As Pontius Pilate nears the end of his interrogation in the most fateful trial in history, Jesus says, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
To which Pilate replies, “What is truth?”
Or as some might say today, “I have my truth, you have your truth.” And right now that attitude is as much a plague in our country as COVID.
In early December, a University of Pennsylvania student, Lia Thomas, broke several Ivy League swimming records. Perhaps most incredibly, in the 1,650 freestyle event Thomas beat the nearest opponent by 38 seconds, an unheard-of feat. These wins allow Thomas to compete in the upcoming NCAA women’s championship.
But here’s the reality: just a year ago, Lia Thomas was Will Thomas, competing on the UPenn men’s swimming team.
Thomas claims he came to believe he was a female trapped in a male body. He underwent hormone treatments, switched to the women’s team, and now dominates both his teammates and the Ivy League.
Fortunately, both parents and feminists are taking a stand. Just after Thomas won these contests, Kara Dansky, a woman of the left, author of The Abolition of Sex, and president of the U.S. Chapter of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign, appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to discuss the devastating consequences of allowing men to compete in women’s sports. “Very often this is framed as having so-called transgender athletes participating in women’s sports,” Dansky said, expressing her desire to get away from that language. “The truth of the matter is that he is a man and that he’s been allowed to compete in women’s sports.”
“Words like gender identity don’t have any real meaning,” she later said.
Dansky also pointed out that this problem extends beyond women’s sports. In our penal system, some convicted male rapists and murderers claim to be transgender to be transferred into women’s prisons. Some public schools are now allowing transgender students to share formerly female restrooms and locker rooms.
In part, this situation exists because of an American virtue: tolerance. If, for instance, I’ve known you as Ben your whole life, but then you tell me one day you’re now a woman and want me to call you Betty, I’ll call you Betty out of courtesy. But biology, all of human history, and common sense will never allow me actually to view you as a woman.
Unfortunately, our penchant for false reality extends far beyond gender identity.
Proponents of critical race theory have branded America a deeply racist country, a stance that flies in the face of reality. In 2008, for instance, we elected a man to the presidency whose father was not only black but from Africa, re-electing him in 2012. Here in Virginia we just elected a white man for our governor, a black female for our lieutenant governor, and a Hispanic for our attorney general, all of whom, by the way, are Republicans. In politics, sports, show business, and other arenas of public life we find a wealth of Americans of all races.
The coronavirus pandemic has also given us front row seats in the theater of untruth. Scientists and doctors who tried to bring hard information to the public on how to treat this virus were often forbidden by government and social media from participating in the debate.
For example, one may wonder whether masks protect us against the Wuhan flu. Some say yes, others no. There is a true answer this relatively simple question. If we were really “following the science,” as some tell us we must, then we should apply the scientific method of investigation, do the testing and experiments, and determine whether masks save lives or are a sham.
In the film Something’s Gotta Give, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton) finds her heartthrob Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) dining with a beautiful and much younger woman. Erica leaves the restaurant in a rage, Harry follows after her, and during their conversation, he says, “I have never lied to you. I’ve always told you some version of the truth.”
To which she retorts, “The truth doesn’t have versions, okay?”
We’ve forgotten that idea. Our philosophy of relativism leads to illusion, and illusion leads to ruin.
He who stood before Pilate once spoke of a foolish man who rejected truth and so built his house on sand. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” To build our house on rock, we must look for truth and turn our backs on lies, illusions, and “versions of the truth.”