Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Truth Hurts

When we are children, our parents make up the most elaborate stories in order to ensure that we are well behaved. They even throw in the occasional incentive programme from time to time; for every time we lose a tooth, the tooth fairy would pay a pretty price; if we leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, a present will somehow find its way underneath the beautifully decorated Christmas tree and we could never forget the elusive Easter Bunny as he leaves a trail of hidden chocolatey treasures for us to find in the garden on Easter Sunday.

As a young Catholic boy, I was deprived of such nonsensical illusions. Instead, my sisters and I were told about a great man called Jesus, the celebration of his immaculate birth, his untimely crucifixion and the ultimate sacrifice he made to save our souls. Thanks to our parents’ religious dogma, not once were we exposed to the pain and disappointment shared by all the other kids when the truth had finally come out. I couldn’t decide whether this was necessarily a good thing and that I had somehow missed out on one of life’s most valuable lessons. Were the fallacies told to us an integral part of growing up or just another way for people to control us? Do we need lies at this stage of our lives in order to prepare us for even bigger lies and disappointment or does honesty remain the best policy?  I couldn’t help but wonder...

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine from the UK. She told me about her whirlwind romance with a younger gentleman from South America whom she had fallen deeply in love with. After their four day romance, she returned to England where they remained in touch for about a month until suddenly all communication from Jesus had stopped – he even unfriended her! Cameron could not make head nor tail of the situation and so she started asking questions. Was there some kind of awful truth that he could not bear to share with her? Was the age gap simply too wide? Were there cultural differences or was this young man simply not that into her? Whatever the case, their encounter has had a lasting effect on Cam’s mind for over a year now. She was “absolutely gutted” and heartbroken and will probably always wonder “what went wrong?” Would the truth have set her free and if it did, what were Jesus’ motives for leading her on the way that he did?  Was it just innocent fun or were his actions a more deliberate mind control game?

The truth hurts but a lie can be far worse, no matter how white or innocent that lie is. You can either live happily in denial and choose convenient truths or grow skin thick enough to handle whatever comes your way. So what if Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola or the Easter Bunny was a marketing gimmick made famous by Cadbury and Nestle? Are these concepts really that daunting to digest or do people sadistically enjoy controlling one another?   

When it comes to honesty, how much truth are we willing to accept?

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