Written on Sunday, June 17, 2012 by Ralph Barker
Back in the 1980s one of the major news magazines ran a feature story on how we as a nation had a growing propensity to lie. We had already become a nation of liars. If I remember correctly the article was titled: America A Nation of Liars. Certainly, today, this inclination to master the art of deception has increased and been honed to even greater perfection.
Think about it. Have you noticed, for example, that most of the direct mail you receive is designed to deceive you to the point you will open it? Didn’t that look like a real check inside? It may have been a real check but only if you spent that $100 check on at least $5,000 worth of the advertiser’s furniture.
For a while, certain firms were sending out real checks, small ones of $5.00 or less, but if you endorsed it and deposited it, you were actually signing a contract to fulfill some financial commitment. That fine print on the back will get you every time. Sometimes one needs a lawyer to undo these innocent mistakes.
A very current illustration of how we are regularly deceived can be found in every grocery store. Many of the products now display on their packaging something like “New and Improved” or “New Friendly Family Size.” This usually means it is a smaller package containing less of the product at the same price (stealth inflation).
Or, how about those large cases of soda for $6.99? Not really a great price anyway but now there are only 20 cans inside the box, not 24. Maybe there will be a “New Low Price” touted on a product. Sounds great, but when you do the math you discover that you save 10% off the old price while you lose 25% of the product. Slick! You really have to read those labels carefully.
Then, there is the Internet. Deception crouches at every click. It is a minefield out there. Click the wrong box or don’t click the right box on some site and you may end up with an auto-ship that you don’t want. Sometimes these can be very difficult to cancel or you may end up on more unwanted email lists. There is also the threat of malware, viruses, or spyware. I just ran my Super Spyware cleaner, after about a month, and found 135 of those little boogers.
As I am about to finish writing this article, I discover yet another deceptive trick of the online world. I learned that when search for a specific item such as the best natural hair product or energy vitamin you have to be very wary. You may, for instance, Google the name of a specific product and then search for a review of it. You then click on a site that urges you not to buy that product until you read their (fair and honest) reviews and comparisons of it and its competitors. What a relief. Someone is really looking out for you, right? No!
When you finally read all these reviews, and there may be many of them, one product is usually highly favored. Nothing really wrong with this except if you read the small print at the bottom of the site you realize this site has a sponsorship, a financial relationship with the product they are pushing. Wow, I’m shocked. Remember, they are only concerned about you and not their bottom line.
The more serious and the more dangerous types of deception we encounter are discovered at the government and political levels. We have to first admit that generally speaking all politicians lie, at least sometimes. We should always be wary of whatever they tell us. It does take a concerted effort to verify what they throw at us. We should never be shy about checking things out. All is not as it appears.
Our humble leaders may in desperation employ the Big Lie like Hitler so effectively used. Bill Clinton tried it: “I did not have sex with that woman.” Didn’t work for him. Mr. Obama is trying it now and other past Presidents, Republican and Democrat have done the same. Again, all politicians do lie at times. It is disturbing that we so willingly tolerate it. I guess we just expect it now and that is a tragedy.
At other times, a politician simply tells half a truth such as “I voted “yes” on the prolife bill.” This may be a true statement but he or she may fail to mention that they voted against similar bills the other five times. We should refresh their memory.
I remember back in the eighties when abortion was much more in the spotlight than it is now. I wrote my Congressman and he said, “Personally, I’m against abortion, but I believe in a woman’s right to choose.” This, of course, is code for “I’m pro choice.”
Finally, they may simply “spin” a story. A spin is utilized to make a bad story sound much better than it really is. Or, it is crafted to make a good story sound that much better.
There is one goal in mind when any of these techniques are employed. It is to deceive us. They believe we can’t handle the truth. They don’t want us to know the truth because then we wouldn’t vote for them. You think?
We must make the effort, as useless as this may seem at times, to call people to account. I mean friends, businesses, politicians, and especially our families. The Scriptures tell us not to participate in evil, but rather to expose it (Ephesians 5:11). If people lie, confront them.
We will have to vote again soon and there is an avalanche of political advertising, speeches, and phone calls coming our way. Who is telling the truth? Or maybe we have to figure out who is lying the least. This is a terrible choice isn’t it? It is our responsibility and Christian duty to find out.
God hates lying. Proverbs 6:16-19 states this clearly:
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brother (NASB).