How do these questions of truth relate to our understanding of truth as Christians? Is this battle over truth important to our faith too, or not? If it is, how can we even approach questions of traditional truth without getting lost in partisan politics?
The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
Mr. Kasparov grasps that the real threat is not merely that a large number of Americans have become accustomed to rejecting factual information, or even that they have become habituated to believing hoaxes. The real danger is that, inundated with “alternative facts,” many voters will simply shrug, asking, “What is truth?” — and not wait for an answer.
In that world, the leader becomes the only reliable source of truth; a familiar phenomenon in an authoritarian state, but a radical departure from the norms of a democratic society. The battle over truth is now central to our politics.
This may explain one of the more revealing moments from after the election, when one of Mr. Trump’s campaign surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, was asked to defend the clearly false statement by Mr. Trump that millions of votes had been cast illegally. She answered by explaining that everybody now had their own way of interpreting whether a fact was true or not.
“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts,” she declared. Among “a large part of the population” what Mr. Trump said was the truth.
“When he says that millions of people illegally voted,” she said, his supporters believe him — and “people believe they have facts to back that up.”
Or as George Orwell said: “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”