Taiwan Church News
January 2 – 8, 2017
Let’s Face The Post-Truth Era With Rationality, Thought, And Dialogue
On 31 December 2016, PCT General Assembly held her first of a itinerary quadruple-seminar, entitled as “PCT on same-sex marriage issues”, in Chi-nan Presbyterian Church at Taipei. After this series of seminars were announced by PCT General Assembly on the internet, many rumors started to emerge and a lot of protests from other denominations kept ringing into the office of PCT General Assembly. Even, after the ending of the first seminar, this PCT event was reported by a pro-Christian media as “flattering”, “brain-washing”, and “wolf in a sheep’s clothing”. It is indeed a pity, before publishing those distorted fake-news, that such media did not even bother to check with PCT General Assembly to learn the fact of this open and impartial seminar.
On 9 December 2016, the society for the German language(GfdS) chose the word – postfaktisch(i.e. “Post-truth” in English) – as the Germany’s word of the year 2016. The reason, why “postfaktisch” was chosen instead of Brexit, the Trump-Effect, social bots and horror clowns, is that people find the truth mentioned in political or social discussion today is always dominated by a mentality: “The truth is defined by us!”. This is a mind set, intentionally to despise rationality and fact, yet following the emotions only. Another dimension of the word of “postfaktisch” is that more and more people become being unable or lazy to think carefully. Facing the age of information explosion, people come to know the word through simple or stunning words instead of a deliberate thought.
If Taiwan society is checked against these postfaktisch characteristics, we would be very surprised to find that our society in the times of martial laws had already possessed these values – easy to be influenced by the messy feeling instead of a cool mind. This was because rational speeches had easily brought people into jails, and the thoughtful actions had even proved to be costing lives. Following the transition into democracy in 1980s and 1990s, Taiwan society was not totally enlightened by a democratic style of communication via reason and fact-checking. Rather, in order to find friends in the same feathers or stress a convenient truth compliant to own prejudices, many people still favor stunning words or simple slogans to solve the real problems. And this phenomenon is not least absent in the churches of Taiwan!
The same-sex marriage seminar, held by PCT General Assembly on 31 December 2016 and open to clergies and laymen from different denomination, was a public forum for the people in pros and cons to speak out their thoughts and feelings with reasons and discourses. This seminar created a space for the participated members to dialogue and understand each other. Maybe, there could not be any conclusion reached, but at least the people there tried to find out what the truth is.
In the very beginning of 2017, we should no more limit ourselves in the old circle of the same feathers or just repeat a convenient truth in cliche. Rather, in a spirit of fact-checking and dialogue, we should open our heart to find the truth and understand our differences in public affairs. This is our sincere wish, and it is also a precious treasure worthy to pursue after in the 500th anniversary of the Reformation!