Moment in the Word
Wed, 05/05/2021 - 1:14pm admin
Jeremiah 36:23 And when Judi (King Jehudi) had read three or four pages, he cut it with the penknife, and he cast it into the fire, that was upon the hearth, till all the volume was consumed with the fire that was on the hearth. (Douay-Rheims Bible)
Censorship has been around for a very long time. Jaded by the political manipulation of ancient Rome, Pilate cynically asked Christ, "What is truth?" (John 18:38 DRB) Truly, without a genuine commitment to personal honesty, "truth" becomes what we want it to be; however, anything less than the absolute truth of God's Word is merely a decorated lie, "Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 DRB)
This week's text in Jeremiah 36:23 uses an ancient example of censorship to illustrate what is currently happening in modern society through both written and electronic media. Jeremiah sent a prophecy to King Judi/Jehudi foretelling the events that God's people would soon experience due to their unrepentant sin. While the king listened to the ominous warning, he edited the text by cutting out the parts that offended him. Notice, the sovereign did not use a sword but rather a penknife to censor God's Word. Here a little and there a little, snip by snip, the monarch edited the document to appease his guilty conscience rather than publish God's Word for the people's sake. The sections that King Jehudi did not approve immediately went into the fire; however, burning Jeremiah's scroll did not alter God's declaration. Truth was truth and what was to be would soon occur!
But what is the underlying flaw that motivates society's automatic default to censorship? St. Paul very simply identified the problem, "They liked not to have God in their knowledge..." (Romans 1:28 DRB) Instead, the Apostle said people would rather elevate creation above the Creator respecting "corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping things." (Romans 1:23 DRB) However, the policy of impairing truth to spare politically-correct ideology is dangerous in light of St. Paul's promise, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God..." (Romans 1:18 DRB) "Detaining" the truth of God is not complete obliteration but rather modification which makes the half-truth more dangerous than an outright lie.
Besides the stark censorship of current media, the insidious editing of truth appears in other very subtle ways. In the past few years, I have noticed a new trend where individuals purport that they receive guidance or enlightenment from the "cosmos" rather than simply acknowledging God (who "inconveniently" requires those same people to be personally accountable to His Word of Truth). How totally ridiculous that the Almighty is being "sanitized" from His own handiwork so that sinners can claim revelation from the universe's unintelligible static rather than submit to the clear counsel and commandments of God. What utter foolishness, just as St. Paul said, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools!" (Romans 1:22 DRB), and yet these same incense sniffers and crystal keepers claim to be suitable censors of truth! I don't think so!
Repackaged in a new wrapper, "having an ear tuned to the cosmos for enlightenment" is no different than our pagan ancestors felling a tree, covering it with gold, and then bowing down to adore the work of their own hands. Today's censorship and modification of truth is merely a form of idolatry that permits all forms of moral error by removing divine restraints. Just as Israel "sat down to eat and rose up to be promiscuous" before the Golden Calf (Ex. 32:6), St. Paul said that individuals who modify/censor the truth will be given over to vile affections, just as we see today! (Romans 1:26)
Likewise, the Book of Wisdom says, "For the beginning of fornication is the devising of idols: and the invention of them is the corruption of life. 13For neither were they from the beginning, neither shall they be forever. 14For by the vanity of men they came into the world: and therefore, they shall be found to come shortly to an end. (Book of Wisdom 14:12-14 DRB)
By quoting the Book of Wisdom regarding the misrepresentation of truth in association with idolatry and fornication, I underscore the historic prevalence of censorship, not only in secular society but also in the Church! Three hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Book of Wisdom was part of the Old Testament Canon when the Hebrew Scripture was translated into the Greek Septuagint (325–350 BC) - the Bible of both St. Peter and St. Paul. Fifteen hundred years after the birth of Jesus, the Book of Wisdom continued to be part of the Bible when the Greek Scripture was translated into Latin by St. Jerome (382 AD). However, five hundred years ago during the Reformation, someone became offended by Wisdom, along with several other books. So, just as King Jehudi used his little penknife on Jeremiah's scroll, a noted Reformer gutted the Old Testament Canon to his liking, despite eighteen hundred years of biblical integrity.
No matter who does it or how you cut it, censorship is a nasty business that leads to spiritual and moral depravity without truth to guide us. May God have mercy on those who practice it!