Postmodernism as articulated in the mid-20th century was bad enough—bad enough, in fact, to persuade me not to pursue a PhD in English when I realized how thoroughly that philosophy of deconstruction, epistemological and moral relativism, and rejection of meaning and rationalism dominated the academy. But it got worse—much, much worse—in the early 21st century when the illuminati proclaimed the ascendance of a post-truth era. In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries even declared post-truth its word of the year. While debates continue about whether post-truth is a philosophy, a type of politics, or simply a description of the Zeitgeist, most agree that it relates to the subjugation of objective fact to emotion and personal belief in decision-making.
That distrust of verifiable, objective facts is dangerous enough. But truth—perhaps we should say Truth—is not equivalent to mere fact. Truth has a necessary valuational component that gives it not only credibility, but also moral authority. I would go so far as to argue that Truth = Fact + Value.
In my view, the decision to trust language as our closest approximation of the ineffable is the choice we must make if we want to understand anything about the nature of reality. Living in a period in which the most fundamental compasses of meaning are deemed unworthy of our trust puts us in a frightening hall of mirrors, in which the only reality is a distorted and purely self-referential image.
We must decidedly reject such a worldview and trust both fact and truth. We must remember the source of that capital-T Truth, Jesus, who said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The truth we must embrace is thus that of the Word–Logos–made flesh, described in that overpoweringly beautiful scripture we always read on the first Sunday after Christmas:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14)