January 26, 2008

The Intimate Truth on Objective Truth, Pt. 3

If you've kept up so far with this series on truth: Pt. 1, Pt. 2; then you may be asking the seemingly perennial question? Than isn't truth simply relative? How can I know anything when everything is subjective? We have this need to know the truth, in our our limitedness, finiteness; we desire perfect, infinite knowledge.

I will deal more with relativity/subjectivity in Part 4, but for now let's deal simply with this need for objective truth: where does that come from?

With the birth of the scientific age and the modern period, thinkers like
Descartes, "I think therefore, I am" and later Kant who said religion must fit within the bounds of reason really influenced the way we think. Basically, they believed that if an object was placed under scientific scrutiny than it could be known objectively, because objectivity rids us of all our traditions, contexts, biases, and presuppositions. Thus, we can know the truth objectively because it exists "out there" beyond our sitz im leben.

I'm not arguing that the world does not exist "out there" beyond our human facilities, but I am saying that the only way to perceive the "out there" is with what is "in here:" our language, perceptions, and biases.
I'll get to pastoral reasons for my arguments later, but right now I'll just say the problem with accepting objectivity is "intellectual pride" that claims to know truth beyond our finite capabilities thus ending conflicts over truth.

Yet, this age of reason yielded us not one but two World Wars, the Holocaust was based on principles of reason, as well were the nightmares of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Where modernity tried to erase the fallible with the near infallible scientific approach to reality, the Christian stance on truth according to Scripture must be one of epistemological humility. We can only know this world from out limited perspective.

But does this simply lead to relativity? What do you think? Does this make you feel uncomfortable?

No comments: