Monday, 4 May 2009

Blogging and the truth

Giles Frazer, in The Church Times, refers to Ruth Gledhill's blog in The Times in which she criticizes Christians who are so nasty to each other on the internet in their own blogs. It's a fair point as it is very easy to post comments that are far more negative and vitriolic than you would use to someone's face. The same is true of e-mails. More than once I have fired off an e-mail in anger and then regretted it. The government has nearly come unstuck through the careless use of e-mails and blogs in recent weeks.

The thing is that it's possible to post almost anything on the internet without contradiction or comment. I know from this blog that more people read it than comment on it, though a few who know me have made verbal comments.

The ability to post at ease on the internet has made Wikipedia probably the most popular place to go to find out anything about anything or anyone, but I always wonder: Who validates it? I know it's supposed to be self-validating, but I will only really trust a source of knowledge if I know it has come from someone with a proven reputation. I suppose this is one of the big differences between 'modern' and post-modern' thinking. The 'modern' scientific approach to life is concerned with objective truth - truth that is the same everywhere and all the time. For the post-modern person 'truth' is subjective: it may be true for you, but it doesn't have to be true for me; it may work for you, but it doesn't work for me.

I wonder if the church, in its attempt to connect with contemporary culture, has accepted too much post-modern thinking and hasn't challenged it enough. I'm sure truth has to be universal, or it simply isn't the truth. But how is objective universal truth presented in a way that attracts rather than repels? Jesus was described as being 'full of grace and truth', and it seems to me that this is the perfect winsome combination.

None of us is perfect; I'm sure we would all want to be better people. Grace without truth leaves you with no reason to change; truth without grace does not help you to change - it's like the law in that it simply shows you where you are wrong. But grace and truth together hold out both reason and help to change. Thank God that in Jesus grace and truth go together and that he is the one who gives us a reason and the help to change.

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