In a previous post on the The 4 Horsemen of the Philosophical Apocalypse, I mentioned that Truth in our secular age is a casualty of various ism’s, like , scientism, and relativism. After 50 plus years of Western secular culture watering down Truth with such ism’s, we’ve gotten to the point where they finally get the Word of the Year: Post-Truth. The Oxford Dictionaries decided that we are not much interested in Truth anymore, especially when it relates to shaping public opinion. Their definition of the word:
After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.
As I started writing a book about keeping our kids Christian, the first thing I decided to address was the importance of Truth in that endeavor. The reason we and our kids embrace the Christian faith is because it is true, period. We are not Christians because it makes us feel better, helps our marriages, makes us better people, or gives us hope for the future and hope after death, all valuable consequences of our trust in Christ. Rather, we are Christians because we believe it is the Truth about the ultimate nature of reality.
But in a “post-truth” age, the assertion of Truth is problematic because emotions and personal opinion have become authoritative for the subjective Sovereign Self. As the quote above implies, what is most important in a “post-truth” age is opinion, emotion, and personal belief.
This focus on the subjective is why many of our neighbors, dare I say most, have a hard time with our declaration that Christianity is The Truth. It seems arrogant to them. How can we have the final say on what is real and true? Or if we say that Jesus is the only way to heaven, to them that seems manifestly unfair. They likely don’t believe anyone can actually know that there is only one way. What seems more reasonable to them in our pluralistic secular culture is that there are many ways to God, and that truth is what we make it. We must be . . . wait for it . . . tolerant! Of all views.
I agree, we should be tolerant, but tolerance doesn’t mean Truth doesn’t exist, or that every view is equally valid. It wouldn’t take long to prove such absurdity is logically invalid. People who think this way don’t realize, or are unwilling to admit, that their infinite tolerance for all views is self-contradictory, and leads to . . . intolerance. D.A. Carson wrote an entire book about it called, The Intolerance of Tolerance. If you think everything should be tolerated, what do you do with someone who thinks your views are intolerable (or morally wrong)? You destroy them! They cannot be allowed to exist! We see such intolerance most blatantly among secular liberals who despise traditional Judeo-Christian morality, as we saw displayed in the drive to redefine marriage.
Those who think that Truth is infinitely malleable should have second thoughts about wanting their views to be True (see what I mean about self-contradictory) because if you jettison Truth all you have left is the Will to Power, might makes right. That’s why totalitarianism, whether of the soft variety we see on college campuses today, or the bloody versions we saw in the 20th Century, is the logical conclusion of relativism. Without the agreement that there is some kind of true north we call Truth, power not persuasion is all we have to settle disputes. Ironically, getting rid of Truth makes true tolerance impossible.