MULTIPLICITY OF DISCOURSE ON TRUTH
The word “Truth” is used in a multiplicity of senses in the context of “Scientific Truth Claims,” “Mathematical Truth Claims,” and a pluralism of truth claims in our postmodern cafeteria of religious alternatives.
Our postmodern revolutions in hermeneutics and epistemology have redirected our attention away from the “message of ???? speaker” to the relevance of the message for the auditors. This entails the death of True Truth independent of any readers’ emotional evaluation. Here we engage Fish’s deconstructive hermeneutic--Is there a text in the house? NO! There is no inherent meaning in any text--only the relevance to the reader/audience is involved in deciphering the semantic code. Our culture has moved from Positivism to Historicism to Contextualism to Syncretism to the Postmodern Tolerance/Diversity Mode. For the postmodern mind, there is no metanarrative for critiquing alternative, often contradictory, truth claims, therefore leaving only the “power struggles” of tribalism to adjudicate between alternatives in the Secular City, where mere dialogues often accomplish nothing constructive (e.g., We have had thirteen years of lying and deception from Sadam Hussein. Anti War voices have not addressed the phenomenon of “Evil” -- Principalities and Powers!)
See some important literature on Contextualization and Syncretism, Tolerance, Diversity, etc.--see my papers, “Christian Witness in The Territory of Terrorism: The Context of Cultural Relativism”; “Contextualization in Context”; Bruce J. Nechalls, Contextualization: A Theology of Gospel and Culture (World Evangelical Fellowship Theological Commission (Inter Varstiy Press, 1979); B. H. Kato, “The Gospel, Cultural Context and Religious Syncretism” in Let The Earth Hear His Voice (pp. 216-218). For an excellent study on Syncretism, see W.A. Visser’t Hooft, No Other Name (London: SCM Press, 1963); Harry Sawyer, “Comments on--Is There More Than One Way To Do Therapy?” in The Gospel in Context (1978):34-35; James Packer, “Hermeneutics and Biblical Authority,” from Themelios Journal, 1 (1975):4; Rene’ Padilla, “Hermeneutics in Context,” Gospel in Culture (Bermuda, 1978); A.C. Thieslton, “Understanding God’s Word Today,” Obeying Christ In A Changing World, editor J.R.W. Stott (London: Collins, 1977, I, 90-120; M.M. Thomas, Salvation and Humanization (Bangalore, CIS, 1971); Klaas Runia, “The Trinitarian Nature of God as Creator and Man’s Authentic Relationship with Him: The Christian Worldview,” in Let The Earth Hear His Voice, p. 1009--excellent statement of “God Talk” in Postmodern context); and Leslie Newbigen, The Relevance of Trinitarian Doctrine for Today’s Mission (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1963).
James D. Strauss