Pilate asked the question long ago: “What is truth?”
Maybe Jesus’ silence in the wake of that question means we should not seek to answer it either, but I am troubled by the thought that many of our contemporary philosophies and theologies begin with the conviction that Pilate’s question is non-sense.
Put simply — surely too simply — much modern theology appears to be built upon philosophical assumptions that deny the existence of truth as a real thing that is independent of our ability to grasp it. In place of such realist conceptions of truth, we have a variety of conceptions that all more or less limit “truth” to whatever we are able to agree about. Such conceptions make truth dependent on human cognition and perception, and argue for some form of cultural, social, or linguistic construction of all truths.
This is not particularly problematic if you are an atheist, pragmatic philosophy professor. But to deny the existence of truth surely must not be compatible with Christianity that has any semblance to the historic, orthodox, Trinitarian faith of the last 2,000 years.
I know my thinking here is poorly informed and woefully ignorant of lots of reading that I should have done before venturing into these waters. But as I read more contemporary theology that appears to stand on the backs on philosophers, who not only deny the existence of God but also deny the possibility that anything could exist outside the ability of humans to conceive of it, I find myself wondering how any of their theological conclusions could be useful or sound. If you start from the position that God does not exist and cannot possibly exist, how can you do theology at all?
Paul wrote that we see now as in a mirror darkly but that one day we will see clearly. Much of our theology today appears to be inspired by philosophers who argue that all there is and all we can ever expect is the darkness.
[For those wishing to wade into these waters, I found this article by Alvin Plantinga challenging but helpful.]