Sunday, March 21, 2010

Absolute truth

One note on postmodernity and the idea of "no absolute truth." One of the hallmarks of postmodern philosophy is deconstruction. I think that deconstructing our worldviews can be a healthy exercise. Yes, many postmodern philosophers have gone too far, but that doesn't mean many modern Christians haven't gone far enough.

Here's my analogy, often used and probably not great, but I like it. The relationship between truth and "belief system" is similar as the relationship between great wine and a cup. The cup is important--tough to drink wine with just your hands. But the cup is important only in that it helps you hold the wine. Some cups are elaborate, some maybe even better than others. But the important thing is the wine.

Christians have often gotten confused, and equated their belief system with the truth. Science, slavery, equality of women, worship styles, clerical robes, liturgical languages--I could make a huge list of belief systems big and small that Christians have fought over. But much (most?) of these are not the truth, they are systems we have constructed to help us understand and communicate the truth. I've said many times, when I was 22, there were thousands of things I KNEW to be true. Now at 43, there are only a handful. That doesn't mean I still don't have strong convictions about things, only that I don't have to see my way as the true way of thinking about many issues.

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