A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

What Is Truth: Wrestling with Absolutism, Relativism and Alternative Facts

April 07, 2021 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 21
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
What Is Truth: Wrestling with Absolutism, Relativism and Alternative Facts
Chapters
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
What Is Truth: Wrestling with Absolutism, Relativism and Alternative Facts
Apr 07, 2021 Season 1 Episode 21
Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker

In this episode, Kyle and Randy geek out a little bit about truth.

Truth is a tricky term these days, with everyone believing their own "facts" or having their own truths and alternative facts. How does a philosopher see and pursue truth? What is a healthy pastoral way to approach and pursue truth? Is there such a thing as truth at all, let alone absolute truth, as so many Christians attest to?

Our resident pastor and philosopher dive in and bring us into a really fun and healthy conversation about truth that our society would do well to engage in.

The whiskey we sample in this episode is Four Roses Small Batch Select from the always stellar Four Roses Bourbon

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Kyle and Randy geek out a little bit about truth.

Truth is a tricky term these days, with everyone believing their own "facts" or having their own truths and alternative facts. How does a philosopher see and pursue truth? What is a healthy pastoral way to approach and pursue truth? Is there such a thing as truth at all, let alone absolute truth, as so many Christians attest to?

Our resident pastor and philosopher dive in and bring us into a really fun and healthy conversation about truth that our society would do well to engage in.

The whiskey we sample in this episode is Four Roses Small Batch Select from the always stellar Four Roses Bourbon

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

[Music]

00:14

welcome to a pastor and a philosopher

00:16

walk into a bar

00:17

the podcast where we mix a sometimes

00:19

weird but always delicious cocktail of

00:21

theology

00:22

philosophy and spirituality

00:24

[Music]

00:28

welcome everyone to pastor and

00:30

philosopher welcome to a bar

00:31

uh we're going to be discussing

00:32

something today that is

00:34

pretty important to both of us and

00:36

something that we've

00:38

talked about having an episode on in the

00:40

future and now is that time so we're

00:42

both pretty excited about this our topic

00:43

today

00:44

is truth the philosophical perspective

00:47

and the pastoral perspective

00:49

on truth so it's gonna be heady it's

00:51

gonna be nerdy

00:53

buckle your seat belts it's gonna be a

00:54

good time

00:56

fun times well we have

00:59

a really wonderful beverage in front of

01:01

us that i'd love to to talk about to

01:03

sample i've been

01:04

wanting to sample this so today we have

01:07

four roses

01:08

single batch select this is four roses

01:11

i believe this is their top offering

01:14

retails for about 60 or 70 bucks and

01:17

it's a

01:18

it's a high proof it's a it's a i'm not

01:21

going to say hot because i haven't tried

01:22

it yet but it's

01:23

it's a high cut what's the 52 50

01:26

2 so that's on the higher end of the

01:29

spectrum

01:30

and four roses says that they use two

01:32

different mash pills and five different

01:34

yeast strains

01:35

to create 10 unique bourbon recipes in

01:38

of those recipes six are blended

01:39

together to make this the small batch

01:41

select so it's basically just a blend of

01:44

a bunch of their

01:44

best stuff that they sample and they

01:47

think this is their

01:49

their idea of the best they've got so

01:50

all right let's see if they're right the

01:52

look of it

01:52

is really gorgeous it's dark carmelly

01:56

colored

01:56

it's sticking to the there's a word for

01:58

this but i don't know it but it's still

01:59

it's

02:00

it's got great legs i mean it's sticking

02:03

to the side of our glasses like nobody's

02:04

business

02:05

really good i'm smelling it which i

02:07

always do first

02:08

you can hold it back a little further to

02:09

smell this one it you don't have to get

02:11

up in there that's that's complex though

02:15

the nose of it at least yeah floral

02:18

delicious

02:20

spicy oaky

02:22

[Music]

02:24

whoa man i like that it's not very often

02:28

i get

02:29

knocked back by a bourbon that's

02:30

delicious that's really good

02:34

yeah it's nice caramel pepper

02:38

it's i mean for me the only the main

02:41

word for it is complex

02:43

i mean we've just tried some bourbons in

02:45

whiskey's that are just straightforward

02:48

a couple notes but almost single note

02:51

this is on the opposite end of that

02:54

it's a little hot so you gotta you know

02:55

exhale a little bit get ready for it but

02:57

because of the alcohol content but man

03:00

it's there's so much going on there

03:02

now i'm getting like apples like fall

03:04

fruit

03:06

like it brings the the brighter berry

03:08

stuff in some but now i'm getting that

03:10

deep dark

03:11

almost tart apple

03:15

yeah there's something fresh about it i

03:16

don't know mm-hmm one of the uh

03:19

tasting notes i read which i don't get

03:20

but it was like spearmint gum

03:23

interesting interesting i couldn't quite

03:25

see that i wish he hadn't said that

03:27

i don't know i love i do love though

03:30

when

03:30

you know you'll read reviews and they'll

03:33

talk about the pro

03:34

the flavor profiles and then you taste

03:36

it yourself and sometimes that helps

03:38

and then sometimes they'll say something

03:39

like spear spring and gum which i can

03:41

respect a person who tastes spearmint

03:43

gum in something in a bourbon

03:44

but i and

03:47

but that's also fun that you can taste

03:49

the same thing and taste so many

03:50

different things

03:51

it's probably just the coolness of all

03:53

of the alcohol evaporating like that's

03:54

i mean booze that's what that is

03:58

yeah um

04:01

there's not seat and my knee bourbons i

04:04

either don't like the finish

04:05

or i don't like the the the start of it

04:08

but i like the finish or opposite

04:09

yeah there's no bad experience solid all

04:11

the way through not a long finish but

04:14

satisfying it's rich it's got a kind of

04:17

a rich mouth feel to it and uh

04:21

that depth of flavor brings um like

04:24

really deep woody flavors

04:25

it's like allspice and cloves

04:29

finishes off with some of that glass yep

04:31

finishes off with some of that

04:33

library leather note um

04:37

this is this is one i would add 10 drops

04:39

of water to it

04:41

i got some right there maybe i will

04:46

i'm tempted to add some water to it

04:48

because i'm i'd be interested to know

04:50

what it does but i almost don't want to

04:51

because i like so much what i'm tasting

04:53

right now

04:58

what do you think should i add some

04:59

water it definitely brings the pepper

05:02

out more

05:05

i don't know if it improved it actually

05:07

i i kind of like the

05:09

yeah i'm not going to do it the first

05:10

time i like this a lot

05:13

yeah and if you're noticing friends that

05:16

we're we got a little quiet i feel like

05:19

beer

05:19

brings out some fun times bourbon makes

05:22

things serious do you know what i'm

05:23

talking about whiskey's contemplative

05:25

it's like it's like reading a book but

05:26

silently like in the corner by yourself

05:29

well and you gotta actually like start

05:31

turning inward if you're gonna start

05:32

naming some of these flavors and

05:34

and articulate the experi experience

05:36

yeah

05:38

well friends four roses small batch

05:40

select

05:42

this is one that for me 60 or 70 is like

05:46

way high on what i would spend on a

05:48

whiskey this is one that

05:49

i'll put on my my shelf and only bring

05:52

it out for the special occasions because

05:53

this is good stuff

05:54

you said this one could go on my shelf

05:56

is that what i said i think so

05:58

my shelves are all full of them

05:59

[Laughter]

