five – then how many?’

‘Four.’

The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston’s body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O’Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four.’

The needle went up to sixty.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!’

The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Five! Five! Five!’

‘No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?’

‘Four! Five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!’

Abruptly he was sitting up with O’Brien’s arm round his shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a moment he clung to O’Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O’Brien was his protector, that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source, and that it was O’Brien who would save him from it.

‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.

‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’

‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.’

Earlier on in the novel we read this:

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?

Let me repeat a short portion of that: “Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.” As I mentioned, the State insisted that reality is whatever the Party wants it to be.

Now go back to the Democrat I mentioned in the video who seems to actually believe that gender is whatever you decide it is. How is he any different from the poor victims of the State in 1984? Sure, he may not have come to this completely false belief because of torture and coercion, but he surely came to it because of exposure to decades of indoctrination, propaganda, Political Correctness and radical sexual agendas.

He has come to believe a lie, and it seems he will fight to the death to defend his flight from reality. This sure does frighten me. As has been noted, books like 1984 were meant to be read as warnings to us, not as instruction manuals.

The spiritual angle

But this is not all that can be said about the matter. Because I am a Christian, I must also speak about the spiritual realities which underlie all this. As with most things in life, we see three key players involved: there is God who is working out his plans and purposes; there is Satan who is seeking to thwart and hinder God and his work; and there are humans, who can make choices for good or ill.

Thus we have people who have a huge tendency to fall into deception, including self-deception. In a fallen world we are all too ready to believe a lie – many lies. Standing behind this is the malevolent spiritual being who exists to deceive us. Indeed, he is known as the deceiver.

But standing behind all this is Almighty God who is on the throne, and interacting with the other two main players. Of course God is the ultimate player here, and how all three interact is a matter of mystery in many respects. But let me close by looking at three New Testament passages which are quite relevant to the wholesale embrace of lies and illusion that we see all around us.

In Romans 1:18-32 we read about those who shake their fist at God, living in gross immorality and rebellion. Because of this, three times it says “God gave them over”. We also read that “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” and that “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie”. Not a bad description of what we see happening all around us in the West today.

Also, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers”. Well that sure explains things then. Satan is alive and well, turning the minds of those who refuse to bow to the one true God to mush.

Finally, in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Paul says this:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

The deception is palpable. And note how once again a rejection of the truth is tied in to delighting in evil. They go together. This explains to a very great extent the astonishing degree of people saying and believing things that are patently untrue, and even fighting for these lies to the bitter end.

While we can seek to reason with these people and share truth with them, and try to rebut their moronic beliefs, there is also a spiritual battle going on. So the Christian must engage on both levels. The cultural, political and ideological battles we are fighting are but a subset of the greater spiritual, cosmic battles.

To be effective in these conflicts we must be involved at every level.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fZ6bPjj0OI 

[1801 words]

9 Responses to Flights From Reality – How People Believe a Lie

  • Totally agree! I must say that the same could be said about the Internet Trolls who, fortunately for us, you have banned from your blog. They contribute nothing to any debate they ridicule or attack. I enjoy reading your daily blogs. Keep up the good work!

  • I continue to be gobsmacked at how so many have been deceived; global warming, homosexual “rights”, transgenderism, men using women’s toilets/bathrooms, etc etc and all applauded and smiled upon by Western governments; legalising things that just a decade ago would have been unthinkable. I’ve watched ordinarily sane adults lapping up this stuff like it was some kind of enlightenment, the new-age “be whatever you want to be” group-think. Everywhere there are schisms, fractures, in organisations, institutions, churches, governments and right down to the individual human….one side holding to truth and the other side swallowing the lies. Every day I realise that God has kept my mind clear of all this stuff; He has not sent me any delusions and I am thankful for it.

  • Whilst traveling back home on the train yesterday I saw a heading on an article in a paper the gentleman opposite was reading. I can’t remember the heading but it was derogatory about someone or some group. So I asked him. The article was about the Q Society and the ALA political part so I told him that I had been a member of the Q Society and that it was a respectable organization. Well the conversation only got heated as it went on. We discussed truth in reporting, Islam, Christianity, Trump and yes global warming and I could see the traveler getting more agitated and uptight and he had to put a stop to the conversation. As he left the train he was still visibly shaking. He appeared to an intelligent man of middle aged but he could not handle having someone who saw things directly opposed perspective. Discussing and debating with people who seemed hard wired to the Left makes for a frightening future.

  • Well done for trying Keith.

  • One does not have to read 1984, for these things have already happened and should serve as a real warning of what can happen when the state assumes an authority that it does not have.
    The film the Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie [1] and based upon real events that happend in the USA during the 1930s [2] should act a powerful reminder that we take our freedoms for granted at our peril.
    Moreover the homosexual Stephen Fry who suffers from Bi -polar depression, speaking on behalf of gays who suffer from mental problems has said that the real problem is not with them but with society who will not accept them. Clearly he would consign us all for treatment until we accepted that that homosexuals, transsexuals and all manner of paraphilias were a biological reality {3]

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY2nONwk6N8
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wineville_Chicken_Coop_Murders
    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCJr1HIygVs

    David Skinner UK

  • Thank you so much for writing on this Bill. Reading your verses from 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, I thought of the Lords’ prayer “lead us NOT into temptation”. He will do that if we love evil, which is what Paul says in Romans “God gave them over”. How can the ministry of God in the church return to the gospel Paul proclaimed? – the only way out from wrath – as in Romans 1 and John 3:36 etc. is the Word of the Cross! May God reveal His great mercy and cleanse and revive His church in Australia in our generation. Nothing else can cleanse this idolatrous filth where the mind of man compulsively rejects the truth of GOD in all dimensions of living. David (Psalm 119:136 and Jeremiah (Jer. 9:1) and all true preachers say “My eyes run down rivers of tears for the hurt of my people.” As Jesus said in Samaria “Salvation is of the Jews” – so salvation is of the church. I was blessed on Sunday in the local Baptist church when the pastor played a video of Keith Green singing the vision of General William Booth – the lost in the ocean “Don’t you care?” TO the church!

  • It was only back in the early 70’s in NZ in my childhood when I paid good money to see ‘The fat lady and tattooed bloke’ at the circus. Just 40yrs later and they are both ‘ordinary’ – society is now a circus act!
    Thanks again Bill and God Bless.

  • Yes, Mike, let us keep a sense of proportion and our humour,
    Psalm 2 is a good antidote to this moonbattery.:

    1.Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    2 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
    3 “Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”
    4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
    5 He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
    6 “I have installed my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”
    7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

    He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
    8 Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
    9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
    10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
    11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.
    12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
    for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

    David Skinner UK

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