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Trust is essential to our living together as a society and nation

There is nothing more important or needed between human beings living together under a social contract than trust. As a spiritual master once said, “Let your nay be nay, and your yay be yay.”

As a nation, we suffer from many injustices perpetrated by racism, extreme, progressive and conservative ideologies, hypocrisy and greed, all born out of fear, all eroding our ability to trust each other.

Somewhere in the midst of this chaos there existed, for a while, a few sources of actual and reliable information as concerns the operations and findings of our most valuable, life-supporting institutions.

We now have fake news.

We had a touchstone, of sorts, from which all social factions and ideologues could gather facts worthy of making decisions for our country. We trusted them. They are still present, but have had doubt cast upon them.

We have discovered the value of critical thinking, but many of us, in our search for the facts in practical matters, have opted to give in to reports from any source of information that agrees with our own biased and uninformed opinions.

These sources are many and appear to be revealers of fact until we find the researchers have been paid millions to support marginal, if not absolutely wrong, information on such things as the environment and political thinking. We then use these sources, which we neglect to research, as verification and proof of our biased opinion. We substitute this one-sided process for critical thinking and use the findings as fact.

In this kind of world, it seems few want to take real responsibility for fact-finding and truthful knowing.  When we gather information from sources that reflect only our own fears, the only possibility for us to function together socially is from a point of suspicion and mistrust.

There are many news and scientific sources, a plethora of religious and supposed spiritual agencies, all claiming to be “The Source” of all things real and sacred that we all take our cues from as we march chaotically towards a fall similar to the Tower of Babel depicted in Genesis when language was confused.

As can be predicted in a situation of non-trust, everyone blames everyone else and every other social agency and politician for telling lies and manipulating the facts to promote themselves and their opinions. No one wants to take the blame for being misled while we fall farther into our own guarded neighborhoods, relying on misinformation for our protection.

Too many have adopted the idea that, “We might as well do it. Everyone suspects us of it anyway.” “They spy on us so we have to spy on them.” “What’s in it for us?”

C. S. Lewis said it succinctly in the Screwtape Letters, “For suspicion often creates what it suspects!”

Now suspicion has damaged our great society by creating hate and enmity between ethnic groups and established traditions of all stripes. Those who would like to destroy what we have and what we might be as a democratic people are feeding the fires of suspicion everywhere.

We, the people, however, have the power to turn this story around. We must, no matter how we view the world, work together for our visions with honesty, integrity and by not manipulating the facts, but by building our future out of them.

We must always check what we believe against what is real because we deserve to know the truth.

Bob Evans – Contributing Editor
Emerge ‘n See United Church of Christ - Sandpoint

Copyright © February 2017 - The Fig Tree