I can’t tell you how many times my father has asked that when someone asks him what they should say on a given topic. It leads directly to one of the biggest problems that our society faces in this generation– the manufacturing of “conterfeit truth.” We’ve all heard the term spin. We all read opinion pieces about what a person really said and seen commentators take and twist one persons thoughts to fit another person.
However, we are impacted in more ways than we think:
Polls can be worded in a deceitful way to produce a result that suits a manipulator’s scheme. Advertising can be produced to create a false image for products. And, people with psychological weak spots, can be manipulated all too easily. For instance, people who scare easily can be kept glued to the television with the right hype and graphics for a “potentially deadly storm that is fast approaching.”
People are using the “Soft Sciences” to figure out how to manipulate people. Understanding how people think is not necessarily bad; however, when these sciences are used to control people or bring them to a decision that is not in their best interests, they are being abused– and not telling the truth.
It has been happening a lot in the press. There have been many doctored photos to support a particular side. Stories that were chosen to print and the way they are presented help shape opinions of people. There are focus groups, polls, and other means of showing positive or negative feelings toward individuals, the government, etc.
In the world of advertisement, if a given ad does not meet expectations it is pulled or loses reputation. I went to a local restaurant on Labor Day with my family believing that my two children would eat for 99 cents because of the outside sign– it wasn’t until I went inside that I was shown that the sale didn’t start until the day after. This effected me– and not in a way the restaurant wanted.
In any case, we live in a world of stimulus– of people trying to get us to buy something, do something, vote a certain way. There are good uses of persuasion and bad uses. However, as Christians, we should be truth tellers– we should be concerned about our reputation because we are representatives of God. We’re not out to sell salvation, we’re out to reconcile a lost world to the Savior. In this way, we need to be honest above all else.