Will Hollywood usher in a new age of Truth?

By Jack Rigert, Director, JPll RC
Pilate said to Him, “So you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

Ready…Let’s dream for a minute (remember that God often works in mysterious ways). George Weigel described Saint John Paul ll’s teaching on the “Theology of the Body”, of what it means to be human and the ultimate purpose and meaning of our lives, as “a kind of theological time bomb set to go off, with dramatic consequences…perhaps in the twenty-first century.”

Could it be that Hollywood itself sets off this theological time bomb by accident? Did you happen to tune into the Golden Globes last week? Everyone was dressed in Black, as in mourning. Is it crazy to think that things have gotten so twisted, so distorted and so dark that “Truth” is coming back in style? Everyone, including Oprah, seemed to have an interest in truth.

OK time to wake up out of the dream. If you listen closely it’s still “my truth, or your truth” that everyone was speaking about and not “The Truth”. Is it so difficult to come to grips with the fact that throughout history moral relativism has granted many the license they sought to “objectify” and use others including woman, minorities, the poor and even their own spouses? It may feel good to take a few sinners outside the gates and stone them, but how many in the audience at the Golden Globes actually believe in the so-called ‘truths’ that lay at the root of this present “cycle of use” problem our whole culture finds itself in?

Michael Voris wrote “In just the space of my lifetime, we have accepted no-fault divorce, contraception, abortion, shattered families, single parenthood, test tube babies, designer babies, surrogate motherhood, open homosexuality, instant-access pornography, the corruption of higher “education,” same-sex marriage, a giant welfare state, the destruction of the middle class, crippling debt, a “no one is accountable” approach, yet everyone goes to Heaven, there is no Hell — most people respond they are basically good people.”

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”…My truth, your truth…we are told that we each define our own truth and create our own value system. Forget about God, the Church and the Bible, we are an accident of history and there is no ultimate meaning and purpose to our lives.

But there is something that does not function well without meaning or purpose. The human heart.

Victor Frankl was a European Jew from Austria who was cast into the Nazi concentration and extermination camps…miraculously he survived. He was a Doctor, both a Neurologist and a Psychiatrist, who chronicled his observations in the camps in “Man’s search for Meaning.” He wrote that in the harshest of conditions it was clear then and it stayed clear to him through his practice after the war that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure as Freud believed or a quest for power as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning!”

He goes on “what often causes a feeling of meaninglessness…”People have enough to live by but nothing to live for: they have the means but no meaning. “This creates a vacuum that you see so pervasive in people today. Depression, aggression and addiction–are not understandable unless we recognize the existential vacuum underlying them. A sense of the lack of meaning and purpose. Moreover, there are various masks and guises under which the existential vacuum appears. Sometimes the frustrated will to meaning is vicariously compensated for by a Will To Power, including the most primitive form of the will to power, the will to money. In other cases, the place of frustrated will to meaning is taken by the will to pleasure. That is why existential frustration often eventuates in sexual compensation. We can observe in such cases that sexual libido becomes rampant in the existential vacuum.

It has gotten pretty dark and something it seems must change. History teaches that for most people change will mean the same old thing in a different color championed by a new prophet rising from their midst. But maybe, just maybe, even for some of those dressed in black, the “theological time bomb” has been ignited!