In a culture supersaturated with information, overwrought and overstimulated by media, none of us is immune to the allure of truthiness. With our attention stretched thin and largely confined to the surface, we are forced back on our intuition, to some reflexive sense of what “feels true.” Enter The Da Vinci Code. With the benefit of hindsight we can say the novel got noticed because of able marketing, and because it played into the manic milieu of truthiness.
While I respect the age-old wisdom about steering clear of politics, sex and religion in polite conversation, those seem to be the only things that anyone wants to talk about these days. My line of work has something to do with it, I am sure. So does the fact that this is an election year.
What gives a human being the capacity to attend to the truth, and to grow in that capacity?” My friend’s question hung in the air, dangling over the center of the table as those of us in the room found ourselves strangely silent.
"Thinking critically, living faithfully.” In those four words we’ve attempted to describe this magazine. In placing this phrase under our name on the cover, we offer a clue to those unfamiliar with the magazine—who come upon it at a newsstand or discover it on someone’s coffee table—as to what the Christian Century is about.
It’s easy to define a lie: it is a statement the speaker knows is not true. Being truthful is more complex. As Bonhoeffer argued, character matters. A truth told by an untruthful person could be worse than a lie told by a truthful person. And context matters too. What, for example, is the truthful response to a murderer who shows up at your door in search of your friend whom he intends to murder?
We often engage in disputes about how events from the past should be remembered. Whether we’ve had an argument with a child, a quarrel with a spouse or a debate about national history, the truth about the past seems to matter a great deal. And yet there are powerful voices in our culture that tell us that we should let go of this interest.
About a year and a half ago my wife and I bought our first house. Before we moved in there was a lot to do: hang new curtains, paint, pull up old carpet, install new counter tops and purchase a microwave. Although we are now settled in, I have not been able to kick the habit of perusing the real estate pages of the Sunday paper.