The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.
George Orwell, 1984 (https://genius.com/George-orwell-nineteen-eighty-four-book-1-chapter-7-annotated)
On my mind: the fundamental difficulty in discerning when, and about what, to trust what we might want to call “special revelation” in preference to “general revelation” – that is, the information that’s available to everyone, equally, empirically.
(Is another way to say this “not accepting the argument that ‘this empirical evidence here should compel you to change your mind'”? Some people would say so.)
Faith accepts special revelation.
So do conspiracy theories.
So does “false prophecy.”
So does abusive authority.
(Per the quote I got in the email this morning, above; but there is also the gas-lighting that sometimes goes hand-in-hand with the coerced secrecy of abuse in family systems, the church, sports teams – “I never did that,” “you must be imagining that”; or the “re-framing” that we do that allows the containment of experiences that, if we name them starkly and “objectively,” only feel even more destructive than they’ve already been – “I wouldn’t really call that, you know, …”)
As a person of faith, I accept special revelation.
And “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not really out to get you,” too.
So I don’t like to call people crazy or stupid just on the principle that they claim to have special, inside information.
And yet, I do think some ideas are … OK, I can’t think of anything nice to say here.
So, obviously, the content must matter to me, too, not just the form.
But this still raises the question of my criterion for acceptance, for what I take to be truth. And my reasons for holding fast to that criterion.
I really do not get to avoid that.
[This is when I normally say to myself something like “Well, Jesus Christ.”
And then I think … on the whole, I have a body of practical evidence from life in the church that leads me to trust that criterion. And also that, on the whole, “Jesus Christ” would authorize relying on general revelation in most cases over most other sources, given Jesus Christ’s involvement in the creation, which is the foundation for general revelation.
And then I think, I should probably be doing the dishes instead of theology. But at least it keeps me clear of the conspiracy theories.]
Then Jesus said … “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”