Elemental Season 1 - Day 20

“Epistemology”

So is this really a question of truth, or is it a question of what you can know and what you can’t know? Or is it a question of what is possible to know, or is it something else? 

The philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and belief is called Epistemology, and it is a philosophical discussion that is important. Over the years the idea of studying this area has been rife with arguments, fear, misunderstanding, and deep deconstruction of what we can even hold as truth. I remember reading a book called “The Death of Truth” when I was in my doctoral program. It lamented the fact that people were no longer willing to admit to something being the absolute truth. The book went on to chastise a new worldview as not behaving as it should. 

I found the book pretty overdone in its approach. I have always found dealing with worldviews to be a gumbo of competing ideals that fight for our attention and our assumption. We could go on and on about how Modernism and Post-modernism are at each other’s throats, and how a Meta-modernistic approach to the world might just be a transitional worldview, etc, etc, etc. 

There is a lot to unpack, much to understand, and even more to argue. But I like to think of things this way: Is there absolute truth? Absolutely, and his name is Jesus. That is the anchor to my ship, that is the flag that I want to plant, and that is the hope of humanity. And I believe that Jesus is truth, 100%. Not what I know about Jesus, but rather, what Jesus is. I don’t believe in the words that I use to speak of Jesus, but I believe in Jesus himself, his revelation of God, and his partnership with the Holy Spirit in order to help me recognize that he is all I need. This is what I believe “truth” to be. 

So what about the other stuff? What about doctrine, beliefs,  practice, and all that other stuff we live and breath and do every day? 

Well, that is our liturgy. That is our work. The work of the people that we are called to be. We will spend the rest of our lives seeking a way to understand how we put this truth of Jesus into practice. And chances are that we will find that the way that was laid out before us makes sense, and doesn’t make sense either. The things our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worked out are both beautiful, and sacred, and they have meaning and they don’t always work. It is the both/and paradox of the Christian life. 

It is exciting. 

It is exhausting. 

And it is the life we are called to. 

  1. How can we really know anything at all? 
  2. What do you consider to be true? 
  3. If Jesus is the way, truth, and life, what does that mean for us? 

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