Conversation Stopper or Starter?

My Tuesday morning reading group began a new book (A Place for Truth) this week. The book is edited by Dallas Willard, but has about a dozen contributing authors, ranging from leading evangelical thinkers like Timothy Keller and Os Guiness, to influential atheists like Harry Lewis and Peter Singer. Each chapter is taken from various lectures, debates, and panel discussions at Veritas Forum events. The purpose of this forum is to address the BIG questions (who is man? what is a good life? is there a reason to live a good life as opposed to a bad one?) in universities around the world. As a matter of fact, the University of Tennessee will be hosting a Veritas event over the next two days!

This book promises to be a great one for group discussion, as nobody is going to agree with everything written in it! It has proved to be quite thought-provoking so far. This week’s chapter, called “Is There Life After Truth?” was by Catholic scholar Richard John Neuhaus. In his exploration of the nature and existence of objective, authoritative Truth, he observed that in the academy today, Pontius Pilate’s question “What is truth?” (John 18:38) is often a conversation stopper, because many in the academic world deny the existence of real truth. Instead, Neuhaus writes, that question should be a conversation starter, because it is one of the most foundational questions of our existence. I couldn’t agree more!

Let me share with you Neuhaus’s description of the modern world:

In a world in which people have stopped talking about truth or have despaired of truth or have agreed with those who say that Pontius Pilate’s question was a conversation stopper and not a conversation starter — in such a world there is no way to deliberate the question how we ought to order our life together. There’s only power and propaganda and grievance and anger and caucuses and anticaucuses and special interest groups and victims and vengeance. That’s the kind of world we increasingly live in, because we’ve stopped believing, or so many have stopped believing, that there is a truth that we can deliberate together.

What a sad state of affairs! Thanks be to God that he has given us his Word, which provides for us a firm foundation on which to stand. There IS such a thing as truth, and it is the Word of God!

If you’d like to join us on Tuesday mornings, we’d love to have you. We meet at 6:30 each week at Perk-Up Espresso. You’re not too late to catch up as we’ve only just started!

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