06:01

i mean my man from story hill bkc hand

06:04

delivered it to me so

06:07

we'll see about that

06:11

well thank joe for us this is really

06:12

awesome yeah really good

06:14

well cheers so one of the main things

06:18

that i've observed

06:19

in the course of our young podcast here

06:22

is

06:23

the way that we think about truth and by

06:25

we

06:26

mean me and kyle primarily but

06:29

elliott and i and kyle the way we think

06:31

about truth the way we

06:32

talk about truth how we hold that word

06:35

and that idea

06:36

is quite different and it's different in

06:39

a way that i really enjoy

06:41

i really enjoy being challenged and

06:44

pushed

06:44

and being forced and challenged to

06:46

critically think about what i kind of

06:48

take for granted

06:49

and i really enjoyed around truth

06:51

because i've to be honest with you i've

06:53

been uncomfortable for a long time

06:56

with how many christians and christian

06:59

leaders throw around this word

07:00

truth just like it's you know

07:04

just on the tip of their tongue all the

07:06

time and like they have the corner on

07:08

the market of truth

07:10

it drives me crazy to be honest a little

07:12

bit and

07:13

as you talk about truth kyle i've really

07:16

enjoyed it and you always say we'll save

07:17

this for another episode we'll save that

07:18

for another episode

07:19

here we are i'm excited to hear about um

07:22

what your

07:23

idea of truth what philosophers think of

07:26

when they think of the word truth and

07:27

the concept and what's

07:28

what are our options what's what's

07:30

attainable what's just a nonsensical way

07:33

to talk about it

07:34

because again when when you hear

07:36

christians talking about truth it's

07:37

usually in regard to sexuality

07:39

well we we know truth or whether it's

07:42

signs and creation

07:43

creationism we know truth or christians

07:46

will refer to the scriptures as

07:49

truth absolute truth even sometimes

07:52

right

07:53

the scriptures that's problematic for me

07:55

and i'm a pastor for crying out loud i

07:57

have

07:57

i have issues with that so i think

07:59

philosophy is helpful in that

08:01

it seems like philosophers are able to

08:03

take a very

08:04

objective view of something like truth

08:07

you you have as few ulterior motives

08:11

much less i would say than most

08:12

christian leaders can we say that well

08:14

we we uh we're very intentional about

08:17

making our motives clear when they're

08:20

when they're present

08:21

and uh yeah building the method

08:24

so that the motives are either left out

08:27

or at least the problematic aspects of

08:29

them are left out

08:30

or so that they're incorporated but in

08:32

an intentional way i'll say that yeah

08:34

and i would just uh you know burst your

08:36

bubble a little bit kyle and whatever

08:38

philosopher's other

08:40

other other philosophers are out there

08:41

listening yeah i mean you can be kind of

08:43

arrogant about this idea of truth right

08:45

which i mean philosophers can be

08:46

arrogant about a lot of things let's be

08:48

honest

08:48

but uh i mean have you ever read uh

08:51

plato i mean socrates was the most

08:52

arrogant bastard

08:57

i mean just the question have you ever

09:00

read plato is kind of arrogant right off

09:02

the bat

09:02

from the jump

09:07

but do you guys know what i'm talking

09:08

about when i say how christians toss

09:09

around the word

09:10

truth like it's kind of a weapon or like

09:13

they have

09:13

the full market on that word concept

09:16

idea

09:17

yeah so as the one in the room who

09:20

studied this

09:20

the least i i think maybe if i talk more

09:24

experientially just when i think about

09:25

truth like what that

09:27

what that means to me and i i realized

09:29

in

09:30

knowing we were going to talk about this

09:31

day i was thinking like what is what is

09:32

truth and how do i relate to it i

09:34

realize i've had this increasingly

09:35

complex

09:36

relationship with truth because belief

09:39

in something

09:40

as true gives gives us that's what

09:42

creates the platform from which you can

09:44

critique or reject things other than

09:46

that as

09:47

untrue or false so

09:50

i guess that's one option we can we can

09:52

reject them as false in this kind of

09:53

active

09:54

confrontational way uh and this is oh a

09:57

lot of my

09:58

context and history is around this very

10:00

moralistic focus um

10:01

like you said like we've cornered the

10:03

market on truth and this is this is ours

10:05

and so

10:06

there's that or you have to be okay to

10:08

just live

10:09

in the this unresolved space where

10:12

i say something's true and you say that

10:14

something else is true and we're just

10:16

not going to resolve that

10:17

which i guess is okay it sounds like the

10:18

world we live in yeah uh or then there's

10:21

this

10:21

this concept of like there's your truth

10:23

and there's my truth and we all have

10:24

our truth and i i just can't really wrap

10:27

my head around that it feels

10:29

i like that but it doesn't make sense to

10:31

me yeah

10:32

so i i guess where i've landed is i

10:35

i've been wrong enough times and i've

10:37

been assertive

10:38

about what is true enough times to get

10:41

myself in trouble

10:42

to where okay so now i'm not gonna do

10:44

that anymore

10:45

i still see certain things as true but

10:47

the scope of what i'm willing to

10:49

actually

10:50

argue about is much less be because

10:54

i know i've changed my mind on stuff

10:56

that i used to think was really core to

10:57

who i am and so i don't know what i'm

10:59

gonna believe

11:00

next week or five years from now beyond

11:03

a very narrow set of of things that i

11:05

would say are

11:07

actually true and even in those i'm

11:09

going to be hesitant to try to impose

11:10

that on anybody else which creates

11:12

conflicts in me around things

11:14

concepts like uh sharing my faith or

11:17

uh or trying to spread the gospel and

11:19

scar

11:20

scare quotes whatever that means so

11:22

that's

11:23

that's how i'm sitting with truth right

11:25

now i'm looking forward to hearing you

11:27

guys

11:28

go a level down from that yeah and i

11:30

mean i feel like

11:32

many many christians think when they

11:34

think of truth and when they think of

11:36

what

11:36

their idea of truth is or what they have

11:39

in their hands when that they call truth

11:41

we think it's very objective we think

11:44

that this is concrete objective real

11:46

when i want to say that's probably not

11:49

true

11:50

um when when there's no way what do you

11:52

mean by that

11:53

when there's no way of proving something

11:56

outright besides using your sacred text

11:59

it's probably fairly subjective and

12:01

something that we'd do well to hold with

12:03

some humility and with

12:05

and hold loosely but here's the pastoral

12:07

side of me i just want to

12:08

i know that we have listeners who are

12:09

listening right now and already your

12:11

hackles are

12:12

straight up in the air and you're you

12:15

are

12:16

either if you haven't turned this off

12:17

yet you're getting ready to push that

12:19

button

12:21

or you're getting ready to get real

12:22

angry and you're already judging what we

12:24

say

12:25

i just wanna i just wanna pastorally

12:28

invite you

12:29

into this conversation to listen from a

12:32

place

12:33

less from judgment because you have this

12:35

choice to make now in this moment you

12:37

can listen

12:38

from a place of being a learner and

12:40

listening

12:42

or you can listen from a place of

12:43

judgment one of those

12:45

will be very productive and you might

12:47

not change your mind you might if you

12:48

sit as a learner here

12:50

and say i just want to listen to these

12:52

guys because they might know things that

12:53

i don't or maybe they don't

12:55

but if you listen as a learner you're

12:57

going to actually walk out of this

12:59

with integrity and with having actually

13:01

listened

13:02

and maybe even your position will feel

13:04

even stronger to you

13:06

the other side if you're listening in

13:08

judgment and already poking holes and

13:10

getting angry and get your butts

13:11

butt cheeks are are tightened there's

13:14

very

13:15

you're gonna you're not gonna benefit

13:17

from this conversation whatsoever

13:20

sorry i'm sorry if your hackles are

13:21

straight up and your butt cheeks are

13:23

tight you're going to be really

13:24

uncomfortable yeah man

13:24

just in general with this episode take

13:27

some deep breaths

13:29

so i'm just inviting you into a place of

13:32

non-judgment

13:33

listening learning and then when you're

13:35

done with this you can think what you

13:36

want to think

13:38

so kyle that being said can you give us

13:41

just a cliff notes version i know we're

13:43

talking to professor kyle here

13:45

professor whitaker give us a cliff's

13:48

nose version of

13:49

the philosophical pursuit of truth and

13:51

the philosophical view of truth

13:54

yeah okay i do want to say that we're

13:57

recording this on november 19th which

13:59

just happens to be world philosophy day

14:01

uh

14:02

so it it makes me kind of happy i feel

14:04

like you've said that before

14:05

like are there real numerous world

14:07

philosophies

14:10

yeah yeah i didn't even know there was a

14:12

world philosophy day until today

14:13

so uh it made me pretty happy that we're

14:16

talking about truth

14:17

there you go so in a certain sense truth

14:20

is the whole point of philosophy so

14:22

we've talked about

14:23

socrates on previous episodes and the

14:26

pursuit of wisdom the pursuit of

14:27

knowledge the pursuit of

14:29

the right way to live this this is what

14:31

philosophy is all about

14:33

and so truth is the core concept in many

14:35

ways which is interesting that's so

14:37

similar to

14:38

religious religious world yeah with an

14:41

important difference so

14:43

uh in in religious life usually truth is

14:46

attained

14:47

through some kind of authority structure

14:50

so if i'm a religious person part of

14:53

what that means

14:54

is that my beliefs about how the world

14:57

is and my

14:58

beliefs about how i should be in the

14:59

world and how i should treat other

15:01

people

15:02

is based on or derived from or at least

15:05

constrained by

15:07

what my religious authority tells me the

15:09

authority might be a person

15:11

might be the pope it might be a body of

15:13

people it might be a

15:14

thousand year tradition it might be a

15:16

text whatever it is

15:18

i'm constrained by authority and truth

15:20

is given to me by the authority

15:22

in a way that i'm not free to then

15:24

question it right the true truth is

15:26

received

15:27

if you're a religious person or it's

15:30

revealed

15:30

to to use the more the theological

15:32

language for philosophers truth is

15:35

discovered

15:35

truth is a problem truth is something

15:38

that we're ever in pursuit of we're

15:39

approaching it

15:40

asymptotically we're never actually

15:42

reaching it but that's our goal

15:44

uh and truth is not the sort of thing

15:46

that an authority could just pronounce

15:48

on because nobody has the authority to

15:50

pronounce on that

15:51

the the authorities that have pronounced

15:54

on it

15:55

are viewed with suspicion by

15:56

philosophers because they're humans too

15:58

and they're limited in all the same ways

16:00

that the other humans are

16:02

um and and all of the other things you

16:04

might view as an authority like a text

16:05

or a tradition that can all be

16:07

questioned we can't be certain about any

16:09

of it

16:09

so truth is a pursuit it's the point of

16:12

philosophy but simultaneously it's the

16:14

frustration of philosophy because

16:17

it never never quite works out i like to

16:20

tell my students

16:21

at the beginning of each semester my

16:22

intro philosophy students

16:24

like everybody we're going to read in

16:26

this class was wrong

16:27

in fact they were wrong about almost

16:29

