Author Rod Dreher's new book 'Live not by Lies' is a handbook about how to survive with dignity when all around us rejects truth.

Stand by and for the truth

By  Paula Ducepec, Youth Speak News
  • July 20, 2022

“We are called to be completely faithful.” 

That line stood out to me in Cardinal Thomas Collins’ homily on June 26. These words inspired me to step back and reflect on what total commitment to our Catholic faith looks like in a society tempting us to compromise on our Christian values.

Various ideologies are all over the airwaves. There are consequences if you don’t fall in line with the prevailing social doctrine.

Collins, continuing his homily, said as believers “we are called to expect rejection, in which in some cases means death; in our part of the world it means marginalization and laughter, and maybe being fired if you hold clear to your Christian principles in the face of ‘woke’ attitude — if that’s a word — I don’t know if that’s a word, but it’s a reality.”

In short, it’s difficult. Being true and uncompromising presents a huge drawback, tainting the individual in the eyes of the society. The pressure and allure to conform can cause you to betray your beliefs and moral standing just so that you will not fall into this despair. You will be the black sheep and outlaw. Very few feel comfortable inviting  such characters into their world.

In a recent podcast, Canadian clinical psychologist and YouTube personality Jordan Peterson interviewed Rod Dreher about his new book, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents. The conversation begins with Dreher explaining his inspiration for the book named after the famous words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist who equates “lies” with ideology, the illusion that human nature and society can be reshaped to predetermined specifications.

Solzhenitsyn wrote these words in an essay for his followers, stating “they can’t say what they think in totalitarian Russia. What we can do is refuse to say what we do not think. It’s the power that we have: to refuse to speak lies, to refuse to assent to lies when they are spoken around us.”

Dreher spoke to Soviet and Czechoslovakian migrants tabout the similarities of today’s American political atmosphere with the communist leadership from which they fled. One migrant was a former prisoner tortured for four years before release simply because she refused to stop going to church. The mother spoke of the things that she had “left behind” and what she sees now.

Dreher recalled her testimony to Peterson: “It is the fact that people are terrified to say what they really think. She was talking about that people could lose their businesses, could lose their jobs simplify for having the ‘wrong opinion.’

“These all seem to be part of a totalitarianism mindset.”

Dreher observed it wasn’t quite the totalitarianism described in the likes of George Orwell’s 1984.

“I have come to understand that this is a softer form, a different form. It’s a totalitarianism built on comfort, and status, and well-being. We can’t really see it because we are looking to the past to tell us what totalitarianism is.”

We are living in a new world now. A world that advocates for freedom of ideologies and speech, but only if it adheres and advances a particular societal vision.

Collins urged us to counteract this prevailing force with “complete intentional discipleship” and to be “ardent though gentle servants of The Lord.”

Embrace this wisdom my fellow believers. We must speak the truth as hard and difficult as it may be. There are all kinds of agendas designed to make living openly Christian difficult and uncomfortable. So, we must learn and study God’s Holy Word to arm and defend ourselves. 

It’s no longer just a matter of believing, it’s being purposeful. In our world of confusion and lies, the least that we can do is know the truth, understand the truth and stand by the truth.  

(Ducepec, 23, is a recent Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of Toronto)

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