by Rob Lundberg
Those of you who have seen my postings where I have referred to our being a “post-truth culture” may be wondering where does this come from. In essence, my mission in this post is to promote my friend, Abdu Murray’s forthcoming book, Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World.
Why do I like this book? Having been a minister of the gospel for over thirty years, I have seen first hand the seismic ideological shifts our culture has gone through and related to his call for clarity in a chaotic culture which has lost its moorings on truth and real freedom. By way of introduction and explanation, allow me a moment of transparency.
Being 57 years of age, born in 1960, I would be considered a member of the generation known as the Baby Boomers (1946-1964). Bearing that in mind, when the Lord invaded my life and saved me, it was in 1980. That year those who were born between the years of 1965-1980 would be in what most social culture watchers call the Baby Busters (aka Generation X, 1965-1980).
If those of us were to have the gospel shared with us during that time, we would have a tendency to allow ourselves to hear it and consider what the Bible says. But things in our culture have changed and with that, seismic ideological shifts in the culture. I don’t know whether you have realized this or not, but right around the age of understanding for Millennials (1981-1996), we have seen that a “the Bible says. . . ” approach to evangelism has been eliciting a response of “that’s true for you.”
It is here, during this this period of time that we see the impact of postmodernism. In the book Saving Truth, Abdu describes it as an ideology that took root in the 1970’s, and was a “rejection of absolute truth.” Sure postmodernism had other aims, but I agree with Abdu when he states that this “rejection of absolute truth was a defining goal.”
So when those of us who were doing evangelism during this time were share prefaced with, “the Bible says,” it was not anything to hear “what’s true for you may not be true for me.” Another response one might here is “you believe the Bible is absolute truth, but I don’t believe there is such a thing as absolute truth.”
For those who see behind these statements, they self implode and are definitely unlivable. But as this ideology remained resilient for a few decades, it has now been replaced as of the year 2016, when the Word of the Year in the Oxford Dictionary was declared. That word presents a new ideology. The word was “post truth.”
What does this post truth mindset mean?
Unlike the postmodern mindset, rejecting absolute truth, the post truth mindset is acknowledges objective truth, but subjects it to personal preferences. This is the whole gist of Abdu’s book.
In his book, he shows the dangers of the ramifications of living out a post-truth mindset for our culture and the world abroad. Allow me to recommend this book when it is released on May 8th. If you are involved in living out the Great Commandment, and the Great Commission, you cannot miss reading this book.
After laying down an understanding of what this post truth mindset looks like, he touches on several areas where this mindset has affected our culture. As painful as it may be, he starts with the church. Without going into full summation of the book, let me just hit on the main points, hopefully whetting your appetite for getting this book.
With reference to the church he shows how the church has addressed some of the hot-button moral issues of our culture, and how it has affected the witness. Basically it has been a witness of being disagreeable in our disagreement on these volatile issues, rather than an approach of disagreeing without an outward action of being disagreeable. The church has not made the gospel pill easy to swallow due to its witness.
After the chapter on the church he moves into a summation of how our culture at large does not understand the idea of freedom and liberty. In essence our culture does not know the difference between “freedom from ____” and “freedom to ____” In this section he echoes several writers affirmation that these concepts are two sides of the same coin, but many people are clouded by the former and unable to see the latter. To draw this out, he references many thinkers; but one in particular is Os Guinness. If you would like to follow Abdu’s argument, allow me to recommend a book, by Dr. Guinness which I have also read, entitled A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future.
This book is also relevant to some of the issues we see regarding the intrinsic value of human life in the media and events of the past. His chapter on the understanding the understanding of human dignity is very relevant for the days we are in and for the days to come. The same holds true in his chapter for needing a clarity and confusion of sexuality, gender and identity.
The battle between the anti theist and theist on the issue of science and faith is also included in Saving Truth. We need a clarity about science and faith thanks to the loud neo-Darwinists, naturalistic thinkers and pop atheists. Abdu points out those on the anti theistic side showing the bankruptcy of the arguments.
The chapter on the clarity of religious pluralism is one of those postmodern issues that have been carried into the mindset of our post truth chaotic culture. While there are a great amount of religions out there for selecting filling the God-shaped vacuum that everyone of us has, there are fundamental differences that make them not say the same thing. Abdu brings these issues in his chapter
His final chapter points to the only answer of how Jesus Christ, the Son of God emerges through this chaotic fog, to bring real clarity. In this chapter he points to freedom to truth and moves to the thought of pointing truth to a clarity of the words of Jesus, “You shall know the the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).
But our confused culture has taken a faulty understanding of freedom, rejected absolute truth from the postmodern mindset and elevated personal preferences over absolute truth. When you reject absolute truth, one finds that an understanding of real freedom is clouded, and leads to cultural chaos. Where does the answer lie?
I lies in the person of Christ where Abdu closes his book,
“Jesus is the river and the land, and the fount of living water and the rock of our salvation. He secures humanity’s freedom to be what we were intended to be: sacred beings in relationship with the divine. When we realize that, confusion dissapates like fog and clarity remains. What is truth? we may ask in a world that elevates personal preference over truth. The answer is Jesus — the truth who is personal. He is the Saving Truth.”
Abdu’s book, Saving Truth: Finding Meaning & Clarity in a Post-Truth Culture is going to be release or should I say launched on May 8th. Look for it on booklists and in Christian bookstores where sold. If you would like to order it on Amazon, it is now being on Amazon.com. Why not pre-order your copy today!
Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a confused, chaotic, “brave new world.” He is available to come and speak to your church, college club, or group. Find out what people are saying.
If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.