everything

16:30

and we know that they were wrong like

16:33

aristotle thought

16:34

that the sun orbited the earth and that

16:38

you know the stars were like

16:39

self-reflecting consciousnesses and

16:41

stuff

16:41

uh like everybody else like everybody

16:43

else period you know and

16:45

uh like everybody we read is mistaken

16:49

but they were mistaken in fascinating

16:50

ways and their methods

16:52

for discerning truth were the best

16:55

we've not surpassed the methods we're

16:58

still tweaking some of the same methods

17:00

actually including aristotle's

17:01

for what it's worth so which makes sense

17:04

of why

17:05

you philosophers are such slippery sobs

17:07

you're really hard to

17:08

nail down and give a real answer to

17:10

things well because we think the real

17:12

answers that you can give are always

17:14

partial answers yeah no i like that

17:16

reality is complicated

17:18

you know and insofar as truth is the

17:20

thing

17:21

and i mean in some ways one of the views

17:23

we're going to discuss here is that

17:24

truth just is reality but

17:26

insofar as truth is connected to how

17:28

things really are i mean things are

17:29

complicated

17:30

at the end of the day we're animals and

17:32

we're animals that happen to have large

17:34

brains through an accident of evolution

17:36

and grasping at the ultimate nature of

17:39

things

17:39

is just it's gonna take a while

17:43

and just in case you there's any

17:44

listeners who immediately were triggered

17:46

when

17:47

when kyle said our brains are accident

17:50

of evolution

17:51

i disagree with them too don't worry i

17:53

don't disagree with the evolution part

17:55

i disagree with the accident part but

17:57

we'll talk about that we'll keep going

17:59

so okay so truth is said in many ways

18:03

um so that was a that was an aristotle

18:05

joke for the philosophers listening to

18:07

the podcast

18:08

aristotle famously said that the very

18:10

same thing about being being is said in

18:12

many

18:12

many senses the same thing is true for

18:14

truth so

18:15

in popular discourse popular vernacular

18:17

how this word gets used by

18:19

normal people on the street right it can

18:21

mean anything

18:22

from just whatever's out there

18:26

reality itself the truth right it can

18:28

mean something as simple as

18:30

uh the opposite of a lie true truth is

18:33

simply

18:34

an antonym for a lie it can mean mere

18:37

agreement you and i agree about

18:38

something and i say that's true and

18:40

that's really all i mean by it is that

18:41

we agreed about it

18:42

it can be accordance with some kind of

18:45

principle

18:46

it can be rhetorically this is the way

18:48

it gets used by christians a lot

18:50

is it's whatever i find to be morally

18:53

significant

18:54

an opinion that i find to be morally

18:55

significant or socially significant

18:58

it's important enough to me in my

18:59

community and so i just call it truth

19:02

and and that's really all it means it's

19:03

nothing deeper than that it's not

19:04

analyzed any deeper than that very often

19:07

or and this is the way philosophers tend

19:09

to think about it

19:10

truth is a property that's had by some

19:14

cognitive state like a belief or

19:17

it might be a property of an utterance

19:19

something that i can say so it's a

19:21

linguistic entity

19:22

or it might be a property of a

19:24

proposition which is a thing that bears

19:26

meaning

19:27

which is related to language but also a

19:30

little bit distinct

19:32

so there's all these different ways of

19:33

cashing out what that means but

19:34

philosophers tend to think of truth

19:36

as something cognitive that

19:40

describes ideas

19:43

either in the sense of ideas that are

19:46

expressed in language or maybe just

19:48

ideas on their own

19:50

and the thought is traditionally

19:53

that every idea that can be just

19:55

expressed in a sentence like a

19:57

declarative sentence

19:58

has a value of either true or false

20:02

and to have a value of true means

20:06

well there's some options for what it

20:07

could mean okay the the classic

20:09

view aristotle's view is that

20:13

it means that that idea or that sentence

20:16

or whatever

20:18

matches up with the world so the

20:21

the the classic formulation uh

20:24

is aristotle's he said to say what is

20:27

true

20:28

is to say of what is that it is and to

20:31

say of what is not

20:32

that it is not that's what it means to

20:35

say something true

20:36

and so even for him truth is a property

20:38

of sentences

20:39

it's a property of something that you

20:40

can say and it has to do with

20:42

whether or not that sentence or that

20:44

idea matches up with the world

20:46

that's the classical view that's called

20:48

correspondence

20:49

so philosophers like to talk about that

20:51

theory of truth as the correspondence

20:53

theory because it's

20:53

this idea that there's a world out there

20:56

and it really is a certain way

20:58

and it's independent of how we think

21:00

about it it's objective

21:02

in other words it doesn't depend on

21:03

humans it doesn't depend

21:05

on the whole consensus of rational

21:08

beings it just

21:09

is the way that it is and my

21:12

representation of it

21:13

in my idea or in my sentence or whatever

21:16

either matches up with it or it doesn't

21:18

if it does it corresponds and we say

21:20

that it's true

21:21

how do we make this episode required

21:24

listening for our whole

21:26

stinking nation right now right like

21:30

post-election one side believes one

21:33

thing

21:33

you know the other side believes the

21:35

other there's i mean

21:37

not just about the election just so many

21:40

things in our world there's different

21:42

realities different

21:44

truths different facts and it's

21:47

conservative

21:48

nauseating different yeah yeah i mean it

21:51

doesn't make

21:51

sense but that's what yeah i remember

21:54

while that went right after that

21:56

happened i was

21:58

going to class one day then i got on the

22:00

elevator in my building

22:02

and an older guy gets on the elevator

22:04

with me who turned out to be a

22:06

theologian and so in our building

22:08

theology's on the third floor and

22:10

philosophy is on the fourth floor which

22:11

is the top floor

22:12

and yes i use i remind the theologians

22:15

of that every chance i get

22:17

and uh he saw me hit first shelby last

22:19

brother

22:21

that's that's a religious idea

22:25

um so he saw me hit the button for the

22:28

fourth floor so he knew i was in

22:29

philosophy he's like so you're

22:30

you're going to the philosophy oh you

22:32

must be a philosopher he's like yeah

22:34

he's like so this must be an interesting

22:35

time for you guys what with the nature

22:37

of

22:38

truth and facts being questioned at

22:40

every turn

22:41

it was right after uh what's-her-face

22:43

had had done the alternative facts thing

22:46

right yeah yeah which from a

22:48

philosophical perspective is

22:49

absolute nonsense i mean it's just it's

22:52

incoherent

22:53

right because a fact is just another way

22:55

of describing

22:56

the thing that my statement corresponds

22:59

to there's something out there that

23:00

is a certain way now we're totally open

23:03

to the option

23:04

that we might never know what it is okay

23:07

there are many influential philosophers

23:10

who have taken that view but there

23:12

there's got to be a thing

23:14

and it is not guaranteed to be the way

23:16

that it seems to me

23:19

so i interrupted you were talking about

23:21

aristotle yeah so so we get this

23:23

correspondence view from aristotle i'll

23:25

just give you

23:26

as quickly as i can a run through of the

23:28

other major options okay

23:30

for how philosophers think about truth

23:32

because many people are unhappy with

23:34

that correspondence view for various

23:35

reasons

23:36

so another way of thinking about it is

23:39

truth is it's still a property of

23:41

beliefs or it's still a property of

23:43

statements or something like that

23:45

but truth for some philosophers is

23:48

simply

23:48

coherence between your beliefs

23:51

so some philosophers like a guy named

23:53

willard quine for example

23:55

argued that humans each individual human

23:57

is like a

23:58

a repository for a set of beliefs okay

24:01

so we have all these beliefs about

24:03

various things

24:04

and we can never really be certain if

24:06

our beliefs match up with what's out

24:07

there or not

24:09

correspondence or at least certainty

24:11

about correspondence isn't attainable

24:13

and so maybe it would be better to think

24:14

of truth as the beliefs all fit together

24:17

somehow so there's like a coherent web

24:20

of them

24:21

and each one kind of goes with all of

24:22

the other ones

24:24

and so maybe to say that something is

24:26

true just means

24:27

it fits into your web in a coherent way

24:31

so that's one option some philosophers

24:33

like that view another option

24:35

and this one is due to my personal

24:37

favorite philosopher a guy named charles

24:39

purse

24:39

who is the most original american

24:42

philosopher

24:43

so this is called the pragmatic view and

24:45

this says that

24:46

truth is the end of inquiry

24:50

it is the final opinion as perce put it

24:53

it's it's where human inquiry is headed

24:57

so again we're approaching it

24:59

asymptotically we never quite get there

25:01

but eventually all the disputes are

25:04

settled

25:05

or at least that's how things have gone

25:07

so far we can we continue gathering

25:10

evidence we continue thinking through

25:11

things presenting the best arguments

25:13

doing

25:14

you know all the experiments and

25:16

eventually we come to greater and

25:18

greater knowledge

25:18

so truth is simply a description of the

25:20

final stage

25:22

of that process which which will never

25:24

actually be realized but we're always

25:25

moving towards it

25:27

and purse thought that it was it was

25:29

like an obligation that we try

25:32

to continue moving towards it so that's

25:34

called the pragmatic view of truth it's

25:36

something

25:36

ideal out there somewhere that we're

25:38

headed towards which means we

25:40

we never actually possess it right now

25:41

yeah very frustrating for religious

25:43

people very

25:44

however may be fairly healthy to

25:45

consider i mean this is how science

25:47

works

25:47

right scientists when they're speaking

25:49

carefully won't say that their theories

25:52

are true

25:53

that when they're speaking really

25:54

carefully they might not even say that

25:55

we know that various things are true

25:57

even though they're so well confirmed

25:59

that they're extraordinarily unlikely to

26:01

ever be overturned

26:03

they might as well be facts nonetheless

26:06

what happens in science is you you try

26:08

to disconfirm a thing until you can't

26:10

anymore and then you just treat that as

26:11

though it were true until you find good

26:13

reason not to it's a very

26:14

uh pragmatic idea we're moving towards

26:17

something but we're always open to

26:19

being overturned um so those are kind of

26:21

the big three the correspondence the

26:23

coherence and then the

26:25

the pragmatic recently there have been a

26:27

couple other um

26:28

kind of popular views but they're a

26:30

little more technical i don't want to go

26:31

into them too much but

26:33

there's one called a semantic view which

26:34

is due to a 20th century philosopher

26:37

named alfred tarski

26:38

and he basically made truth um

26:41

a property of sentences that can be

26:43

expressed

26:44

in a very rigidly defined language

26:49

and so so not a natural language but a

26:51

language that logicians

26:53

actually invent and so he made truth uh

26:56

something a kind of thing that exists

26:58

within a really rigorously defined

27:00

language

27:01

so his definition is very mathematical i

27:03

mean it's

27:04

we can be certain about it within the

27:06

system um

27:08

but it doesn't actually have the

27:10

