Fr. Roy Cimagala
We need to learn to distinguish between the two and to make the proper choice. Nowadays, with all the noise and constant barrage of ideas, words, views, opinions, doctrines, etc., we get the impression that we do not know anymore whether we are being brain-washed or are really fed and nourished by the truth, and everything that truth brings with it—charity, fairness, justice, peace, joy, order…
In the social media that includes not only written words but also videos, we get to see fierce exchanges from different parties with all sorts of ideologies and cultures and religions. Of course, we strive to live in a democratic world where tolerance and diversity are fostered, but we can wonder if we are actually fed by the truth or are simply indoc-trinated, conditioned and mind-controlled.
I am reminded of what St. Paul once said. “For the time will come,” he said, “when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim 4,3)
In other words, many people nowadays are not anymore interested in really knowing and, much less, living the objective universal truth about the world and us. They are more interested in pursuing what they want to the extent that they now try to impose their ideas and biases on others. There seems to be a systematic way of brainwashing people.
That is why there is so much nitpicking and fault-finding, so much casuistic and polemical argumen-tation in the discussions. A toxic atmosphere of con-tentiousness is generated where intrigues, discord and division are sowed.
This is not anymore happening solely in the world of politics and business where a cer-tain diversity of positions and opinions is legitimate. It is now also happening in the world of faith and beliefs where truths that are supposed to be objective and universal are meant to keep us in unity, though not necessarily in uniformity.
The secret of knowing how to distinguish and of properly choosing between being brainwashed and being truth-fed is simply by being truly with God. After all, God is the Creator of the whole universe. He is the author of reality in all its aspects, material spiritual, natural and supernatural, temporal and eternal, etc.
With him we can discern the truth that always goes together with charity and all its complementary virtues. Let’s remember that charity is the mother virtue, the one that gives all the other virtues their true character as virtues.
The truth in charity is also the one that will last forever, that will bring us to our eternal destination with God in heaven. It is what fully satisfies our dignity as image and likeness of God, children of his.
We need to be in vital union with God, something that is always possible since God always makes himself available to us, in order to be in the truth that goes together with charity. Otherwise, there is no other way but to be brainwashed by certain false ideologies and unsound doctrine.
As St. Paul would put it, with God “we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error…” (Eph 4,14) We need to dominate the world of public opinion, not dominated by it. We need to be its master, not its slave. By Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enter-prise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City, Email: email@example.com