What an amazing opportunity schools have, to build into the men and women of tomorrow. To speak into their character development and to equip them with the skills and tools to think and to contribute. To hold out to them the existence of ‘truth’, and training in the tools to pursue and find it. At a time when our culture is moving quickly towards uncertainty and relativity, a place where there is no one truth, but many truths, we have a great responsibility.
We often do what we want and then create a moral code that suits our actions……the result is a corrupted intellectual conscience that no longer values the truth, if it can still distinguish the truth from falsehood at all. Dallas Willard has argued that this results in our behaviour guiding our ethics rather than our ethics guiding our behaviour (p66). What a dangerous place to be!
“Those who are fair-minded earnestly want to know the truth and thus are willing to listen in an even handed way to differing opinions, even if they already have strong views on the subject…they attempt to view the issue from the perspective of their opponents, believing they do not always have the most accurate or complete vantage point on a given issue….. they have chosen to put the truth above allegiance to their ego or cherished opinions…..” (p50)
CS Lewis once wrote “you cannot practice any of the other virtues without bringing this one into play…it is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Honest thinking …. the courage to challenge frightening ideas and the courage to stick to your guns when you become convinced of the truth.”
Dow explains that “those who are intellectually courageous earnestly want to know the truth, and so they take risks in the pursuit of truth. They are willing to reconsider their own beliefs even if this scares them.” (p28)
“concern with truth is the heart of virtuous intellectual character. It is what gives rise to intellectual virtues like reflectiveness, attentiveness, fairmindedness, intellectual carefulness and courage” (Virtuous Minds*, p13 )
Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone accepted that ‘all truth is relative’ and that it is okay for ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ to be diametrically opposed? Doesn’t this idea contradict the actual definition of truth?