metaphysical implications of the other

27:12

views so in some ways it just kind of

27:13

brackets out

27:14

the question of what's out there and

27:16

whether or not our opinions ever

27:18

actually line up with what's out there

27:20

and says instead let's just kind of

27:21

focus in on

27:23

how this language is working and we can

27:26

define truth very precisely within that

27:28

and so a lot of philosophers have liked

27:29

that because

27:30

it's manageable we can use it we can we

27:32

can do we can make discoveries like we

27:34

can do some interesting

27:36

logical work and some of those

27:37

discoveries have actually

27:39

like spawned computer science so i mean

27:41

they're like really really significant

27:43

discoveries

27:44

but it doesn't actually tell us a whole

27:45

lot about like what's out there in the

27:46

world

27:47

unless unless you're somebody like

27:50

willard quine

27:51

who looked at that and said you know

27:52

what i think that actually is the

27:54

metaphysics

27:55

all it means to exist is to be

27:58

describable in that language

28:00

that was his view so can you describe

28:03

for us

28:03

what what you mean by what metaphysics

28:05

means metaphysics is simply the question

28:07

of what's out there

28:09

what what is being what actually is what

28:11

actually exists

28:13

and so quine was notoriously a

28:15

reductionist about everything he wanted

28:17

to get rid of as much as possible

28:19

and so for him only a couple of things

28:21

exist

28:22

and so his notion of truth is is very

28:25

deflationary

28:26

in the sense of we're trying to get rid

28:28

of as much stuff

28:29

as possible and that's actually the last

28:32

um

28:33

the last notion of truth i wanted to

28:34

mention is the deflationary theory which

28:36

has

28:36

various parts but a lot of people are

28:39

just kind of

28:40

suspicious about whether it's even

28:43

meaningful to say that anything is true

28:45

so some people want to say for example

28:47

that if i say the sentence

28:49

it's raining outside and then i say that

28:52

another sentence

28:53

it's true that it's raining outside for

28:55

a lot of philosophers i haven't said

28:57

anything different

28:58

those sentences have exactly the same

29:00

semantic content they mean the exact

29:02

same thing

29:03

i can get rid of or deflate the whole

29:06

truth part altogether

29:07

so for some philosophers truth isn't

29:10

actually meaningful

29:11

it's just redundant that's a rather

29:14

unless you live in a time like we do

29:15

today

29:16

where people do say things that aren't

29:18

true

29:19

in both ways right yeah so you can

29:21

definitely say things according to this

29:24

view

29:24

that are unverifiable or that are

29:28

proven to be out of sync with what is

29:31

when you try to verify it it's difficult

29:33

to describe the view without using words

29:34

like true and false

29:36

but they still want to say that if you

29:37

say a thing is true in addition to just

29:39

stating the thing you haven't actually

29:41

said anything additional

29:42

so philosophers like that would think it

29:44

would be kind of odd

29:46

to aim at or seek after quote-unquote

29:49

truth

29:50

as a as a goal because truth is just

29:53

like this

29:55

kind of unclear way of speaking uh that

29:58

isn't really necessary that's not doing

29:59

any additional work

30:01

that sounds like a party guess that i

30:03

would kind of want to stay away from

30:04

yeah these would not be fun people to

30:05

talk to

30:06

at parties but i mean it's quite a

30:09

sizable

30:10

group of philosophers that takes that

30:11

view and then i'll just mention one more

30:13

and i promise i'm done so there's also

30:15

another favorite philosopher by

30:17

friedrich nietzsche

30:18

and nietzsche was what's called a

30:20

perspectivist

30:22

and so he's famous for saying like

30:23

little quippy things like

30:25

there is no truth there are only

30:27

perspectives uh

30:28

and sometimes he's misinterpreted to be

30:30

a kind of relativist but that's not

30:32

really what he meant

30:32

what he meant was at least i think what

30:34

he meant was he's kind of notoriously

30:36

hard to pin down on this

30:37

if if you want to because we're all kind

30:40

of limited by our own perspectives and

30:41

our own

30:42

social locations and our own drives and

30:44

desires and motives and everything

30:47

if you really want to get as big a

30:50

picture of the world as possible you

30:52

could say as accurate a picture as

30:54

possible but that kind of presupposes

30:55

some things

30:56

if you want to get a little bit outside

30:58

of your perspective the only way to do

30:59

it

31:00

is to take up other perspectives to

31:03

dialogue with others as much as you can

31:05

and so it's kind of like if you had a

31:07

partially drawn map

31:08

on semi-transparent paper and then you

31:11

had another layer of semi-transparent

31:12

paper that had a different part of the

31:14

map on it and then another layer and

31:15

then another and then another

31:16

and you overlaid them all together you

31:18

could get a picture of the whole map

31:20

and so each each individual represents

31:22

only you know a partial perspective on

31:24

the world

31:25

and so adding together all the

31:27

perspectives

31:28

will get you a better picture than you

31:30

could get on your own but he also

31:32

thought there's nothing outside the

31:33

perspectives

31:35

so so looking for a ground to the whole

31:37

thing

31:38

or a god's eye view is just not possible

31:41

there's nothing outside yeah i mean i

31:44

feel

31:45

and sense a lot of truth and common

31:47

sense in

31:48

that nietzschean kind of way of thinking

31:50

there is no truth only perspectives

31:52

it seems a little cynic like overly

31:54

scientifical to me but

31:56

yeah um it also reminds me there's a

31:58

contemporary philosopher named

32:00

pete rollins out of ireland who now

32:03

lives in the us but he has

32:05

he actually has these workshops in

32:07

numerous offerings whether it's

32:09

a dinner or uh it's called atheism for

32:12

lent or whether there's

32:13

numerous ways in which he's trying to

32:16

i'm trying to think of the right word

32:18

that he heard the word that he uses but

32:19

it's

32:19

it's i'm sorry it's de-centering

32:21

practices so us

32:23

spiritual leaders would talk about

32:25

centering practices it's good to

32:27

you know sit here and have some

32:29

centering prayer happen and calm your

32:31

soul and your inner man

32:32

pete rollins says i want to de-center i

32:35

want to have some de-centering practices

32:37

because we can't really know what we

32:38

believe unless we hear from someone who

32:40

has a different perspective

32:41

than us he'll have dinners where they'll

32:44

invite somebody who has the opposite

32:46

view of them

32:47

and then you your only job is to listen

32:51

and that person who has the opposite

32:52

view will tell them everything that they

32:53

believe about this thing

32:54

and they'll tell them tell this group

32:56

how i see you

32:57

and how i think about the way you think

32:59

and the way you believe

33:00

and you're you're not allowed to talk

33:03

the only thing you're

33:04

able to do is ask questions yeah and

33:06

then you do this from a number of

33:07

different perspectives a number of

33:08

different topics and at the end of it i

33:10

think it's like 12 weeks or something

33:12

you kind of reflect together as a group

33:14

and talk about what you learned and

33:16

really just by saying you can't really

33:18

know what you believe and you can't

33:19

really stand on something

33:21

unless you've heard the opposite

33:22

perspectives and different perspectives

33:24

it sounds very challenging to me but it

33:26

sounds very

33:28

healthy and just healthy yeah and he

33:32

we should have him on the podcast i

33:33

think that would be interesting i think

33:35

we will yeah

33:36

he's a big fan of nietzsche so that's

33:37

probably where he's getting it so he's

33:39

involved in what's called the death of

33:40

god

33:41

movement or death of god theology which

33:43

is straight from nietzsche nietzsche is

33:44

most famous for his proclamation that

33:46

god is dead

33:47

uh which is doesn't mean what you think

33:48

it means no no

33:50

various philosophers have described

33:53

being informed having their faith

33:54

informed by nietzsche in a healthy way i

33:56

would be in that group of people

33:58

nietzsche certainly was no christian he

33:59

was no phantom no friend to christianity

34:02

but his critiques of religion and

34:04

particularly the religious perspective

34:06

on truth

34:07

is helpful can be very helpful

34:11

so i just said a lot of stuff about

34:14

about truth

34:15

uh there's a lot going on there the

34:17

upshot okay here's my

34:19

what i think the upshot is for our

34:21

audience anyway philosophers don't know

34:23

what truth is

34:25

and we're the group of people most

34:28

interested in it in the world

34:31

at least as interested in it as

34:32

religious people have ever been

34:34

and we're the group of people and this

34:35

might sound arrogant but we're the group

34:37

of people most capable of figuring it

34:39

out

34:40

we've literally spent thousands of years

34:42

on this do you think that sounds

34:43

arrogant

34:45

i mean i say that because we're the

34:47

group of people that's trained

34:48

specifically to deal with questions like

34:50

that

34:51

and we have reached nothing even close

34:53

to a consensus

34:55

um so there are there are pockets of

34:58

people who take all the views that i

34:59

just described

35:00

there are pockets of people who try to

35:02

create create hybrids out of them

35:04

personally i subscribe to a pragmatic

35:06

view i think that's a good way to go

35:08

but there are problems with all of these

35:10

and in many cases thinking

35:12

trying to get clear logically on what

35:14

truth is often leads you into paradox

35:16

so they're very famous paradoxes that

35:18

philosophers and logicians who work on

35:20

truth

35:20

try to sort out and it's very hard so

35:23

the upshot for me is

35:25

we don't know what truth is ergo

35:28

you don't know what truth is like

35:32

humans don't know which one the truth is

35:36

that's kind of the bottom line for

35:38

philosophers now

35:39

now let me say this much okay and then

35:41

i'll return it back over

35:43

there's nothing whatsoever wrong with

35:46

believing

35:47

that you are correct about how you see

35:49

the world

35:50

in fact it would be weird not to

35:53

like to have a belief implies usually

35:57

they're exceptions but

35:58

usually to have a belief implies that

35:59

you think the world is a certain way

36:02

yeah you think it's true yeah everybody

36:04

thinks their perspective is correct

36:06

everybody thinks their beliefs are true

36:07

and that's perfectly natural

36:09

and good that's as it should be and

36:11

people ought to defend

36:13

their views and you ought not to give up

36:14

a belief if you don't have good reason

36:16

to do so every philosopher i know would

36:17

agree with that

36:19

it's just that no one has ownership of

36:21

the concept

36:22

and no one can actually explicate the

36:24

concept

36:25

in a way that's convincing to other

36:27

smart people and

36:28

when the church has you know got some

36:31

real eggs on its face

36:32

are when the church has thought

36:35

something is true

36:36

so strongly that they're willing to burn

36:38

people at the stake

36:40

because they have a different

36:42

perspective you can understand why they

36:43

thought that right

36:44

if your idea of truth is that this is a

36:47

thing that we receive

36:48

from god so it's in

36:51

in it's almost you can think of it as a

36:53

kind of humility i think it would be a

36:56

warped sense of humility it's not it's

36:57

not a humility that i would recommend as

36:59

a virtue

37:00

but i mean burning someone at the stake

37:03

or condemning someone or

37:05

you know excommunicating someone or

37:06

