Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sometimes Truth Isn't Good Enough

"Because sometimes truth isn't good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded."

The first time I saw The Dark Knight, I couldn't stop thinking about these words Batman says right before he runs away to bear the brunt of the people's anger at the actions committed by Harvey Dent that they believe were committed by Batman. And as I read them again, I wonder: do I actually believe they are true? Do I believe that we should lie to people and reward their faith even if what they believe is wrong?

And the answer is that I'm not sure. I don't really like to lie. I was a rambunctious child once, so I learned how to lie and do it moderately well, but I've never felt good about lying to people. Yet, at the same time, if people have faith and that faith is proven true far less often than it appears to fail them, then they will lose hope. And, if people have lost hope, there is little chance of motivating them to make the world around them a better place. I definitely don't want people to lose hope, which means I want people to have faith. The only question is whether the desired outcome of faith is worth the occasional lie or half-truth to motivate people in certain ways so that they will want to make the world a better place.

“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”


Christian Soul said...

I just happened upon your blog and I like it.

I liked The Dark Knight, but I wouldn't agree with the Batman quote. Truth is always good enough and people can't ask for anything more. It is futile to put our faith in anything or anyone who doesn't have truth on their side. People end up being harmed when they trust in a lie. Pain or hardship may be averted for a time, but lies never have a good final outcome.

I believe Jesus is ultimately the only source of truth in its purest form. His blunt truth, His theology of the cross, and His life and resurrection are the only thing that sets people free.

The Wanderer said...

Thanks, Christian Soul. I'm glad you like my blog.

But, the thing is, even though I believe in honesty and Jesus as the ultimate revelation of truth, I'm still not sure I can disagree with Batman, especially in the context of this quote.

The people of Gotham are constantly being harassed and tormented by masked villains and mafioso. Then, along comes Harvey Dent. An average man who's not afraid to stand up for what's right. A hero who fights crime in broad daylight without a mask; a hero the people can trust.

Then, this hero falls. He murders police officers, threatens children, and dies. So, they are faced with a choice: either Harvey dies a villain and all the progress Gotham has made since the arrival of Batman in destroyed, or Harvey dies a hero, and the city's soul is saved. I'm not sure that telling the truth about Harvey Dent is worth crushing Gotham's spirit.

Padraic said...

This is an interesting thought practice.

I have also found that it may be too difficult to tell the truth to people; especially in the church we are in.

I'll admit it, I am a bad communicator. Due to this weakness of mine, i have discovered that at times it is better to let people believe in a less truer faith, than for me to attempt to alter that faith.