Living in a Post-Truth World (Part 2)
by Matt Hunt
Yesterday I outlined the challenge of living in a post-truth world – a challenge to our objective understanding of ‘truth’, an objectivity that is fundamental to a soundly rooted society as Ravi Zacharias and others point out.
However, I also raised the suggestion that the challenge of a post-truth world is not merely to the reality of truth. The post-truth concept challenges at a deeper level how modernity has taught us to embrace truth. Truth was around centuries before the Enlightenment and its scientific method. Does the concept of post-truth also give us a way to positively lead the world to still seek what is true?
It can. Our world is dominated by stories. And not just any stories, but big epic adventures embracing not just a forest in 18th century Europe or a fairy tale prince and princess, but battles between good and evil across galaxies and eons of time. Earth is not the centre of human experience in these stories, but rather the whole of the created cosmos and all of time. Truth is uncovered here not from evidence-based, objective, scientific verification, but rather by the impact of the story on our hearts AND minds as we engage and go away saying “there is something just right about that story …” From Tolkien and Lewis to Star Wars, JK Rowling, and the Marvel movies, the stories of truth surround our world today, and our younger generations in particular. Just note the success of the ZING stores!
The truth is (pun intended) the post-modern world requires more than the modernist scientific approach to truth. For centuries before the Enlightenment, people still found truth but through the stories and myths that taught those truths: not merely some ‘moral to the story’, but rather an encapsulation of the truths that define God and his work. In their book Homer to Harry Potter, Dickenson and O’Hara write about the truth in the gospel and the historical setting in which that truth is declared,
“The truth of myth, like the truth of the Gospels, does not depend on history any more than it depends upon human language. The truth stands beyond history, enters history, informs history. Human history and human language testify to the truth of myth; they do not contain it. Thus, historical truth is not the only type of truth that may be found in fairy story. The fairy story of the gospels not only gives us a historical truth about a particular character in a period of history approximately two millennia ago, it also gives us truth about the nature of God independent of those events.”
Dickerson MT, O’Hara, D. From Homer to Harry Potter, Brazos Press, 2006, 34.
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