whatever

37:09

was in a way an expression of humility

37:12

in the sense of

37:14

who am i to say what is true the

37:16

tradition has given this to me

37:18

and by the lights of the tradition

37:21

you're outside of it

37:22

and the tradition has also told me what

37:24

to do about that

37:26

it's a kind of obedience it's it's an

37:28

obedience that

37:29

a philosopher would never see the virtue

37:31

in but from a religious perspective you

37:33

can kind of understand

37:34

the perspective so

37:38

if i if i'm someone with faith and i

37:41

believe that i

37:42

know something of god or even heard

37:44

something directly from god

37:48

is that where i should be stopping or do

37:49

i layer on

37:51

this uh supreme

37:56

human philosophical wisdom that makes it

37:58

so that

38:00

uh you can say there is none who knows

38:02

truth and and

38:04

i guess as as someone of faith which

38:07

lens am i supposed to look through

38:11

yeah i mean my recommendation and it's

38:13

simply that because you got to do what

38:14

you got to do right i mean you're

38:15

responsible for your shepherding your

38:17

own beliefs but

38:18

i would say test yourself to see how

38:20

sure you are to see how confident you

38:21

are do you really know that

38:23

and there are ways of testing yourself

38:25

and the easiest way is to

38:26

ask other people and then we can

38:29

we can work together to find out if

38:31

you're actually sure about that

38:33

and i bet give us a few minutes or maybe

38:36

a few hours and i bet

38:38

i could get you to doubt it but if i

38:40

can't if that fails

38:41

if we go through the process and you

38:42

don't doubt it at the end of the day

38:44

you're absolutely sure about it as sure

38:45

as you are of anything then

38:48

who are we to say that that that's not

38:51

the case

38:54

yeah i think at the very least it just

38:57

we do well to be more careful with the

38:58

word truth

38:59

as christians as religious people yeah

39:02

yeah you get no argument from me there

39:05

so let's flip this around

39:06

so uh i just gave you that probably

39:10

annoyingly nerdy take on what

39:12

philosophers think about this

39:14

what's it like from your perspective so

39:17

how do you think about truth how do you

39:18

communicate the idea of truth

39:20

in your position as a pastor yeah

39:25

it's interesting you're going to get a

39:26

different take from me than you would

39:28

many many other past christian pastors

39:30

because

39:31

i grew up in that world that felt like

39:33

we knew what truth was and we have

39:36

we've cornered the market on truth and

39:38

that's in regards to

39:40

end times theology and eschatology it's

39:42

in regards to sexuality it's in regards

39:44

to who's in and who's out we've

39:45

that's in regards to science and

39:48

creationism that's in regards to

39:49

everything right

39:50

but it's been a long time since i've

39:51

thought like that um i i got

39:53

quickly weirded out even before i was a

39:55

pastor by the the way that christians

39:57

used the word truth so willy-nilly

39:59

and so in a such a weaponized fashion

40:03

i would say i got very skeptical of it

40:05

pretty early on

40:07

and now i'm just not one of those

40:09

pastors that you'd hear talking about

40:10

truth

40:11

a lot and i some people don't like me

40:14

for it

40:14

some people probably have left our

40:15

church because of it and some you know i

40:17

just had this conversation

40:19

literally a couple weeks ago person who

40:21

is considering leaving our church

40:23

and he's his first question was do you

40:26

believe in absolute truth

40:28

i think oh here we go all right it's

40:29

that kind of conversation and

40:32

his question was he asked the question

40:34

because he doesn't hear me talk about

40:35

absolute truth so much

40:36

and so maybe that means that pastor

40:38

randy doesn't believe it

40:40

and very few people call me pastor randy

40:41

by the way the reverend

40:43

i bet there's a venn diagram of the

40:45

people that do and the people that use

40:46

the phrase absolute truth

40:49

yeah sure sure well

40:52

no most of the people who think use the

40:54

phrase absolute truth are

40:55

pretty questionable about whether i'm

40:57

qualified to be a pastor or not

40:59

um and what i told them was

41:02

you know i probably believe in absolute

41:04

truth but it's not the scriptures and

41:06

and he didn't love that but so i'll go

41:10

to where

41:10

i think truth lies and then kind of

41:13

unpack it from there but

41:15

when i talk about truth i'm talking

41:16

about a person and i know that

41:18

freaks you philosophers out but that's

41:20

just that's just my take and where i am

41:23

right now where i've been for a while

41:25

and what i'm most comfortable with

41:26

i'm uncomfortable with talking about

41:28

anything as absolute truth

41:30

unless you're talking about the person

41:32

of christ and

41:34

then i can say truth is found in christ

41:38

and i can say that because a

41:41

everything that i've seen or heard from

41:43

christ in the christian scriptures

41:46

resonates in such a dynamic way in me in

41:50

such a

41:50

deep way that that is elevated above

41:53

anything

41:54

both in the scriptures and anything that

41:56

i've heard the person of christ

41:58

is something in someone who

42:01

continues to to to make sense of things

42:04

and to make sense of reality and i feel

42:06

like the further i get away from the

42:07

person of christ

42:09

the further the more unraveled i get and

42:11

the closer and closer

42:13

and more connected i am to this person

42:15

of christ both in

42:16

my thought life and my soul and my my

42:19

devotional life

42:20

the more centered and real i feel the

42:22

more grounded in reality i feel

42:25

and i think the most inspired

42:28

portions of the scriptures by far are

42:31

the ones that speak to jesus

42:33

as truth ones like john 1

42:36

where it talks about the divine logos

42:39

the divine word of god that was

42:41

before all things and all things were

42:43

created through this word through jesus

42:45

and john even says we received the law

42:49

through moses

42:50

but we've received grace and truth

42:52

through jesus

42:54

now that i mean most of us just walk

42:56

right by that

42:57

but do you realize what john what john

42:59

is saying when he said that

43:01

he's saying that we didn't get the truth

43:03

from moses

43:04

right like the the old testament the

43:07

hebrew scriptures

43:08

weren't this fullest embodiment of truth

43:11

he says we didn't get truth until we got

43:13

jesus

43:15

that's profound and then i fast forward

43:18

to

43:18

colossians 1 where the apostle paul said

43:21

that jesus is the image of the invisible

43:23

god

43:24

so the apostle paul got something he got

43:26

that like this god that we believe in

43:28

that we put our faith and trust in and

43:30

are giving ourselves to

43:32

he's invisible she's invisible this

43:35

divine life is invisible we

43:37

that's why it's called faith we can't

43:39

know

43:41

but we have this human one

43:45

who we believe was fully divine and

43:47

fully human in

43:49

in this one named jesus the christ

43:52

is the fullest expression of the divine

43:55

life that we will ever have

43:57

in this life and that when if we've seen

43:59

jesus we've seen god

44:01

and so that just tells me that's the one

44:03

thing i can have confidence in in

44:05

talking about truth that truth is a

44:06

person and jesus even said it himself

44:08

for crying out loud he said i'm the way

44:10

and i'm the truth and i'm the life i am

44:12

the truth i'm very comfortable with that

44:14

statement

44:15

because it's so complex but yet it's so

44:18

simple

44:19

you know you're not able to to

44:22

to reduce truth down into a formulaic

44:25

system of bullet points

44:26

you're actually have to observe

44:30

and become a disciple of and give

44:32

yourself to

44:33

a person and you have to listen

44:36

and you have to lay lay aside your

44:40

judgments

44:40

and your preconceived notions about what

44:42

reality is what truth is

44:44

and you just become a learner of this

44:46

one who defied the religious leaders of

44:48

his day

44:49

who was killed by the religious leaders

44:51

of his day

44:53

who was killed by the empire the

44:55

greatest empire of the world

44:56

that was in the world at that point and

45:00

yet was probably the most has become

45:04

the most followed and respected person

45:08

who's ever walked planet earth that we

45:09

know of so that's my perspective on

45:12

truth and i get very uncomfortable if we

45:13

go

45:14

somewhere outside of that i i get

45:17

yeah i just i can't stomach those

45:19

conversations that

45:20

makes truth out to be something that

45:22

it's not um and i know again

45:24

philosophers i know that you're saying

45:25

well that's what you're doing when

45:26

you're talking about jesus

45:27

truth that's fine we can disagree but

45:30

that person that life is where i found

45:32

the most truth of anything in

45:34

anyone and it seems like one thing

45:36

you're both sharing is

45:38

that there's this idea of some external

45:40

thing that we

45:42

won't attain or know and and we can't

45:46

we can't say that we've got it no it's

45:48

it's outside of us

45:49

and we journey towards it continually

45:51

yeah if if

45:52

truth is a person as in christ and in

45:56

by christ i mean i'm a trinitarian

45:59

christian so i believe

46:00

in father son and spirit i believe in

46:02

this relational god

46:05

that this relational divine life that

46:07

together they represent and make up

46:09

who is god and i believe that that

46:11

divine life

46:12

is the ground of being of all reality

46:14

and so when i talk about truth as a

46:16

person that's what i'm talking about

46:17

that the

46:18

the ground of being of all reality

46:20

actually has been revealed in a person

46:22

who is jesus christ

46:23

and i'll nev i'll spend my life

46:25

journeying towards

46:26

truth that whose name is jesus yeah

46:30

yeah for all i said about those

46:32

perspectives on truth from

46:33

you know different philosophers i think

46:36

everything you said

46:38

could be consistent with most of those

46:40

theories so for a correspondence

46:41

interesting example

46:43

i mean the thing that's out there that

46:45

our statements are trying to

46:47

correspond to might be jesus

46:50

it it might be what khan called the

46:52

thing in itself

46:54

the numenal world it might be what purse

46:56

called the

46:57

uh he had another name for it i can't

46:59

think in itself is that i

47:01

am that i am i mean we could interpret

47:03

it that way right

47:04

so the it's kind of yeah khan explicitly

47:07

had god in mind

47:08

uh because he wanted to make the case

47:10

that humans

47:12

weren't capable of knowledge of god we

47:14

weren't capable of

47:15

knowledge of many things but god is one

47:17

of the things because god is

47:19

understood in classical philosophy as

47:21

the source of being

47:23

god is the primordially existing thing

47:26

from which all other things

47:27

spring and we are limited by our own

47:31

uh cognitive filters and we just can't

47:34

access that that was his view

47:37

it reminds me of the way you talked

47:38

about an ensemic way of

47:41

describing god or a case for god right

47:43

yeah god's the

47:44

necessarily existing thing or the

47:46

self-existent thing or whatever

47:48

and from our perspective i mean

47:52

what's the difference between saying

47:54

that that's jesus or the christ

47:56

or saying that that's i don't know

47:59

the one if you take take the view of

48:02

platinus or if you're a buddhist it's

48:03

the

48:04

the universe or it's the eternal flux or

48:07

whatever i mean

48:08

all those descriptions are semantically

48:10

equivalent from the perspective of a

48:12

correspondence theorist so

48:14

it's an article of faith to say that

48:15

it's jesus but a lot of philosophers are

48:17

fighting

48:18

with that yeah or if you're a pragmatist

48:20

