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The Post-Truth Fashion

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Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

On the day before Christmas last year, the National Post defied the rules of political correctness by publishing an editorial that was very positive on Christmas and the Christian worldview. Its theme was “the power of true words in a fake news era.

It began by quoting from the prologue to the book of John in the Bible: “In the beginning was the Word” and then segued from this word to the so-called “word of the year” as chosen by Oxford Dictionaries. For 2016, that word was “post-truth,” which is “an adjective denoting that ‘objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion.’ Words mean what speakers want them to mean, no matter what their listeners might objectively hear. Indeed, listeners too insist words mean what they have heard, no matter what the speaker might have intended.”

Speaking personally, the entire concept of post-truth is alarming. When we define truth as anything other than that which conforms to objective reality, we undermine the trust without which society cannot function well. It brings to mind a major principle undergirding my former profession, the investment management business. By law, communication with prospective investors must provide “full, plain and true disclosure” of all relevant facts to enable the investor to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, this principle has resulted in very lengthy prospectuses that most investors (and many of their advisors) do not read thereby undercutting the intent of the regulation!

Anyhow, we can immediately comprehend how, absent such a law, investors would be very reluctant to make any investment. It is one thing to make a decision while understanding the risks but quite another to do so without being able to trust the communicator. As an investor, how would you react if confronted with investment information that was incomplete, unclear and untrue? Exactly! The reality is that we need to know what is objectively true to function in and enjoy life.

In business and in life generally, we equate knowing truth with the intellectual understanding of that which corresponds to reality. For followers of Jesus, however, the knowledge of truth goes beyond knowing information to knowing a person. As recorded in the Bible, Jesus made the following (outrageous) claim: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). He then validated all his claims by his resurrection from the dead.

If you would like to explore the truth and relevance of Jesus’ claims, consider joining one of our professional peer groups.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.