Truth through time

In what could be called the Pre-Modern era, or before the 1600’s, there was a strong belief in the supernatural, namely God. Furthermore, people viewed oral and written traditions, like the Bible, to have authority to explain all of reality. The Bible, for instance, gave us the explanation of where we came from, why we’re here, and what happens in the end. It is a “big story” or “metanarrative,” an “overarching explanation of what constitutes reality.” For the Pre-Modern person, truth is objective, corresponding to reality, and may be known through the Bible or through reason. Truth is “the relationship between the real, objective world and statements that correspond to the real world. This is called the correspondence theory of truth.” The statement, “The moon orbits the earth” is an example of a truth statement corresponding to reality.

Entering the Modern period from approximately 1600-1960, there grew skepticism of the supernatural. This is not to say all people abandoned their belief in God altogether; for some there was a doubting, while for others there was total disbelief and a falling away from the faith. What replaced God was reason and science. Science would give humanity the “big story” of all reality—the explanation of where we came from, why we’re here, and what happens in the end. Evolution, the Big Bang, and the accompanying theories stem from this time. What remains consistent from the Pre-Modern time, however, is an attitude toward the truth; it is still objective, corresponding to reality, and may be known by discovering facts about the world.

However, today’s Post-Modern period, stemming from 1960 on, seems to have problems with any claims to knowledge and truth. Not only is the supernatural dismissed, but also science as well. There is a rejection not only of Creation but also of Evolution to give us the “big story” of all reality. There is no “metanarrative,” an overarching story that defines reality. No one was there to see either the first day of Creation or the Big Bang, so nobody knows. We can’t know. Truth and reality are subjective, not objective. You create them. In addition, truth and reality are also constructed by societies, and all societies are different, so there are different truths. Post-Modernism’s most famous expression is, ‘That’s true for you, but not for me.” It was the first cultural change based on a shift in the source of truth, not some scientific discovery or medical breakthrough.

This worldview now permeates everything—schools, movies, television, music, government—often without our awareness. The next blog will summarize the claims of Post-Modernism so they are more readily discerned.

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