about truth like i

48:21

am then you know to say that

48:24

uh jesus is the truth in a in a kind of

48:28

i don't know really general sense might

48:30

mean something like

48:31

uh we're gradually as a human race or as

48:34

a race of rational beings

48:36

maybe bigger than humanity we're

48:37

gradually heading towards

48:39

a perspective of the world where

48:42

jesus nature will be more and more

48:45

realized or at least our understanding

48:47

of the world will get closer and closer

48:49

to

48:51

that kind of nature i'm okay with that

48:53

um i

48:54

personally when i read that part in john

48:56

about jesus being the way the truth and

48:58

the life i interpret it

48:59

ethically i don't think that jesus was

49:02

trying to make a metaphysical statement

49:04

to or i don't think john was trying to

49:06

make a metaphysical statement to satisfy

49:08

the

49:08

greek philosophers but um he's he's the

49:11

way for me to become fully human he's

49:14

the life for me as a human and he's the

49:16

truth in the sense of

49:17

he's the thing that i should aim all of

49:19

my religious beliefs at and all of the

49:22

things that

49:23

uh i believe about how i should treat

49:24

other people i interpret it in a kind of

49:26

ethical sense but

49:28

um but i don't think it's necessarily

49:30

doing damage to the text or to the

49:32

christian view

49:34

to treat it as more than that

49:37

and many christian philosophers have

49:38

said that whatever reality is

49:41

it's it's christ it's

49:45

yep in ways that we don't understand

49:47

it's mysterious but

49:49

he's the primordial thing you know in

49:52

and it's fun

49:53

to me that on this journey towards truth

49:55

because that's what i would

49:56

that's how i would describe a real

50:00

religious religious journey and

50:02

particularly for me a christian journey

50:04

is a journey towards truth so i'm i'm

50:07

journeying towards

50:09

that which is real i'm journaling

50:11

towards that which is the foundational

50:13

reality of the uni

50:14

of the cosmos of existence of reality

50:17

but while i do that i feel like the

50:19

closer i get

50:21

the more i don't know yeah and that's

50:23

super fun to me that's

50:25

you know this idea of wonder and mystery

50:28

i feel like the

50:29

the further we go on this journey

50:30

towards truth if we do it in a humble

50:32

and

50:32

you know authentic kind of way

50:35

ironically

50:36

the more we understand how much we don't

50:38

understand

50:39

and how far from that that foundational

50:43

ground of reality that is the divine

50:44

life that is christ

50:46

which just thrills me i i actually

50:49

love that that's a that's a spiritual

50:51

journey that i can say yes and amen to

50:54

is one that is open to wonder journeying

50:57

towards truth and the

50:58

the further you go the more that you

51:00

realize you don't know yeah

51:02

so was your friend happy with any of

51:04

that when you

51:05

explained well no i mean

51:08

that conversation went the way a lot of

51:10

conversa these conversations go

51:12

is i just ask a lot of questions because

51:15

jesus if if if you take jesus out of the

51:18

scriptures

51:19

it's easier to have a formulaic form of

51:21

christianity

51:22

right but but because of jesus we can

51:26

we have to get comfortable with all

51:27

sorts of nuance and so that conversation

51:29

went like because of the absolute truth

51:31

foundation

51:31

then it went to do you think there's a

51:34

clear-cut way to get into heaven or to

51:35

have eternal life you know and i was

51:37

like well

51:38

i'm not qualified to give that answer

51:40

but the one who is

51:42

walked on planet earth and gave a number

51:44

of different ways

51:45

seemingly to to have life to have access

51:48

to that life

51:49

sometimes it looked like faith and

51:50

belief sometimes it looked like caring

51:52

for the least of these

51:53

sometimes it looked like you would do

51:55

all sorts of things in

51:57

in jesus name and still he would save

51:59

depart from me for i never knew you and

52:00

so

52:01

i think just using jesus words

52:04

actually the red letters in the bible is

52:07

just

52:08

it's hard to get around in these

52:10

conversations you have to build a

52:11

christ-less theology in some ways

52:14

to come to these hard fast truths to be

52:16

totally honest if i'm just going to be

52:18

that that was offensive well what i just

52:20

said but

52:21

so wow so a thoroughly biblical theology

52:25

would entail

52:26

for you a christless theology i didn't

52:29

say

52:30

biblical well but that's where they're

52:31

getting it from right i mean

52:33

the truth is what the bible says which

52:36

is obvious yes i would say

52:37

many modern protestant christians have a

52:41

shockingly

52:42

small amount of jesus in their

52:44

functional theology let me say that yeah

52:46

and i would say most of their theology

52:48

is based on the apostle paul who would

52:49

disagree with most of their theology but

52:51

when you bring up jesus to a lot of

52:54

protestant christians

52:55

you're actually challenging their their

52:57

theology because they formulated a

52:58

theology that's very formulaic and very

53:01

you know a plus b equals c and it's just

53:03

jesus

53:04

breaks those categories jesus comes

53:07

along

53:08

and brings the gray in and he brings

53:10

even more gray when you get more

53:12

uncomfortable with it

53:13

it's why the religious people kill jesus

53:15

yeah i mean it's almost like god is a

53:16

person and not a

53:18

mathematical theorem absolutely

53:21

absolutely this could be so much more

53:24

simple

53:24

right like this this christian journey

53:26

could be just so cut and dry

53:28

and so many american christians would

53:30

love it if it was you know because we

53:32

turn the bible into a manual or to a

53:35

textbook and turn all our

53:36

theology into formulas and that's just

53:39

jesus comes along and disappoints you at

53:41

every turn if you have that

53:43

viewpoint it's why we can't really focus

53:44

too much on jesus if that's the way we

53:46

want to think

53:46

yeah friends before we continue we want

53:50

to thank story hill bkc for their

53:52

support

53:53

story hill bkc is a full menu restaurant

53:55

and their food is seriously some of the

53:56

best in milwaukee

53:58

on top of that story hill bkc is a

54:00

full-service liquor store featuring

54:01

growlers of tap

54:02

available to go spirits especially

54:04

whiskeys and bourbons

54:06

thoughtfully curated regional craft

54:07

beers and 375 selections of wine

54:11

visit storyhillbkc.com for menu and more

54:14

info

54:14

if you're in milwaukee you'll thank

54:16

yourself for visiting story hill bkc

54:18

and if you're not remember to support

54:20

local one more time that's

54:22

storyhillbkc.com

54:25

so what do you think christians mean

54:26

when they use that phrase absolute truth

54:28

i've never quite

54:29

got my head around that i mean i used to

54:31

be super into apologetics and we'd throw

54:33

that

54:33

that phrase around all the time but i'm

54:35

not

54:36

to this day i'm still not really clear

54:38

what we meant by it like when i when i

54:40

think about sexuality is when it when it

54:42

kind of

54:42

crystallizes for me and i think when you

54:45

when they say

54:46

absolute truth they mean something that

54:48

cannot be argued with

54:50

something that is from god

54:53

is true eternally and it doesn't matter

54:56

what cultural context you find yourself

54:57

in it doesn't matter what

54:58

science or logic say this is

55:02

absolute truth and it it that's the end

55:05

of the conversation so if i have a son

55:07

or a daughter who's gay

55:09

i know absolute truth an absolute true

55:11

set of says i've got to fix them or i

55:13

know absolute truth and

55:14

absolute truth means that experience is

55:17

wrong and we've got to figure them out

55:18

we've got to cycle

55:19

psychoanalyze and you know jesus eyes

55:21

them

55:22

because absolute truths is very clear

55:25

absolute truth

55:26

allows for no wiggle room would you is

55:28

that about right when it comes to

55:30

absolute truth what

55:31

we mean yeah it's it's the opposite of

55:33

the relativistic like

55:35

yeah yes you believe what you want i'll

55:36

believe what i want and i'll be okay

55:38

it's like no these but these things you

55:40

must yep

55:42

they're true whether or not you see them

55:44

as true exactly

55:46

well i guess i'm trying to get clear on

55:47

what the absolute part adds to it

55:49

so it just sounds redundant to me if a

55:52

thing is true

55:53

totally true so what does it mean i mean

55:55

if the absolute part is as you said

55:57

can't be argued with surely they mean

56:00

shouldn't be argued with

56:02

or do they really mean yeah to which you

56:04

say watch me

56:06

i mean like if you go outside

56:08

occasionally

56:09

and talk to people you would hopefully

56:11

not take the view that there's anything

56:13

you don't can't do let me let me i'm

56:16

trying to get inside of the head of my

56:17

friend who

56:18

i'm talking about this conversation from

56:20

several weeks ago

56:21

and i think he would say there are

56:24

things in the

56:24

i know he would say there are things in

56:26

the christian faith and in the church

56:27

that we can disagree about

56:29

the non-essentials if you if you will

56:31

and that's okay we can actually

56:33

still be friends and fellowship as

56:35

christian brothers and sisters and

56:36

disagree on those things

56:37

but there is absolute truth there are

56:40

the essentials that cannot be

56:41

compromised that cannot be

56:43

we cannot be wishy-washy about we cannot

56:46

allow for disagreement about because if

56:48

we disagree

56:49

those things are absolutely true and

56:51

there is no wiggle room there then we

56:53

have to break fellowship then we have to

56:54

say you're not a christian anymore then

56:56

you we have to say

56:57

you're wrong because this is absolute

56:59

truth

57:01

but i mean but again what they mean by

57:03

that must

57:04

be functionally what i think is true

57:09

and therefore

57:14

doesn't matter to them what the

57:15

scriptures say is what matters there are

57:17

a lot of things i think are true

57:18

but the absolute truths if i'm taking on

57:20

this mindset are the things

57:22

on which i cannot tolerate your

57:24

disagreement and still

57:26

see you within the camp that i'm in so

57:28

just the most important ones

57:32

yeah sure okay so absolute truth means

57:34

the things i think are most important

57:36

i'm like getting uncomfortable like i

57:38

have to defend this i'm not i'm no i'm

57:40

just trying to get clear on the idea

57:42

i mean it's an idea that i guess i used

57:43

to hold i just don't remember

57:45

i'm just trying to it's the things that

57:46

we cannot these people think

57:48

the things that we cannot compromise on

57:50

the things that if our culture tells us

57:52

some person has their own truth and you

57:54

have your own truth

57:56

well okay but hopefully wrong so

58:00

if if it's that that's a consequential

58:03

consequentialist thing

58:04

which which means if if the

58:06

justification for this being the

58:08

absolute truth is that

58:09

if i don't treat it that way then really

58:12

terrible stuff will happen

58:14

then that's not truth we're not talking

58:15

about truth anymore right because now

58:17

explain that now that depends on what i

58:19

do

58:19

and so it's just not truth anymore so it

58:22

can't be what they mean cannot be

58:24

at least as far as i can understand it

58:27

that

58:27

this is something that if we don't treat

58:30

it as true

58:31

then terrible things will happen because

58:34

then it

58:34

it's its nature as truth somehow depends

58:37

on me or its importance

58:39

depends on me that would that wouldn't

58:41

make any sense so to say that something

58:43

is

58:43

quote unquote absolute truth has to mean

58:46

something else as

58:47

the clearest i can see on it is that it

58:49

means what i or my community

