I am blessed with a job that allows me plenty of time to poke around the internet, which is both a blessing and a horrible temptation. At various times over the last few months, I have seen several postings on pomo/emergent blogs about theology and truth. I've left comments on some of these discussions and have gotten a relatively uniform response. I'll post some quotes, and then give my thoughts.
From Pomomusings in a post about theology and experience, wherein I left a comment asserting there may be an objectively true theology that we should strive to discover and adhere to it, I got this response:
"Theology is simply God-talk....I hate to break this to you bro, but there is no one, absolute, universal theology. It is impossible...There is no one way to think of God. There is no one theology."
From Harbinger, in a post describing "Vulnerable Generosity." Steve basically holds that VG is talking to others with the constant admission "I believe this, but I might be wrong" and it is really the best way for us to interact with the Other. I contended that at some point, not everything we believe should be "on the chopping block" merely for the sake of discussion. The author would have none of it, stating over a few posts:
"nathan, yes, everything has to be on the chopping block, or we are guilty of fundamentalism, dogmatism, and fideism in refusing to consider seriously the possibility that we are mistaken...I am familiar with the most valiant attempts in the history of philosophy to defend certainty, and I am also familiar with the arguments that in my mind decisively refute defenses of certitude."
The most recently, on Radical Congruency, Justin pens a piece comparing the Bible & theology to open-source computer programming. Its an interesting idea, but one that has its difficulties, as Justin realizes:
"I think many people confuse open-source with Wiki, the latter referring to online document collections that can be edited by anyone. Scripture is not subject to casual revision, though it is from time to time revised to reflect the best understandings of leading scholars and experts."
I'm not sure what revisions he is referencing above, but in the comments, I pointed out that there is some danger in opening our theology to be changed by anyone in our community - we don't know if they are being led by the Spirit or if they have a particular axe to grind, nor should we see our theology as mere God-talk. I pointed out that, ideally, our theology actually corresponds to the reality of God, and at some point, we have to put up a boundary that separates us as Christians from, say, Muslims. Another commenter replies in a lengthy post:
"I do not assume that any person has a firm enough grasp of the reality of God to adequately express Him to anybody. Nor do I think that any person could have such a firm grasp on the reality and truth and nature of God."
All of these were good discussions with insightful posts and points, but I am alarmed at the uniformity with which the pomo/emergent crowd thinks it is impossible that we can know the truth about God or, at the very least, are unwilling to say "I believe this is true." I know full well that I cannot *prove* that my beliefs are correct - I cannot prove the Incarnation or the Resurrection, I cannot prove the Trinity or the inspiration of the Bible - but I can say that I *believe* they are true, that they correspond to the reality of God. From there, I have a basis for living out my faith and participating in the communal life of the church.
What happens to a church or group of believers who are unwilling, or too scared, to make that statement of faith? What happens when we are unwilling to put a stake in the ground and say "we believe this is true"? This is a complete rejection of the historic witness of the church, in both its Traditional (Roman Catholic and Orthodox) and Protestant iterations. For the last 2,000 years, Christians have rooted their faith in specific events and specific beliefs about them - what about that makes this generation so uncomfortable? What drives this fear of certainty?