We are currently in the midst of the 2012 election and often hear one politician call another one a liar. How are we to know if anyone is actually lying? What difference does it make if any or all of our politicians lie to us? Does it matter if we know what is true?
Jesus Christ taught, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). How can knowing the truth make us free? It may be helpful to ask the opposite question - how can untruths or half-truths bring us into captivity?
I recently purchased a book by Andy Andrews entitled How Do You Kill 11 Million People? - Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think. It is a quick read - maybe 15 minutes - with less than 80 pages to the book, but it packs a world of information.
In a nation that is very divided - Republicans versus Democrats, the Romney camp versus the Gingrich camp, the haves and the have nots, the racial divide - is it possible to find common ground with each other even though we disagree on some subjects? We all want a better nation where our posterity will be safe, secure, and prosperous. Can we work together to obtain this future?
Andrews asked himself similar questions and then answered them in this book. In his study of history, he "uncovered an odd paradox that exists in our minds about time gone by. It is a difference most people don't discern between history and the past. Simply stated, the past is what is real and true, while history is merely what someone recorded" (7). When we realize that "history" was usually written by the conquerors, we can better understand how information could be spun to mean something completely different than what actually happened. Is it important to know the truth of the past? Does the truth even matter? The information in How Do You Kill 11 Million People? answers this question very well.
"How do you kill eleven million people?
"Eleven million. The number is so large when the word people is attached to it that it becomes almost impossible to take seriously.
"`Why eleven million?' you ask. `What is the significance of that number?'
"It is true: there is no singular significance in that number. And the actual number is 11,283,000 - the number of people recorded who were killed by Adolf Hitler between the years 1933 and 1945. Incidentally, that particular figure only represents institutionalized killing. It does not include the 5,200,000 German civilians and military war dead. Neither does it include the
28,736,000 Europeans killed during World War II as a result of Hitler's aggressive governmental policies" (13-15).
Andrews then listed the numbers killed by other governments during the past 100 years: 3,000,000 Cambodians between 1975 and 1979; 61,911,000 people in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1987; 2,000,000 in
during World War I; Turkey
North Korea, and more than a million each in Mexico, Pakistan, and the Baltic States.
Andrews decided to concentrate on the "eleven million human beings exterminated by the Nazi regime" because "one particular part of the story remains quietly hidden…" (16). He considered the actual method of killing to be unimportant because we know the tools that were used to commit mass murder. We also understand that some people do really crazy and evil things. "History has provided ample documentation of the damage done to societies by megalomaniacal psychopaths or sociopaths." Then he asked the really important question: Why did 11,000,000 people "allow themselves to be killed"? (19).
"The answer is breathtakingly simple. And it is a method still being used by some elected leaders to achieve various goals today. How do you kill eleven million people? Lie to them" (20).
Andrew quoted Hitler as telling his inner circle: "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." He also quoted Hitler's autobiography entitled Mien Kampf where he wrote: "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one."
The German people saw what was happening. They even heard the Jews crying out from the trains. They chose to ignore the truth of the situation and believe the lies told by the government officials. Millions of people died because of their choice.
Can the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the other killing governments happen here in the
? Yes, it can. Will it happen? That depends on the people of our nation and the choices we make. Are we going to continue to listen to the lies that politicians tell us or are we going to demand the truth? The truth will set us free only if we know it and act upon our knowledge. We must become involved in the political process. We must educate ourselves, listen to the words of the politicians, compare their words to their actions, look at their history, and vote responsibly. United States
For a good example of how our leaders are being less than truthful to us, check out this article.