Telling The Truth v Selling The Truth

Not everyone cares if it’s a real Louis Vuitton – or if you’re telling them the Truth.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus (or even if Jesus existed), you can’t deny that a few of the things he supposedly said are good advice. Even a humble atheist can do unto others – and find happiness in doing it. Another bit of good advice Jesus gave was this: “the truth will set you free”. As a rule, yeah! Lying will eventually catch up with you. Ask Donald Trump. But, as Trump also demonstrates, just because you’re telling the Truth doesn’t mean you’re selling the Truth. It’s just a stone cold fact: not everybody cares about the Truth. To some people, the Truth is inconvenient, remember?

And more than inconvenient. Telling the Truth would cost some people a lot of money. Power, too. That makes Truth both inconvenient and expensive. Bullshit, by comparison is much easier and cheaper to work with. It never has to be anything other than what it already is – bullshit.

In a very real sense, bullshit is like a fake Louis Vuitton handbag. Not everyone cares that their Louis Vuitton handbag isn’t authentic. In their minds, it’s “real enough”. They feel the same way about the Truth. Things never have to be truly true; “true enough” will do.

Every religion teaches its adherents that IT is the real Louis Vuitton handbag and all the others are fakes and knock-offs. Science sits off in a corner meanwhile with data galore that proves its handbag IS authentic.

The problem is who sells their handbag better?

Inside religion’s Louis Vuitton, feelings always defeat facts. If a thing “feels true” then it is true (regardless of whether it is or not).

Religion also can do something science simply can’t: offer faint hope in the form of a make-believe version of reality it never has to prove exists. Let’s be real: Jesus didn’t invent Christianity. If anyone did, it was Paul . More than half the New Testament is written by or attributed to Paul.

I think Paul was a genius. He sold a polytheistic world a monotheistic deity who’d do something for them no polytheist god ever had or would: give them a way to beat death. It was easy to sell a loving, personally involved god to what what Carl Sagan called “A Demon Haunted World”. Also helpful – nobody knew anything.

Think about it – if the people who wrote the texts we now call the Old Testament and the New Testament had had access to telescopes and microscopes and the internet, would they have written their texts the same way? Of course not. Would the message have been the same? Hard to say. But, at least the message would have been informed by germ theory and a clearer understanding of the universe and how it actually works.

Virgil first observed that lies can go halfway around the world before the Truth even gets going. PT Barnum added “No man ever went broke overestimating the ignorance of the American public. Bullshit always has the advantage. It flows like raw sewage from a broken pipe.

Truth must always be filtered and refined and pumped ever-so-carefully so as to preserve its cleanliness. That’s a lot of very hard work. You can’t just do it and leave it; the work demands constant updating and checking. Every problem in the pipeline must be dealt with immediately or the Truth itself begins to suffer.

Bullshit compromises Truth all the time. Well, it compromises us because we believe bullshit instead of the Truth. Truth will go on and endure no matter what. If we miss it entirely while drowning in a sea of bullshit, well, that’s on us.

Selling the truth is way harder than telling it. Even if people appreciate a Jeremiah, they can’t bear his jeremiads.

One response to “Telling The Truth v Selling The Truth”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: