Living in an Atmosphere of Lies
“I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.” (Psalm 116:11)
“Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged. (Romans 3:3-4)
Forty-one years ago this month I left the comfortable shores of America to fight in the deadly jungles of Viet Nam as an Infantry Platoon Leader. Though given the startling facts about that war and man’s propensity to lie, I have to wonder if everyone will believe that I was actually there. A good friend just sent me a compendium of facts on the war that never see the light of publication, acknowledgment in the media, or instruction in the school/college classroom. Consider the fact that 2.7 million Americans actually served in the Viet Nam Theatre of war, though not nearly that many in actual combat operations; while in the latest census nearly 14 million Americans claimed they served in Viet Nam. 4 out of 5 are actually lying, including the Attorney General of Connecticut who is running for the U.S. Senate this year.
For those who claim they hold truth dear, how many have a general picture in their mind that is actually sheer propaganda foisted on the unwitting public up to the present day by media, professors, Hollywood, and those who have an ax to grind while purposely disregarding the truth? Consider: 97% of Viet Nam veterans were honorably discharged. 91% say they are glad they served. 74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome. Viet Nam vets have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age group. Their personal income exceeds the non-vet age group by 18%. There is absolutely no difference in drug usage between Viet Nam vets and non-Viet Nam veterans of the same age group. Viet Nam vets are less likely to be in prison—only one half of one percent of these vets has been jailed for crimes. 85% made successful transition to civilian life. Isolated atrocities by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage by anti-war critics and the media, while Communist atrocities which were common practice received no media coverage at all. The few American soldiers involved went to prison, while the Communists who did so received commendations for assassinating 38,725 men, women, and children and abducting 58,499 more civilians.
2/3rds of the American soldiers who served in Viet Nam volunteered compared with 2/3rds who served in World War II being drafted. The media have variously projected suicides among Viet Nam vets to be 50,000 to 100,000. Actual mortality studies by the CDC show that 9,000 is a more accurate estimate. A common belief is that a disproportionate number of African-Americans died in the war. The facts are that 86% of those who died in Viet Nam were Caucasian, while 12% were African-Americans; proportionate to the African-American population in America at the time and slightly lower than the proportion in the Army at the end of the war. The war was not fought primarily by the poor and uneducated. The facts show that there was an elevated risk of dying by those from well-to-do areas. Viet Nam veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. The average infantryman in the South Pacific in WWII saw 40 days of combat in 4 years, while the average infantryman in Viet Nam saw 240 days in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. The list of researched, validated facts goes on and on. But what is the point of all of this? Just what the Scriptures teach us: man’s propensity to lie and his propensity to believe the lie.
All of us are not only susceptible, we are complicit. In this political season we observe lies being bandied around like ants at a picnic. Some we believe and some we don’t and precious little objective research and facts are sought before judgment. When we personally retell something we have seen or heard in everyday life we are too quick to embellish or detract as the case may be to fit our ego or to excite the attention of our audience. The prophet Ezekiel speaking for God by the Holy Spirit said: “Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. (Ezekiel 13:22)
The disciple of the Lord Jesus must hold the truth dear and seek truth not only in what he says, but in what he hears and receives as truth. Lying and liars are assured of falling, having their mouths eventually stopped and ultimately receiving their just punishment according to the Word of the Lord. With King David may we recommit ourselves to the God of truth in the midst of an atmosphere of lies with his prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Set up thy standard, Lord, that we who claim a heavenly birth, may march with theeto smite the lies that vex the groaning earth.
“The, God of truth, for whom we long, thou who wilt hear our prayer, do thine own battle in our hearts, and slay the falsehood there.
(2nd and 4th verse of Thomas Hughes hymn, “O God of Truth, “ 1859)
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