John 8:32 assures us that “the truth will set you free,” yet many Americans seem trapped in a web of deceit.
And that leads to troubling questions. If we can’t agree on the most basic facts, such as who won the 2020 presidential election, how can we unite as a country? And if Christians can’t discern the truth, how can they be effective witnesses?
For everyone searching for answers to these fundamental questions, Brett McCracken has written a timely and important book: The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World.
It’s full of piercing insights and beautiful prose.
Is truth dead?
McCracken, a senior editor for the Gospel Coalition, divides the book into two parts. The first explains the problem; the second offers a solution.
The most fundamental problem is the mind-boggling amount of information, much of it misleading or irrelevant, available to us on the internet and social media.
It’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
“Our world has more and more information, but less and less wisdom,” McCracken writes.
He notes that Time asked the question, “Is Truth Dead?” on its cover in 2017, much as it had asked “Is God Dead?” fifty years before.
“Without God as an ultimate standard of truth, all we have are ‘truths’ as interpreted by individuals,” McCracken writes. “To each their own. You do you. It’s no wonder we are now as confused as we are. Do away with God, and you do away with truth.”
That can lead to anarchy, just as it did at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“It’s easy to imagine the devil delighting in all this: angry tribalism, addictive triviality, amusing ourselves to death,” McCracken writes. “As humans become more stressed, numbed, disoriented, distracted, and paralyzed by the impenetrable glut of information, chaos reigns. As chaos reigns, sin thrives.”
What’s your wisdom diet?
In response to this problem, McCracken has created what he calls “The Wisdom Pyramid,” much like a food pyramid with the healthiest choice at the bottom and the least healthy at the top.
He calls the pyramid “a plan for stabilizing a sick society by making Christians wiser: God-fearing, trustworthy truth-tellers and truth-livers. Salt and light. This is what we are called to be. This is what the world desperately needs us to be.”
The most reliable sources of wisdom, at the bottom of the pyramid, are the Bible, “the only infallible source of truth,” and the church. By living in community with other Christians, we can surround ourselves with people who are wise.
Moving up the pyramid, McCracken calls nature God’s “second book,” saying that if we spend more time on our computers than in the physical world it leads “to folly and confusion.”
Then come books, which “connect the dots of ideas,” and beauty, but only when God is its source.
Finally, the internet and social media, as you might have guessed, are at the top of the pyramid as the least healthy options in our wisdom diet.
To make this diet work, you must exercise discernment, consuming more of the healthy food of the Bible than the fast food of the internet.
If you do, you’ll be wiser for it.