I’ve had numerous conversations over the past few years, and even some in recent weeks, which cause me to think that I need to start a long series of more elaborate posts on what I mean when I argue against “absolute/objective” truth. At a deep level, since I speak mostly with Christians, this kind of talk is scary. For me to have reached this conclusion, and still remain a Christian within a strong confessional tradition, appears from the outside to be a contradiction in terms. Yet it’s been a long journey. As such, when I have one hour to converse with someone, there is literally no possible way for me to help a person understand how I’ve reached my conclusion, even worse, to have them be able to share my conclusions.

So, in an effort to extend some of those conversations onto this blog, and in fact, to inspire more of them, I’ve put together an outline of what I’ll be developing in the coming days/weeks/months to lay out the issues in this particularly sensitive and complicated topic.

No doubt, as the list of posts develops, some of the material will overlap. As I write, I may feel the need to amend this outline, which I will simply do without notifying the reader. Every post will be linked to the points on this outline, and I’ll begin every post with a link to this outline, so the reader (whether s/he has been following the whole time, or is new to the convo) can keep up with where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

The outline below is meant to divide the journey up into manageable chunks. Each point is strategically placed so that by the end of each post, some of the questions raised in the reader’s mind will be anticipated within the next post. This will give the reader time to read, reflect, and wrestle with the content before I post again. Thus, not every post will answer everything, but I hope by the end, I will have answered most things and provided both some tools to find other answers and great fodder for further conversation.

So without further ado, the tentative outline. The first post should appear within a few days.

Situating the Conversation about Absolute Truth

–          Foundationalism

–          Non-(or anti-) foundationalism

–          The Enlightenment

–          Trying to argue like science

The Affective Element of the Conversation

–          Fear of real doubt

–          Is morality up for grabs?

–          I stake my life on the promises of God – does all that go our the window now?

The “Suppressed Binary Opposite” – what are you trying to protect?

–          The God who “must” be

–          Logocentrism – words “hook up” with reality

–          Correspondence and Coherence

–          Morality and our way of life

Descriptive and Prescriptive Arguments

–          Logic as a construct

–          The “self-referential argument” accusation

–          What type of argumentation we’re actually practicing here

–          What type of argumentation contemporary apologetics is using

Belief and Presuppositions

–          The intimate connection

–          Faith as fundamental to all knowing

–          The a priori and how we can’t escape it

–          Some examples of the a priori

–          Examining our presuppositions like Socrates

Certainty, Knowledge, Doubt

–          Whether or not Certainty is possible

–          Whether or not we’re stuck with only radical doubt

–          The kinds of knowledge

–          The marginalization of certain kinds of knowledge

–          The provisionality of knowledge

Language, Discourse, Discursive Practices

–          The “Prison-House of Language”? – are we all stuck in language?

–          Discourse as our way of getting along in the world

–          Discursive practices as constitutive of life, learning, knowing

Claiming, Asserting, Believing

–          Exploring what we’re actually up to

–          Tolerance and other beliefs/believers

Persuasion, Argumentation, Justification – Reasons to Believe

–          What makes beliefs believable?

–          If knowledge is provisional, why try to argue?

–          If knowledge is provisional and we can’t be certain, what counts as justification?

Postmodernism

–          Do you really want to understand it?

–          Once you label me, you negate me

–          What postmodernism is actually up to

–          Logically prior to modernism

Pluralism as Reality

–          If knowledge is provisional, there is room for a variety of views

–          Does that mean that all are equally valid?

–          Are various practices within one tradition valid, or must there be uniformity?

–          Does unity equal uniformity?

Christianity as one view among many

–          Is this a descriptive argument or a prescriptive argument?

–          What are the consequences?

Religion and Truth

–          The religiousness of all views (or, all views are faith based, or faith is constitutive of all knowledge)

–          Truth as a concept internally defined by every world view

Radical Faith

–          If there isn’t any absolute truth, what now?

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