58:52

says is most important well yeah and

58:55

what they think is absolutely true or

58:57

absolute truth

58:58

is the grounds for human flourishing

59:01

they would say

59:02

the reason that our world is the way it

59:04

is is because

59:06

the world is relativistic and hates

59:07

absolute truth

59:09

if we had absolute truth we'd have

59:11

strong nuclear families

59:13

if our world believed in absolute truth

59:16

we would have

59:17

a flourishing economy and freedom would

59:19

be uh you know the

59:21

what it what it was meant to be if we

59:22

had absolute truth

59:24

we wouldn't have all these people coming

59:26

out as transgender and

59:27

gender confusion and all that stuff

59:29

because we've gone so far

59:31

in this relativistic you know

59:33

truth-hating

59:34

culture that we live in that we've got

59:36

what we deserve

59:38

sure yeah but even even there those

59:41

things are evidence to you of people

59:43

having given up on truth

59:44

because you have an idea of what human

59:47

flourishing looks like

59:49

and if you're getting that idea from

59:51

somewhere

59:52

you're either getting it from something

59:54

external to your faith in which case

59:57

you're in the same boat as the rest of

59:58

us you're just a hypocrite about it

60:00

or you're getting it from the bible in

60:01

which case your view is circular

60:03

or you're getting it from your tradition

60:04

which is still just a circular so

60:07

and what do you mean by circular it's

60:09

kind of like when

60:10

when somebody says you should believe

60:12

the bible and i say why and they say

60:13

because the bible says so

60:15

if i think it's the bible i mean if i

60:18

think that

60:19

not grasping absolute truth will lead

60:21

you to

60:23

unhappiness or will prevent your

60:24

flourishing as a human being

60:26

but my notion of absolute truth is

60:29

derived from my own opinions or the

60:33

tradition the tradition

60:34

of which i'm apart and i say well

60:38

why is that the correct notion of human

60:41

flourishing

60:42

and the answer is because the tradition

60:44

says it like you can't give

60:46

a demonstrable yeah justification for

60:49

that it's basically in my world i equate

60:53

that to

60:54

being a fan it's like sports i would say

60:57

a person would ask me who's the best

61:00

a kid would ask me who's the best

61:01

football team and i'd be like duh

61:03

the packers yeah and they'd be like why

61:05

are the packers the best i could give

61:06

them all sorts of reasons why we because

61:07

we have these amazing quarterbacks and

61:09

you know tradition and we do things

61:11

right but at the end of the day why are

61:13

the packers the best team

61:14

because of the packers what does that

61:15

mean they're just the packers they're

61:16

the best

61:18

yeah and i guess that's what confuses me

61:20

about the whole phrase and why i spend

61:21

so much time on it now

61:22

is that i mean i'm fine with sticking to

61:25

a tradition saying you know this is how

61:26

we think about things and we have our

61:28

coherent system

61:28

and it makes sense to us it's internally

61:30

consistent and

61:32

uh we think it provides a a good path to

61:34

flourishing

61:35

and if if you disagree then you're just

61:37

not part of our system but that's fine

61:38

but like adding the absolute truth part

61:41

to it makes it sound like

61:43

you think it's bigger than your system

61:44

which makes it sound like you think it's

61:46

demonstrable

61:47

which means you should be able to

61:49

demonstrate or somebody should be able

61:50

to demonstrate it so

61:52

it's the figure that it just reduces

61:54

back to like when you dig into it it

61:55

just reduces back to

61:56

this is what our group said any of our

61:58

listeners who could explain this to us

62:00

better than

62:00

we're seeming to be able to grasp it

62:02

should just email us because yeah i

62:03

tried to look back on uh

62:06

on google trends they only go back as

62:07

far as 2004 but it looks like absolute

62:09

truth

62:10

has like it kind of it peaked some time

62:13

before that because it was already

62:14

trending down that's as far back as they

62:16

go but

62:16

uh my guess is that it was the the

62:19

christian response to post-modernism

62:22

as a movement you've got post-modernism

62:23

that comes in and starts to talk about

62:25

things like okay multiple truths and so

62:28

then and then there's this

62:29

this response on the part of

62:30

christianity where you have to well no

62:32

there's not multiple truths there

62:34

but but there are absolutes these are

62:35

these are things that

62:37

that would be my guess i'd i'd love to

62:39

hear if something in high school

62:40

i mean this is you know i i

62:44

condemn cynicism but i'm pretty cynical

62:47

i want to say

62:48

this is part of the reason why we see so

62:50

many people walking away from from the

62:51

faith from

62:52

from christianity is because we're

62:55

obsessed with

62:56

little weird you know cult like

62:59

ideas like absolute truth like that we

63:02

just don't have to obsess over that

63:04

and talk about it ad nauseam because

63:07

it's just not

63:08

helping us i would say let me ask you

63:10

this kyle

63:11

um as someone who grew up in the church

63:13

and you said you know in the very

63:15

beginning of this podcast that

63:16

you grew up as a fundamentalist in many

63:18

ways and as someone who was passionate

63:21

about apologetics up until

63:23

you know inside of this last decade

63:25

which is the ultimate irony i think

63:27

and as somebody who still identifies as

63:29

a christ follower how would you

63:30

recommend that

63:31

we who identify as christians because i

63:33

sure hope there's some non-christians

63:35

and some atheists and some other faiths

63:38

listening

63:39

but how would you recommend that we

63:40

christians think and talk about truth

63:44

do it less okay

63:47

there's a good start um

63:51

i mean listen to experts people that

63:53

know what they're talking about

63:54

don't take a concept that's extensively

63:58

exhaustively studied in some other area

64:01

and then like

64:02

co-opt it and claim ownership of it and

64:04

like

64:05

give it a kind of parochial definition

64:07

and then insist that that be the

64:09

definition for everyone else it's

64:11

it's not a way to like win friends and

64:12

influence people if you you know what i

64:14

mean

64:15

um i don't know like for maybe it's my

64:18

apologetics

64:19

days jaded me for the whole the whole

64:21

christian use of the concept but

64:24

what we meant by it back then was the

64:26

ability to

64:27

clobber somebody in an argument that's

64:29

what truth was to

64:31

to vindicate your position um and i

64:34

don't see that as a christian idea

64:35

anymore

64:36

in fact i see it as a sinful idea um

64:39

more often than not so i'd like to see

64:41

less emphasis on truth and more emphasis

64:44

on love

64:44

personally not that there's not room for

64:47

true

64:48

robust notion of truth within

64:50

christianity i think there is but

64:52

i think maybe the church would be well

64:54

served by spending a generation or so

64:56

just trying to put truth on the back

64:59

burner for a while

65:00

focus on love a bit more i mean if you

65:03

think reality is one

65:04

thing then and you think that thing is

65:06

love and you think that thing is truth

65:08

then either one should get you there so

65:09

let's just focus on

65:11

love a bit and see where we end up with

65:12

the truth i mean that would be

65:14

my hope for the church but i don't know

65:18

for me the the focus of the christian

65:20

life should be on

65:21

being as faithful and as loving as

65:23

possible

65:24

and but i think both faith and love have

65:28

a kind of rocky relationship with truth

65:30

in the way that it's often practiced in

65:33

the church

65:35

and has been practiced and i don't just

65:36

mean evangelicals either

65:39

i mean orthodoxy in general uh i mean

65:42

the idea that

65:43

religious people have ownership of

65:46

understanding reality that seems to me

65:49

in tension

65:50

with both faith and love

65:53

which are supposed to be humble things

65:56

and i don't see a lot of humility in

65:57

that

65:58

sense of ownership even if we think as

66:01

any good catholic would that

66:05

truth is a gift of god somehow

66:08

nonetheless i'm still

66:09

a fallible human who's trying to

66:11

interpret it the best i can

66:13

alongside other fallible humans who

66:15

don't see it the way that i do so

66:17

yeah and just in case there's any

66:20

good wonderful christians who are again

66:24

getting a little angsty right now i'm

66:26

just going to encourage you

66:28

with keeping in mind what you just heard

66:30

from kyle stop your car

66:33

stop cutting your grass whatever you're

66:35

doing and

66:37

on your phone go turn to first

66:39

corinthians 13

66:40

and read that through and then see what

66:43

you think

66:44

yeah i don't see paul talking

66:47

that much about being being able to i

66:50

don't know vindicate your view he i mean

66:52

he definitely argues a lot okay so to be

66:54

fair he definitely uh like

66:56

likes to win arguments but it's

66:57

definitely all in the service of getting

66:59

people to love each other better to be

67:00

more faithful

67:02

so i don't know i think i just want to

67:05

advocate for

67:06

more humility and less confidence that

67:09

we possess

67:10

the truth it's okay to think that you

67:12

know what's correct it's okay to try to

67:14

convince other people about it if you do

67:15

so in an honest way

67:17

and in a way that preserves the dignity

67:19

of the other person

67:20

uh which a lot of times we don't but to

67:23

think that you possess it that it's your

67:26

your thing that's yeah that's a problem

67:29

yeah so this is getting at something

67:31

that um an idea and a concept that

67:33

i think you know i'm quite certain you

67:35

introduced me to

67:36

that i'm really really a huge fan of now

67:39

which is

67:40

this idea of epistemic humility

67:42

epistemic being

67:43

like how we know what we know right

67:45

being humble about what we know

67:47

epistemic humility i think christians

67:50

would

67:50

do very well to acquaint ourselves with

67:52

this idea of epistemic humility so kyle

67:54

can you can you

67:55

just unpack just a little bit more again

67:57

for us the concept of epistemic humility

68:00

and why it might be a virtue in in this

68:02

day and age

68:03

yeah i mean it's it's regular humility

68:06

applied to what you know

68:07

so regular humility is a virtue you're

68:10

putting the interests of others ahead of

68:12

of your own but you're also not denying

68:15

or downplaying or deprecating your own

68:17

interests

68:18

you're simply focused on the good of

68:19

others that's your fundamental

68:21

orientation

68:22

uh and now apply that to knowledge well

68:25

i'm

68:26

i'm focused on learning from others i'm

68:27

focused on

68:29

building something together with a

68:31

community of people because i think

68:32

we're better together

68:34

than we are as individuals so in a way

68:37

it's just the opposite of overconfidence

68:39

it's the opposite of

68:41

going it alone being sort of a lone

68:43

crusader and figuring things out

68:46

so actually i wrote a blog a little

68:48

while ago where i talked a little bit

68:49

about this so

68:51

i give a description how very like early

68:53

2000s

68:54

i know right yeah um i give a

68:57

description in there of an epistemically

68:58

humble person that i just want to read

69:00

for you

69:00

if that's okay it's just a couple of

69:02

paragraphs um so i say

69:05

uh the epistemically humble person will

69:07

know both her own limitations and her

69:09

strengths

69:10

how important it is to rely on others

69:11

for what she knows she'll be

69:13

focused on learning from experts and on

69:15

making a genuine contribution rather

69:17

than

69:18

appearing to make a contribution she'll

69:20

recognize that her own opinions are not

