Former president Ronald Reagan once quipped, “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
President Reagan’s wit and wisdom are just a couple of the reasons why he’s remembered so fondly by millions.
But, dare I try to improve upon the Gipper’s quip, I’d contend his statement should be broadened beyond the binary of “liberal” and “conservative.”
For we live in an age shaped and created by unreality. Many of us believe and shape our lives around “so much that isn’t so,” not just liberals.
Indeed, there are vast swaths of Americans on both sides of the political aisle, red and blue, who live in an ill-conceived world that’s controlled and contrived. A world that’s unreal.
Our technological advancements and modern-day trinkets take our ability to live in a made-up world to the next level. This collective tendency to live in a world made of our own devices traces back to our first parents, Adam and Eve.
In Genesis 3:5, the Serpent tempted our first parents by telling them, “You will be like God.”
Now, in the modern era, our ability to live in a world we’ve created allows us to “be like God” more than ever before.
We see this in many aspects of our modern-day society.
Take social media, for example. Did you know that today’s 3,960,000,000 social media users spend an average of 144 minutes a day on social platforms?
These platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, are largely devoid of real, human interaction. They allow users to share just a small piece of their lives with others, without seeing the more real, day to day joys and sorrows.
Another manifestation of our cultural obsession with unreality comes from television – of which the average American spends 3.1 hours per day watching. Television, though not inherently bad, allows us to escape from our lives and environment, and be transported to another. We become engrossed with someone else’s story, someone else’s life – and we don’t care whose as long as it’s not our own.
Now, take the ascendence of the transgender movement as another example. From the beginning of time, mankind has known that there are two distinct sexes: male and female.
Disconnecting us from reality even further, a small segment of the population truly believes they are a different gender than they really are – and a much larger segment affirms this delusional illusion.
Those who are transgender-identified, and those who affirm transgender ideology, are people who order various parts of their lives around something that is false. Something that is unreal.
And consider the Metaverse, which is “essentially a merging of virtual, augmented, and physical reality, and blurs the line between your interactions online and in real life.”
Mark Zuckerberg has pledged that Facebook will spend at least $10 billion to bring the metaverse to life.
If you haven’t yet watched the video of Zuckerberg introducing what the metaverse could look like (at least, for those with virtual reality technology strapped to their faces), it’s downright scary. Just one more way for modern man to trade reality for unreality.
And reflect on the many stories over the past year that millions of people have believed, which only turned out to be false.
Former President Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. Until he didn’t.
Nick Sandmann was a high school kid universally condemned as a racist. Until he wasn’t.
Jussie Smollett suffered a brutal, racist attack at 2 AM during a blizzard in Chicago. Until he didn’t.
In each of the examples above, millions of people were led to believe something that wasn’t – to accept something false.
For we live in an Age of Unreality.
Our excessive use of social media, our engrossment with television, our cultural affirmation of the transgender delusion and our desire to escape this universe for a “meta” one – each is an example of our fascination with and draw towards the unreal.
We’d rather live in a fake world of our own making than enjoy the one that God created.
Recognizing this, how should we respond?
In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
There’s just one antidote for unreality: reality. And what can be more real than the truth Himself – Jesus Christ, God incarnate who is the author of all truth and everything that is real.
In our modern era, where we all struggle to recognize and affirm what’s true, putting our trust in Jesus Christ, and then living accordingly, is a good place to start.
Photo from Shutterstock.