January 17, 2008

The Intimate Truth on Objective Truth, Pt. 1

Truth, how do we know it? In a recent discussion in class about history, I stated that all histories are subjective renderings of an author's perspective on a time, place, situation, personality(s), etc. Often, when I state such claims, that objective truth is not possible, I'm confronted with numerable remarks. The strongest argument I hear I think is that we must not lose out quest for objectivity in spite of subjectivity as if there is a middle way.

But I believe that a holistic view of truth must abandon objective truth claims. Before diving deep into more particularities of my argument, let me make some general statements about truth. The objective project seeks truth as distant, abstract, and universal (or absolute).

But is this the presentation of truth in the Scripture? In proverbs lady truth stands in the streets hollering for people's attention. Overall, the picture in the Bible of truth is one of a decidedly personal, relational, and social construct.

As a matter of fact, what most modern Bible translation render as "faithful," the hebrew word "emeth" in the KJV was translated as "truth."

To know truth is a matter of covenant fidelity. Psalm 85 claims that when God comes to Israel (vs. 9) then love and truth will meet, and truth will spring up from the ground . For the prophet Hosea, the lack of truth meant not error, but bloodshed.

Think about a marriage with no truth or very little. The end result is a broken relationship, divorce. So, the biblical ideals of truth as covenant faithfulness and relationality render the abstract and distant ideas of truth as meaningless. Truth then is fleshed out in sociocultural, political, and economic relations much the same way faith fleshes itself in practice.

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