69:22

obviously true

69:23

and will understand that disagreement

69:25

itself is evidence of this

69:27

she'll be quick to say i don't know when

69:29

she doesn't know

69:30

she won't succumb to the pressure to

69:32

pretend that she knows or to excuse her

69:34

ignorance by redirecting attention to

69:36

all the things that she does know

69:38

and moreover she will readily change her

69:40

mind when presented with new evidence

69:42

which tips the scales in another

69:43

direction

69:44

and she won't pretend that she didn't

69:46

change her mind or pay lip service to

69:48

the pernicious idea

69:49

that changing one's mind is a defect

69:52

when dealing with others who believe

69:54

differently she will remember what it's

69:55

like to hold a different view

69:57

and will try to be grateful for those

69:58

people who listened to her and helped

70:00

her

70:01

then she will keep in mind that people

70:02

often have bad introductions to ideas

70:05

and will try to find out how they

70:07

understand what's at stake

70:08

before launching a counter-attack the

70:11

humble person will present her opinions

70:13

when it is appropriate to present them

70:15

such as when people ask or when she is

70:17

an expert

70:18

or when she can highlight a point made

70:19

by someone else that went unnoticed

70:22

or when she's aware of being able to

70:23

articulate an important point clearly

70:26

and and this is important she will

70:28

present her opinions with her level

70:30

of confidence so i believe this but i'm

70:32

not certain about it for the following

70:34

reasons

70:35

and she'll know when not to have an

70:36

opinion and will be comfortable saying

70:38

i don't have enough information to take

70:40

a position on that

70:42

and finally i say this is the end of it

70:44

she will make her arguments and

70:46

assertions unapologetically without

70:48

condescension but also without pretense

70:50

or embarrassment because i think a part

70:52

of humility is having an accurate

70:53

self-understanding

70:55

i know my limits but i also know my

70:56

strengths and i don't try to present

70:58

them as anything other than what they

70:59

are

71:00

yeah all that sounds fantastic but um

71:03

makes for a really bad preacher

71:07

people like certainty you're joking

71:09

though

71:16

yeah so we we've already recorded

71:19

an episode with another philosopher

71:21

where we kind of

71:22

dive into this a bit and we haven't

71:24

released it yet at the time of this

71:26

recording but

71:28

but this is important i mean there is a

71:30

sense in which

71:33

evangelizing or not even just

71:35

evangelizing but

71:37

exhorting people to faith which is part

71:39

of the job of a pastor

71:43

i don't want to say that it can't be

71:44

done humbly i think it can and i think

71:46

you you model that pretty well usually

71:49

but it it lends itself to overconfidence

71:53

you kind of have to i remember so i used

71:56

to

71:56

back when i was doing my apologetic

71:58

stuff i would go and speak places

72:00

sometimes

72:01

about that stuff and a buddy of mine who

72:03

was kind of my mentor also really into

72:05

that

72:06

he's given me some advice on how to do

72:07

it one time and he said

72:09

when you walk into a room you decide the

72:12

room is yours

72:13

and you own it yeah you own the audience

72:16

and then when you walk out of the room

72:18

you give them back

72:20

and you have to like very intentionally

72:21

do that and so i kind of trained myself

72:23

to do that and

72:24

it's really easy to forget the second

72:26

part and i think

72:28

pastors are in a hard position because

72:32

they have to speak in a way that's

72:34

exhorting and upbuilding

72:36

uh but they are they also have to speak

72:39

in a way that's humble

72:40

and it doesn't let on that they know

72:43

more than they do and that's

72:45

that's a hard road to walk which is why

72:46

i don't think everybody should do it

72:49

[Music]

72:51

is it possible kyle to have real faith

72:54

in something

72:56

in the divine while holding that faith

72:59

with epistemic humility what does

73:01

you described a lot within you know

73:03

quoting your blog post

73:04

but what what does that look like where

73:07

have you seen it in in a person

73:09

and what does it look like what's the

73:10

flavors

73:13

yeah it's definitely possible i mean

73:16

i i think you successfully do it most of

73:18

the time

73:20

i think i've been actually blessed to be

73:22

surrounded by people who are a lot

73:24

better at faith than i am for most of my

73:25

life and

73:26

i've seen really good examples of

73:28

humility um

73:30

it it's like c.s lewis said when when

73:32

you're around a humble person you

73:33

probably don't really remember it

73:34

probably didn't stick in your brain very

73:36

well because they were probably just

73:37

good conversationalist they probably

73:39

just were interested in you

73:41

mm-hmm i've definitely seen a lot of

73:42

really great examples of that i mean i

73:44

think it just

73:46

it just looks like presenting

73:49

your confidence and presenting your

73:52

doubt transparently

73:56

and not never pretending i mean pretense

73:59

is the opposite of humility

74:01

so and anybody can do that you can you

74:04

can do it about anything

74:07

i can i can pretend to know more than i

74:08

do about theories of truth i can pretend

74:11

to know more than i do about

74:13

how to be a faithful christian and i

74:15

think that's

74:16

what you just said there talking about

74:18

what being

74:20

confident about what you believe and

74:22

being honest about what you doubt

74:24

i think that's why this conversation one

74:26

of the reasons why this conversation has

74:27

gotten

74:28

so difficult and so needed in the church

74:30

is because

74:31

of this well we've talked about the

74:33

before the idol of certainty in the

74:34

church

74:35

that it's for for any christian

74:39

to have doubt or uncertainty about

74:42

something

74:43

as it goes with their faith journey

74:46

theology what have you

74:48

that's a scary and dirty place to be

74:51

you're not allowed to do that

74:52

in a lot of the church i mean our church

74:56

you are allowed to do that but i

74:57

remember talking to someone who is from

74:59

our church network

75:00

and i talked about how i'm going through

75:01

we're going through ecclesiastes at this

75:03

point and we're talking about

75:05

uh doubt and uncertainty and christ

75:09

faith crises and giving faith space for

75:11

that and he was

75:12

blown away that we would be talking

75:14

about this you know he was he lives in

75:16

the bible belt

75:17

where it's especially you know profane

75:20

to admit any doubt or uncertainty but

75:22

the church has replaced

75:26

i think much of the christian church has

75:28

replaced faith

75:29

with certainty and really we can't get

75:32

it through our heads that

75:33

those are opposing concepts that one

75:36

doesn't match with the other

75:38

it's just not the the fact in the

75:41

apostle paul let's go back to the

75:42

apostle paul maybe someone who

75:44

we on the other side of this

75:45

conversation would like to quote more

75:47

than anybody

75:48

the apostle paul didn't say certainty

75:51

in the reality of christ will save you

75:54

the apostle paul said

75:55

faith and even in the greek translation

75:57

it's faithfulness

75:58

to the way of christ is what saves you

76:01

if if anything does

76:02

and that's just diametrically opposed to

76:07

this idea of being certain of not having

76:08

any doubt of knowing

76:11

why how did we get to this place where

76:14

we replaced

76:15

faith and belief with certainty and

76:17

knowing and

76:18

and by knowing i mean a very

76:22

silly sense of knowing yeah

76:25

that's a question for historian i think

76:27

we could do a whole episode on that we

76:29

should definitely probably have one on

76:30

the podcast i mean

76:32

i think the answer whatever it is would

76:34

be pretty frustrating

76:36

i mean in my experience with the holy

76:38

spirit

76:40

certainty or even confidence about

76:43

propositions has really never been even

76:46

part of the interaction

76:51

it's the holy spirit has only ever led

76:53

me away from that if if i'm

76:55

frank and so i have a hard time and i

76:59

know that this is

77:01

i have really good catholic friends that

77:03

i respect a great deal and i have

77:04

friends who are parts of other

77:06

traditions who would

77:08

take us take a similar view as the one

77:10

i'm about to critique but i have a

77:11

really hard time

77:13

thinking that orthodoxy was

77:17

the result of the leading of the holy

77:19

spirit

77:20

the battening down the hatches about

77:23

what's true

77:25

was was the result of following god

77:32

that's a huge thing to say and probably

77:35

not a very humble thing to say because

77:36

i'm

77:37

one little guy in this long tradition of

77:40

christians trying their best

77:41

and i think most of those people were

77:43

probably trying their best and they were

77:44

sincere and i'm sure they

77:46

heard from the holy spirit but in my

77:49

interactions and that's all i can speak

77:50

to

77:52

that's just not what she does she leads

77:54

me to

77:56

serving people particular people in my

77:58

sphere

78:00

and i'd like to be a fly on the wall on

78:04

some of those ecumenical councils

78:06

just to see how often and if ever the

78:09

point was raised

78:12

is this actually what we should be doing

78:15

and is this in service of

78:17

particular people that we can name

78:20

again that's a question for his story

78:21

and maybe it was yep

78:23

yep so friends

78:27

if you're still with us if particularly

78:30

you friends who were getting a little

78:32

bit insecure and

78:34

you know angry during the beginning of

78:36

this episode

78:38

if you're still hanging with us if

78:39

you're still here i just want to say

78:42

maybe maybe that same spirit that kyle

78:45

was just speaking to is

78:46

offering us an invitation out of

78:50

a prideful religion that's built on

78:52

pretense

78:54

and into a never-ending

78:58

journey towards truth that we'll never

79:01

fully wrap our hands around and our

79:03

heads around and our hearts and our

79:04

spirits around but we're never going to

79:06

stop journeying towards truth we're

79:08

never going to stop

79:10

journeying towards that which is real

79:13

we're never going to stop journeying

79:14

towards christ and it's going to be the

79:16

best

79:18

most beautiful journey that we could

79:20

ever go on is going to be painful

79:22

it's going to be you know there's going

79:24

to be grief in it there's going to be

79:26

disappointment along the way

79:28

but the whole time even in our grief

79:30

we're going to be

79:31

invited into truth even in our pain

79:35

and even in our wrestlings even in our

79:37

longings

79:38

we're going to find truth there because

79:40

we're going to find christ in those

79:41

places

79:42

and so maybe we're just being invited

79:44

into a different way of holding and

79:45

looking at

79:46

and walking with our faith that

79:50

is a lot more appealing to both yourself

79:52

when it comes down to it and to the

79:54

people around you

79:55

and actually seems a little bit more

79:57

christ-like in the way we find it in the

80:02

gospels

80:09

thanks for spending this time with us we

80:10

really hope that you're enjoying these

80:12

conversations as much as we are

80:14

and if you are help us get the word out

80:16

before you close your podcast app leave

80:18

a rating or a review

80:19

that helps new listeners find us maybe

80:21

for the first time

80:22

if you'd like to share the episode you

80:23

just heard with a friend or a family

80:25

member

80:26

you can find those links on our social

80:27

media pages you can also find us over on

80:29

patreon

80:30

at patreon.com a pastor and a

80:32

philosopher

80:33

thanks again for listening until next

80:35

time this has been a pastor and a

80:37

philosopher

80:38

walk into a bar

80:49

[Music]