This is Pastor Tim’s Article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Jan 10, 2022
A few months back, I read George Orwell’s 1984. I read it years ago and upon reading it again, it was every bit as frightening as it was the first time. The story was written in the 1960s, set in a fictional 1984. This book is not for the faint of heart and this article is not a recommendation for you to go read it.
The part of the story that I want to detail for you today is the central premise of the book. It is about the nature of truth. In the story, the world is ran by an organization known as Big Brother, and Big Brother is the only entity on earth that can assign truth. Nothing is true until Big Brother says it is, and once Big Brother says something is true, it can never be contradicted.
The main character, whose name is Winston, works for Big Brother in the division known as the Ministry of Truth. His job is to examine pictures and articles to make sure that there is no contradiction in the accepted narrative that Big Brother assigns. If Winston comes across a picture or piece of evidence that contradicts anything in Big Brother’s narrative, he is to “memory hole” the evidence. The memory hole is a place where evidence is discarded (incinerated) so that nothing ever contradicts the official narrative.
After years of destroying contradictions of Big Brother’s narrative, Winston does something illegal. He purchases a diary, which is illegal to own. The reason it is illegal to own a diary is because Big Brother cannot control what is written in it, meaning Winston might very well record information that contradicts the assigned truth from Big Brother.
The story goes on from there. No clear explanation is ever given for why Big Brother exists, where it came from, or what its goals are except to keep an iron grip on the “truth”. One of the many lessons of the story is how vital it is that we are all careful where we get our truth. Life under Big Brother could have been very easy because all you had to do was agree all the time. However, without the ability to look with a critical eye at the world around us, we lose one of the great gifts that God gave us, our perspective.
There is no doubt that we were all created very differently. And while I would be more than happy to debate anyone over topics I know about, I have no desire to force my perspective on the world. I may try to convince you of how I see things, but it is a whole different matter to force someone to go along with what you think.
The evidence that God gave us free will is one of the very first lessons taught in the Bible. Adam and Eve had a choice of which trees they could eat from, including the ones they should not touch. But God did not create robots. He created people who had the capacity to think on their own and make up their own minds. That opportunity brings with it incredible responsibility because now we have the chance to determine what truth we will live by.
In your quest to choose your truth, I want to ask you how much stuff you have to throw into the incinerator like Winston did to maintain the truth you want. Do you find yourself having to just ignore or reject observations that you make in order to maintain the truth you have chosen? There are so many people in the world today who believe that they can be like Big Brother and assign truth by incinerating all contradictions so they can live as they want.
In 1984, Big Brother has ultimate power. That is what the ability to assign truth gives to you. However, in the story, Big Brother is the enemy, and they do horrible things in the name of maintaining truth, including torture and death.
Truth may require a lot of effort to follow but truth rarely requires much effort to defend. If you must incinerate things on a regular basis to maintain a truth that you hold, you might have to ask yourself just how true it is.