What CSI Tells Us About Our Desire for Truth
By Mark McIntyre
I recently read a post by Jill Carattini of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. In the post she discusses the reason for the popularity of forensic criminal science dramas on television such as CSI, NCIS and Bones.
The shows center around the desire to find out what really happened to the victim and to bring the murderer to justice. The investigators are driven to solve the mystery through scientific investigation.
What is behind the popularity of these shows? Jill sees part of the answer to this in the need to find truth in the midst of the cacophony of opinions that are in the market of ideas. She writes:
In a world where truth is subjected to the murkiness of taste and opinion, the attraction to a self-evident, one-dimensional truth is understandable. All the lofty humility of the abstract pluralist cannot beautify the noise of a million clashing voices and truth claims; eventually, we grow weary of the end product and seek a less polluted scene. In the words of the illustrious detective Joe Friday, “All we want are the facts.”
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This seems right to me. When I have watched these shows, I want the truth to win out and I want the bad guys caught. I assume that this is also true for other viewers and at least a partial explanation of the popularity of these shows. For one hour my world becomes increasingly ordered and the truth is determined and acted upon as the drama is played out.
But where does this desire for truth and justice come from? Apart from the Judeo Christian world view, we are taught that there is no absolute truth; each of us has to make up our own truth. If this anti-god philosophy is true, why then would we care if the truth about a particular murder is found out? What difference does it make? Why invest any energy and resources into solving it?
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