Friday, February 14, 2014

Branded "Truth"

This is somewhat related to the previous discuss on the great debate.

Recently I was in discussions with a couple of people. Both times I quickly realized that I was no long talking to a person, but to a brand. When someone has bought-into a system of truth, then you don't need to have a substantive conversation with them any more because you already know everything they are going to say about every topic. It is written in the brand's program.  It is automatic.  They stopped thinking for themselves a long time of go.

I remember when I was of the Evangelical brand.  When I was in a deep discussion with someone, especially someone outside my brand, I can remember a strange thing happening in the deepest places of my mind. In this place is where thoughts are formed before they are launched up to the mouth. I would sit and study the brand answer and my own true thoughts.

For example, someone would ask, "Do you ever have doubts?"

In this private place of my mind the brand answer would come up, "Never!  Jesus is so real to me, more real than the ground I walk on. So I've never doubted him for moment."

But at the same time the real Mike's mind would hand me another answer. "Yeah, I doubt a lot. But I know it is wrong to doubt so I don't want to talk or think about it."

So I have two friends who have converted to Catholicism, one to Lutheranism, others have stuck to their Evangelical roots.  In the cases of each of these friend, not to imply for a  moment that all Catholics, Evangelicals or all Lutherans think this way, they defend their denominations views to the ultimate end.  One of my Catholic friends won't even admit that there was a problem with sexual abuse within the church and even deny the atrocities that the Church committed in the historic past (think inquisition as one example).

My point isn't to tear down each of these fine institutions.  My point is that branded ideology neuters logic and the quest for truth.

A better example is to talk to a Democrat or a Republican and you will know what the are going to say before they say it.  Why watch a debate like the Ham and Nye one, we know their brands? There is no evidence on the earth that would rattle each of their thinking.

I've mentioned before that I went to a "Indy Music Festival" to hear my son's band play.  I was trying to understand the theme of that culture.  My son laughed at me when I questioned him (he usually laughs at my questions) and he tried to point out that they have no "theme" or culture.  That is what is meant by independent . . . they have no rules for music. They play music for the sake of music with no genre.

However, I tried to point out that there is no escaping culture.  Even us who are disenfranchised from parts of mainstream culture,  create our own mirco culture or brand.

I've was warned many times in the past about not questioning the Evangelical brand.  My old missionary leader told me that he had a friend who started to question his faith but was no longer a Christian anymore.  I bet his problem was that he really didn't question it enough.  When you only half way question your faith, you end up in this no-man's lad of nihilism (no way to know anything) or switching to the opposite brand out of despite (atheism). But you have to keep on questioning and not stop there.  You have to question the total nonsense and emptiness of Nihilism.  You have to question the charade of living well under atheism and the allusion of, "We don't know the answers with any certainty . . . but we know for certain that God can't be one of them."

I know that I too fall into brands.  I hope not.  I hope that there is no question that I can not embrace.  I hope that I'm pragmatic in the real definition of the term.  Truth is only found when there is an honest freedom to search for it.



   

3 comments:

Ted said...

"Recently I was in discussions with a couple of people. Both times I quickly realized that I was no long talking to a person, but to a brand. When someone has bought-into a system of truth, then you don't need to have a substantive conversation with them any more because you already know everything they are going to say about every topic. It is written in the brand's program. It is automatic. They stopped thinking for themselves a long time of go."

Mike, did you see this video over on The Wartburg Watch on Feb 10th? Same program (and one of the voices) as your video about the Evangelical Church Exit Interview at the bottom of your page.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-0nu5QMUys

Hugo Otávio Cruz Reis said...

I have never dreamed of being an actor, but lately I feel as though I am taking part in a role everywhere I go (church, work, the grocery store nearby home...). The way people talk, walk, smile, behave seems so automatic and predictable that I feel lost and 'disconnected'. Everyone thinks the same way, talks about the same goofy sitcom hey have been watching or preachs about any topic with the power to make it sound like the same previous sermon over and over again. I wonder where I lost my lines in this play and if I can survive in the midst of a 'branded truth' era. Either way, your thoughts gave me some hope. Thanks.

j. Michael Jones said...

I think there are many in your shoes Hugo. It is very positive step that you can see the play and realize it is just a play. But I haven't given up hope on authenticity.