Ralph Edwards created the game show “Truth or Consequences” in 1940 and it became the first game show on broadcast television. Contestants on the show were asked a question about an obscure topic, which they had two seconds to answer. If they couldn’t answer the question correctly, they had to take part in some ridiculous, sometimes embarrassing stunt.
The well-known game show host Bob Barker hosted the show from 1956 to 1975. I scarcely missed a show for the last 10 years of his run. If you’ve heard of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the town, previously known as Hot Springs, took the name after Edwards did an on-location radio version of the show in 1950.
On the show, the “Truth” part of the title was dependent on a correct response to a question. Can life be like that? I like to look to science as a place where truths can be easily proven. Let’s take a look at gravity as an example. If you jump off a sixty-story building, you will certainly fall and likely die. How about hydrodynamics? If you scoop a volume of water from a pool, the surrounding water will rush in to fill the void. Consider radiation. Living cells exposed to various types of radiation are irreversibly changed. Fire consumes large solids leaving only small piles of ash. Science forces us to work out a course of action to it’s logical and true end where we cannot deny the consequences of that action.
Truth and consequences are two inseparable halves of a full circle. In that regard, their relationship is Boolean. When truth and consequences are kept at full potency, they strengthen each other. When either is diluted, both suffer. How often do you hear “There aren’t consequences for bad behavior anymore”? Truth demands respect. Truth also demands consequences for disrespect. On the game show, the consequence for not knowing the answer, or “truth”, was to be commissioned into an embarrassing prank or stunt. In life, the consequence for not knowing the truth is complete moral collapse.
Is truth a little too close to home? Just push truth away out of sight, or at least cover it up so you won’t have to look at it. Does truth feel uncomfortable? Is it disagreeing with your stomach or your nerves? No problem. Just reformulate it. Add your favorite flavors and colors and give it a good spin to mix it to your liking. Truth cannot be created like some boutique drug designed to make us feel the way we want to feel. Nor does truth stand on a mobile base able to be relocated to wherever we want.
Truth has no ownership; no one can corner the market on truth; no one can say “my truth” or “your truth”. It is what it is and Whose it is. False truth is nothing more than an amalgam; a poisonous mixture to fill decay. The denial of truth is bitter pill; a placebo for a terminal disease. Our abandonment and perversion of truth is creating a harvest of consequences while truth is still standing where we left it. We won’t find our way back to truth with our GPS enabled phones, but we can find it with God’s help.
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