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The Postmodern philosophy, so dominant today, says everyone can have their own truth as it pleases them and we can all live that way.  But can many variations on such a simple subject be sustained successfully in a society or will this produce crippling tensions? American society cannot produce a unified response to school shootings because we are divided on the cause and thus divided on the solution.  This division is in large part an inability to agree on the nature of humans, crime, and weapons. The varying perceptions of truth are not moving smoothly in the same direction but crashing against it each other. Even Christians, within and across denominations, dissolve into shouting at each other on a topic that is most basically the preservation of life.  Perhaps more unity of definition is needed after all.

Consider this, then: truth is objective reality rooted in God, in purpose essential to the Christian life.  Correspondence to fact and reality is the most basic traditional definition of the word, but to take it deeper, truth ultimately corresponds to more than just a slice of reality.  According to the Christian faith, truth is not constructed but revealed, and is therefore not self-referential or based on perspective.  The key point in today’s culture is that truth is constant and comes from a source beyond us, not determined by the individual to suit his own desires nor flexible at the will of a group.

What does it mean to be ‘rooted in God?’  In one sense, that He is the ultimate mover in the universe.  For example, take a basic truth. The sky is blue. Why is it blue?  Because of the configuration of the atmosphere. Why is the atmosphere configured so?  To make the earth habitable. Why is the earth habitable? Because God decided to make humans in His image and an earth for them to have dominion over.  The cause traces back to him. By the logical implications of the laws of motion, there ought to be a primary cause in the universe.  We can identify that as God and thus, all of physical reality is rooted in Him.

In the spiritual sense, we have John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” and John 14:6, “Jesus said … ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  Truth is primarily a person, not just a proposition. “God had so much to say to humanity He became a person, to embody His truth and His love,” which are inextricably intertwined.   Truth is rooted in God because He shows us the right way to be human and do human relationships, which originate in the community and love embedded in the Trinity.  

This brings us to the last point: truth does not merely proclaim what is but prescribes what should be done.  “Confessions should match actions, behavior should match belief.”  If you’re going to bother confessing Jesus’ lordship over your life, you’d better actually do what he said to.  John 18:37 says Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth and it is thus essential to the Christian mission to witness for the salvation of man.  In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis points out that your neighbor is the most extraordinary thing you will ever encounter; his eternal destiny is at stake when you fail to love and witness with your life.  

The problem with merely telling your neighbors the truth at the annual barbeque is that a logical argument cannot always win the day over emotions and may not address every dimension of their situations.  The greatest ‘defense’ of the truth is to live it. If it has the power to change paradigms and make a ‘better’ person, that will be visible.  Those who are searching for a solution will see.  In the end, followers of Christ neither need argue and defend their faith nor gain political power to impose it on society.  They need merely to “cling to the truth and be bold.”  Fear not for the body and be afraid of no one and nothing; we have received life beyond death and “a far green country under a swift sunrise” awaits us.

Works Cited

Fred Liggin, 6 February 18 Lecture of GENE 150: The True, the Good, and the Beautiful, Regent University.

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: HarperOne, 2001), 45-46.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter IX: The Grey Havens.

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