There is truth about the pizza

January 22, 2006 at 11:02 pm 1 comment

A rabid materialist turned prolific Christian author, Clifford Goldstein grew up in a thoroughly postmodern secular Jewish household. As a result of his upbringing, he became convinced as a young man that truth was completely and totally relative—what was true for one person was true for them only. As for objective truth, it simply did not exist.

One day, as a student in college, Goldstein was sitting in a pizza parlor reading Spinoza and eating his lunch. He looked down at his plate and all of a sudden came to the startling realization that there was actually a factual explanation for the origin of the pizza he was eating. The pizza came from somewhere and was made for some specific purpose. No matter how many theories there were about the pizza’s origin, there was nevertheless a single, objective reality. In that moment, Clifford Goldstein suddenly discovered that truth exists.

On Friday night, as I sat in an audience of college students listening to Goldstein tell his story, this pizza parlor experience struck a deep chord in me.

Having been attending a state university for the last three years, I’m immersed five days a week in a world in which no objective source of truth exists. In English classes, there are as many acceptable interpretations of a text as there are people in the class—all that matters is that you argue ably for yours. In history classes, there is no final arbiter of historical disputes; the past is amorphous, and we are resigned to accounting for it only in terms of approximations.

The collective non-recognition of objectivity in my secular academic world has a befuddling effect on me sometimes. Day after day, I am confronted with academia’s skepticism about overconfident proclamations of truth, and I am bewildered by the realization that very few of my “truths” have the black and white simplicity I crave.

At times, I realize that I have adopted an attitude of methodological doubt and then forgotten that the doubt was supposed to be a means, not an end in itself. By the end of my week, when I can barely distinguish up from down, let alone intelligently tackle the perplexing questions of worldview wars, I sometimes forget that there is any truth at all.

But in moments like these, I must remind myself that I don’t actually live in a black hole void of objectivity. No matter the mystifying array of interpretations of any given text, authors write specific stories for specific purposes. Historical subjects actually lived in actual places. And there is truth about the pizza.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Euthyphro’s dilemma Mind-altering monster

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Khan Po  |  July 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    You also might consider the possibility that the relativism you see is endemic to your chosen area of study rather than secular academia as a whole.

    Reply

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Profile

profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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