Last night I wrote about three different understandings of truth. Of course this does not exhaust the "theories" concerning truth. Some would not root truth in philosophical terms and ways, but would understand truth in the postmodern sense, as a way of life, in cultural terms. This understanding of truth is a linguistic approach, where words have meanings and is text and culturally bound.
But, last night I suggested three ways of understanding that I think follow historical development of philosophical stances toward truth. The first, correspondence was useful in understand the Middle Ages. The Church, the text and the people represented truth, as they corresponded to a transcentdent realm. This view is held in evangelical and consevative circles where Church and/or text, point back to God.
The second view of truth is the coherent view, which is a scientific understanding. The Modern Age where critical inquiry was useful in determining what was real according to scientific investigation. Evidence found in archeological science supported historical science. These disciplines brought a more comprehensive view of ancient history and culture, which undermined the Church's claims on truth. Just recently the James ossuary which supported the historical Jesus was viewed as fradulant. Other findings show that Christian faith is not spcecial revelation, but one of many attempts by man to understand the transcentdent. The Bible, as understood by conservatives is a text of coherency, but textual criticism shows that Scripture reveals diverse views, peoples, and languages. The text has no coherent meaning, which leaves the believer in the quandary of questions concerning faith.
Pragmatism is the postmodern view, where there is no universal, but only individual understandings. These understandings are cultural understandings and identification factors for the individual. Because of the diversity and fragmentation to universal truth claims, which is highly problematic for conservatives, there has been an attempt to build some understanding of universal truth. Some have fallen back on the text, and "replacement theory", where the Church replaces Israel, as the "covenant people of God". This view understands the Church as mandated to herald the "Kingdom of God" on earth. Questions arise in ethics, where it concerns diversity issues in a modern society. Others, in relying on the text, limit their understanding to the early Church as a way to understand truth. Not understanding fully the early Church's context, these believers try to create "communities of faith". This is the emergent movement. Others have fallen back on theological rendering of the Trinity.
All of these attempts to create a transcendental and universal realm are short-sighted. Whether one creates an "Old Testament People of God" implementing God's Kingdom upon others, like Islam; creating local communities of faith, as the early Church; or create identification factors, such as Trinitarian attempts, all have ethical problems in bringing about an understanding unity in diversity. Postmodernity has attempted to bring about a "new identity" through these means of creating a unified identity, because the Church has an identification crisis.
Where does the Church go from here, as pragmatism is a means to accomplish things on earth, while having no need for the transcendent. Is the transcdent necessary? Some believe, not, as just as long as needs are met in the present, then it doesn't matter about God, the afterlife, or the Church. What do you think? Do you think that the transcendent is necessary? Is the church and if so, what for?
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