February 18, 2008

The Intimate Truth on Objective Truth, Pt. 5

Finally, I come to the conclusion of series on all things objectively true, relative, and intimately true. You can check out Part 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Simple stated, I do not believe that objective truth exists. Let me nuance that, I do not believe that we can know the Truth objectively without our frame of reference, particularities, culture, and values guiding what and how we think. I do believe there is Truth, so not I don't we're left with relativism, but to a faithful relativity. We need story, traditions, cultures, history, along with scientific reasoning to get to the truth.

Everything outside of reason though was erased from the methods of seeking truth with Kant who said that religion has to fit within the bounds of reason. Nicholas Wolterstorff, a Christian philospher, flips Kant's line on its head by saying that reason must fit within the bounds of reason.

Most people who are squeemish at the mention of nonobjectivity are those moderns who ahve bought into the idea that truth can be had apart from one's perspective. Reasoning is core and foundational to what it means to be human, and humans are seemingly by nature religious. Even if you can't admit that humans are religious by nature, I think you must admit that we cannot escape our place in life, who we are, our enculturation process.

The most important reason for myself to pull back the curtains on objectivity to realize that it truly is a bankrupt commission, is because too often religion adherents (especially Christians) claim to have THE OBJECTIVE TRUTH. Many consequences follow, but the worst that I find in my Western, white middle class context is Christians claim that the gospel is objectively true while pulling away from the church as the center of truth. So what is lost when we claim the gospel is objectively true? We lose embodied witness. Why live out the gospel when I can point to an objective truth that exists outside of reality?

God though did not find it fit to drop facts and knowledge to be known as truth, but rather God dropped a baby into the world that one day would proclaim himself as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Truth can only be known in faithful, covenant relationship. We must be in faithful relationship to ourselves in our context, to traditions, religions, cultures, histories, reasoning, philosophy, art, and most importantly God.

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