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By Diogenes (articles | Jan 27, 2006

John Leo sees in the Frey Fraud the symptom of a larger tendency to dissolve truth in the solvent of feelings:

The many hoaxes on colleges campuses, mostly involving untrue reports of rapes and racial attacks, often turn out to be teaching instruments of a sort, conscious lies intended to reveal broad truths about the constant victimization of women and minorities. After the Tawana Brawley case, an article in the Nation magazine said the faked kidnapping and rape she reported were useful because they called attention to the suffering of blacks, so "in cultural perspective, if not in fact, it doesn't matter whether the crime occurred or not."

Many of the campus hoaxes owe something to the postmodern notion that there is no literal truth, only voices and narratives. If so, who can object if you make up a narrative that expresses the truth you feel? This attitude seeps into therapy, often through therapists who guide patients to the feeling that parents must have abused them. After one California patient sued her parents, her therapist said, "I don't care if it's true ...What actually happened is irrelevant to me."
Where do we encounter this mindset most frequently? From the pulpit. "What's not important is whether Jesus really walked on water (cured the man born blind, rose from the dead ...). What's important is what the evangelist is trying to tell us about God's mercy by this miracle story."

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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