Without stepping into the mud slinging fight, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss the Kavanaugh hearings and how it relates to the diminishing definition of Truth in our culture.
We have been in a post modern world since the last half of the twentieth century and the watering down of Truth through relativism has spawned phrases like “religious truth” or “your truth.” When there is a disagreement, the standard reply given by many post modern’s is “that is true for you, but not for me.” As a recent example, Senator Corey Booker complemented Dr. Ford on bravely sharing “your truth” in the hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Much was made of the emotions from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh in the judicial hearing on September 27. Their emotional testimony was used for evidence and counter evidence in support for both sides of the argument. Hearing comments from across America like “I believe his/her testimony because they sounded so believable.” This is an example of an additional shift in the priority of Truth. Emotion has taken a higher priority over Truth. Evidence takes a back seat to emotion.
As a student pastor, who engages students in apologetics I have seen this shift of thinking in conversation with students. One can present compelling evidence to students and still have them give you the “deer in the headlights” look when it goes against the cultural norm of the day. I first noticed this several years ago when I attended a Secular Student Alliance chapter in local high school. At the outset of the meeting students introduced themselves and quickly stated their worldview. The question was posed, “which is the right view of reality?” There were multiple students who felt that the competing views were all the right. There was no conflict. I tried to press the issue in my disbelief and give an example to illustrate my point that they could not all be right.
Mark Matlock has offered some insight on the importance of relationships with students and the acceptance of Truth. In the book Apologetics for a New Generation, edited by Sean McDowell, Matlock discusses how students know and find meaning. Matlock noticed that “students who held to a core of seven basic doctrinal beliefs differed profoundly from their peers when it came to beliefs in supernatural and experimenting with occult activities.”1 As he dug in deeper he discovered that it wasn’t the students personality, what type of thinker they were, or even if they were initially open or hostile to Christianity. “Rather, those who were able to absorb propositional statements of doctrinal truths best were those who were emotionally healthy.”2
Matlock cites work from Doctor Dan Sigel who divides how the human brain learns and remembers things both “explicitly” and “implicitly.” These are our active and passive ways we learn through all the various experiences we undergo in life. Matlock notes that these two types of learning must be paired together in order to have maximum impact in helping students know and discover truth.
What should apologist and church leaders do in response to this loss of Truth? I suggest three areas in which to set goals and continue to seek after.
- Continue to seek after godly relationship with those they disciple. It is more than an hour or two a week in a classroom setting. Pastors and teachers should assist their classroom learning of biblical doctrine or philosophical Truth with additional implicit learning times through relationships and activities.
- Continue to teach/preach biblical doctrine that will strengthen the family against a culture that seeks to destroy it at every level. As the emotional health of our culture continues to decline, we must confront the perceived cultural norms with logic , reason, and biblical truth. Parents and students will benefit from godly examples from Scripture that will help them amidst the many voices of our time.
- Continue to teach/preach the core aspects of philosophy, logic, and reason that firmly lay a foundation for Truth to stand. Yes, academia has been radically flooded with liberal ideas, relative truth, and privatization, but we simply cannot give up the fight for Truth even though we might feel like we are facing a tidal wave against time tested principles of logic, reason, and Truth. You may not be able to sway the masses, but use your scope of influence to the maximum potential.
- Mark Matlock, Apologetics for a New Generation. 2009. Pg. 137.
- Matlock, Pg. 138.