Friday, March 21, 2008

The Destabilizer

"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." --Jesus Christ (Luke 12:51)

A few days into the second round of the ZTE-NBN scandal, the recurring mantra from deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo was "version of the truth." Which was a silly thing to say, of course: logically speaking, there is only one truth (and that is precisely why it is the truth). The fault, if any, lies in the one who perceives it and it relays it.

Fajardo's "version of the truth" is merely an echo of a sentiment raised much, much earlier. Over two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate, uncomfortable when confronted with the innocence of Jesus Christ, shrugged it off with the question: "What is truth?"

Because of its distance the situation becomes a blur and so the reasons may escape us: the proximate cause of Jesus' crucifixion was an act of expedience and political survival. Jesus did not come to overthrow the established political order; His ideas were much more radical than that. Nevertheless, His purpose was badly misunderstood, even by His disciples. As such, His presence was a great discomfort to the powers-that-were.

Jesus was a threat to the Scribes and the Pharisees because His fulminatory sermons exposed their hypocrisy.

Jesus was a threat to the businessmen of the day, the moneychangers at their profitable tables by the temple, whom he drove out of the temple.

Jesus was a threat to the Romans, the political and military power within Israel, because they were wary of any demagogues who might incite the restive Jews to open rebellion.

Ultimately, Jesus was executed through the temporary alliance of two enemies, the Romans and the Jews.

Jesus is, in modern Philippine political parlance, a "destabilizer."

5 comments:

  1. Hi Dom,
    It's been said ( often wrongly attributed to H.L.Mencken ) that "it is the duty of a journalist to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable".
    Looks to me like Jesus is not only a "destabilizer" but a pretty good journalist too.
    Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Over at Manolo's, i ticked off someone when i told him that in matters involving the truth, i am wary of the side that sounds more like Pontius Pilate.

    http://www.quezon.ph/1721/the-original-sin-and-the-continuing-crime/#comment-763593

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for dropping by, guys. Happy Easter to both of you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. But the truth is, there is no right to the truth under freedom of religion, is there, since we are allowed to believe and even teach any old silly thing, as long as we don't force it on them.

    It's surprisingly difficult and tricky to actually define a term like "the truth" without introducing adjectives like, "the legal truth" or "the moral truth".

    I think there is only the right to try and find out facts. But the Truth is always God's deepest secret.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "But the truth is, there is no right to the truth under freedom of religion, is there, since we are allowed to believe and even teach any old silly thing, as long as we don't force it on them..."

    Is that a fact? ;-)

    If it ain't, why should I believe it?

    ReplyDelete