Finding A Home with The Truth
by Donavon L Riley

A phenomenon as old as the hills, though folks now think it new, the abolishment of truth has been threading its tendrils through our lives for decades. Not new, not recent, but constant like the ticking of an old clock, this strange tide has carried us to shores unknown.

Years past, they spoke of the end of history. Proud words, bold words. Fukuyama and his kin proclaimed it, believing they had seen the last of the great wars and the end of human strife. But history is a sly beast, never truly caged. And so, in the murky twilight of the 20th century, truth began to unravel. Truth, once a noble pursuit, was sacrificed on the altar of its own discovery.

After the great wars, a new empiricism took root. Like the old Enlightenment, yet stranger, it revived Comte’s positivism, but without the spirit. Comte’s “Religion of Humanity,” for all its failings, sought truth in its way, built churches to its ideals. But this new wave, this deconstructivist, post-modern tide, denied even the ground beneath our feet. Picture two officers at a crime scene, debating the why and the who, while a third enters to deny the crime itself.

Truth drifted, became personal, fractured into shards of subjective experience. The idea of an objective, universal truth became quaint, something to be bought and sold like a trinket. The search for truth turned cold, mechanistic, reducing it to a utility. And so, at present, we do not ask, what have we lost? We do not question what obstructs us, prevents us from walking the path to truth. Instead, we thoughtlessly adopt the latest innovation that promises us more convenience, less resistance, an escape from stress and strain.

We have forgotten the road. Between point A and point B lies the wilderness, fraught with trials, struggle, self-doubt, questions, wrong turns, and ultimately the welcome sight of home. Truth is not a job or a task that demands completion, it is a quest. Our purpose is to find it, yet the search has become harder still. What is truth? Many no longer claim to know. So we must first seek its opposite in our breathless, artificial age. Authenticity. The genuine article, the antidote to our times.

To be authentic is to be honest, rigorously honest. It is a rarity now, in this age of quantity and superficiality. Ernst Jünger, in his way, saw it clearly: “I am an anarch – not because I despise authority, but because I need it. Likewise, I am not a nonbeliever, but a man who demands something worth believing in.”

Worth. Not the worth of gold or accolades, but the worth that lets us believe. Who are we to seek truth if we live in falsehood? How can we deem ourselves worthy of life if we do not engage with the real? Truth is total honesty, and authenticity brings forth the highest form of that honesty. For example, I write not to claim truth, but to cast off falsehoods. I seek to learn, to face my flaws and the failures of my culture with honesty. In this age, we must seek raw, cold reality. Only then, in that stark stillness of revelation, will we find where our true value lies. Only then will we hear the song of truth.

So we walk these paths, carrying the weight of our own misconceptions. We look back at those who have gone before us, who have grappled with the most essential questions of being, the likes of which lead us to ponder deeper truths than we may be comfortable with. Our age, steeped in life-ending sterility, demands a return to something raw, something unrefined. The authentic. It is not in the polished and the perfect that we find our way, but in the flawed and the earnest. It is in the struggle and the striving that we uncover what it means to truly seek, to truly understand.

There is no map for this, no guidebook. Just the unrelenting push towards something real. And so, we move forward, not in certainty, but in the hope that through the fog of falsehoods, we will catch sight of the truth, and make our home with it. That we will hear, at long last, the thrum that has been pulsing beneath the noise of our age. A tune that has always been there, waiting for ears willing to hear.

By Donovan Riley

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for 1517. He is also a co-host of Banned Books and Warrior Priest podcasts. He is the author of the book, "Crucifying Religion” and “The Withertongue Emails.” He is also a contributing author to "The Sinner/Saint Devotional: 60 Days in the Psalms" and "Theology of the Cross".

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