For much of the 1990s, the X Files was a successful TV program, and a cult following developed around it. It was a Science Fiction drama which featured Mulder and Scully as the central characters. It had a number of slogans including “Trust no one” and “I want to believe” and the one that resonates with me, “the truth is out there”. Whilst the truth is definitely out there, lately it has been quite hard to find in some areas.
Most of us probably would not have known what the PBR was this time last week, now however those who take an interest in politics will know that it is the Chancellor’s Pre Budget Report and that it is not good news. The banking crisis has meant that an unimaginable amount of money has been spent propping up the banking system which has left the nation with debts that will take many years to pay back.
There seems to be widespread agreement that the banks had to be helped as the alternative, (banks going bust and bank runs etc) is even worse. A major financial catastrophe may well have been avoided but thoughts are now turning to the two problems of the national debt and for the politicians, how to win the election.
There have been claims and counterclaims, from the parties and individuals as they compete to be seen as the most trustworthy guardians of the nation’s finances. The problem for the politicians is that they need to be elected so there is inevitably desire to portray any future government in the best possible light and not as those who would bring poorer public services, cuts and higher taxes. The nation is in need of treatment and whilst the pill may be sugar coated, it will certainly be nasty medicine. The major parties agree that the debt has to be brought down to more manageable levels since just the interest on the debt this year 2009, is roughly the size of the entire defence budget.
The simple answer to a personal debt is to spend less and earn more, and nationally most commentators would say that the same truth applies. The next government will have to tax the population more and reduce public spending, so why do politicians avoid the subject? They talk of maintaining frontline services, efficiency savings and taxing those who deserve to pay more as if most of us will be unaffected.
It can be interesting to contrast politics with the Christian message. Truth is a major theme in the scriptures. The three members of the trinity are closely identified with the truth, the Father (1 Thessalonians 1:9), the Son (John 14:6) and the Spirit (John 15:26), the Bible is the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and the Father seeks those who will worship in truth (John 4:23). The truth is not hidden or obscured, it is clearly seen. The Bible teaches that we all have a massive debt of sin, one that can never be repaid. Yet Christ has come into the world to pay our debt on the cross, die in our place and to secure a glorious future for those who place their trust in him.
The truth has been revealed, can be known and because of all that the Lord Jesus has done in his death and resurrection, sinful and flawed human beings can be reconciled to a God who is the ultimate truth.
The truth is indeed out there.
Amazing love, Oh what sacrifice,
The Son of God given for me.
My debt he pays and my death the dies,
That I might live, that I might live.
(From “My Lord what love is this?” by Graham Kendrick)