One of the unfortunate features of the present age is the difficulty of attaining truth, which seems to be an inherent characteristic of the process of disintegration that is assailing humanity in its transition to a new order. “In these days truthfulness and sincerity are sorely afflicted in the clutches of falsehood,” Bahá’u’lláh lamented, “and justice is tormented by the scourge of injustice.” Of course, there are a number of Bahá’í teachings that directly bear on this dilemma. To the extent to which the friends imbibe and hold fast to these teachings, they can guard themselves and their communities from the tumult buffeting society and contribute to its protection and transformation. (Universal House of Justice to an individual, 11 February 2021)
How do we find truth quickly online in this day and age? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation and fake news shared on the web and on social media these days and it’s sometimes hard to know the truth without a lot of fact-checking and digging. Some fake news websites are structured to make visitors believe they are visiting trusted news sources. Facebook alone has over 2 billion users (over a quarter of the world’s population), making it hard to police. Anyone trying to sway people to their own point of view finds an eager, ready, and waiting audience online. Sadly, the fictions and fabrications that comprise fake news are only a subset of the larger bad news phenomenon, which also encompasses many forms of tabloid journalism as well as shoddy, unresearched, error-filled, and deliberately misleading reporting.
I was happy to see the House of Justice direct this issue head on recently, as we see in the quote above. It came as somewhat of a relief to be reminded that finding truth seems to be an inherent characteristic of the process of disintegration that is assailing humanity in its transition to a new order. I should have figured this out on my own, but I didn’t and this helped.
Although we may think that fake news is a new phenomenon, the House points us to a passage where Bahá’u’lláh lamented in the 1800’s: “In these days truthfulness and sincerity are sorely afflicted in the clutches of falsehood, and justice is tormented by the scourge of injustice.” Surely we see evidence of this in the persecution of the early believers up to this day.
The House of Justice reminds us that there are a number of Bahá’í teachings that directly bear on this dilemma. This begs the question, which teachings specifically are they thinking of? Perhaps studying quotes on truth, truthfulness, independent investigation, and lying would be good places to start. Why, because we’re told in this quote that the extent to which we imbibe and hold fast to these teachings, we can guard ourselves and our communities from the tumult buffeting society and contribute to its protection and transformation.
Knowing where to focus my morning and evening study of the Bahá’í Writings for the tools to contribute to the protection and transformation of our communities, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation