When we are young, the concept of truth is pretty simple. Things are or they aren’t and how all the truths that we know fit together probably doesn’t occur to us. Mom and dad love me. I feel safe around them. God is Jesus who loves everyone and wants them to go to heaven with Him someday. Etc, etc.
As we become adults though, things get more complicated.
Recently, I did a presentation for our university’s pre-seminary students called Faith Seeking Truth. At one point, I did a bit of a summary of why people seek truth:
“From a simple worldly perspective, I can think of a variety of reasons persons might seek truth:
Truth is something we just want to know…
Truth is valuable in a practical sense….
“Finally, it is good to seek the truth, even if the truth is not always good. Why do children become so angry when they discover an untruth – a lie? Even as the nobles/elites of our age talk about how one may seek the truth but cannot be sure we know the truth, their actions betray them, because they are constantly trying to organize and define and state what is true – and even ultimately True (with a big T) – even as they admit to doubts. Even if some nobles/elites think it may not always be good for the “masses” to know the truth, it is good for them, at least, to do so.
But even if the world strives for a Truth (big T) – which inevitably ties in with how they live their life – we know they don’t have it. This brings us to this Biblical truth found in Romans 1… We actually suppress the truth. And without the power of God to turn us from our sin, we suppress the Truth Himself.”
I had to question myself about this again: How many persons are really looking to organize, define, and state what is True? Don’t some say that the only truth is that there is no all-encompassing Truth (with a big T)? Is not this alone True?
I think the point here is that even persons who want to say things like this also ultimately find themselves saying that we can have enough real knowledge about the cosmos we live in to believe that some ways of living are preferable and more responsible than other ways of living. If they refuse to even admit this, it seems to me they are simply not being honest with themselves.
So what is the practical endgame here? This I think: even if we insist that others should be able to live the way they want to, what happens when push comes to shove, and reality seems to insist that different viewpoints actually can’t coexist? Or what happens if the consequences of allowing a view to exist seem too great – how “tolerant” and “accepting” will we really be at that point?
Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coexist-bumpersticker.jpg
More along these lines: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/05/21/derridas-confessionalism/