Q: What is Truth?
A: The Answer stands before anyone who asks. Sometimes, He doesn’t make a sound, because the language has denied the very possibility of a word, much less the Word. Language is the participation of a soul with the logos of Creation, so it makes sense that the Son of God is the Word of God. But sometimes, in a darkened world, language refuses participation, and makes no sense, and the Word remains silent.
The Word is silent today: the oracles have shut down. Will the globe get warmer? Silence. Will China take over? Silence. Who should we vote for? Silence. Should church leaders make up and get along? Silence. Should we try them and arrest them, and go over their accounting? Silence. Should we play the tsar again, or should we wander into gray old Europe and repeat, with Otto’s grandchildren, that truth is just, you know, nice? Silence. Should we prove how social-minded we are and get our pictures in the paper building houses, presenting checks, thumping chests? Silence. Should we invade Iran? Pakistan? Silence. Should we embrace ID or disavow it? Should we plunge a human nucleus in a bovine embryo? Should we say that a man is pregnant?
Silence. Silence. Silence.
The Answer does not speak, because the inquisitors are not interested in answers. They are engaged, merely, in the mean business of measuring the correspondence of this new philosophy with their own supreme opinions. They want to feel esteemed, significant, approved, greeted in the marketplace, set down at the right place at the banquets. They want their degrees noted, achievements catalogued, autographs sought, royalties paid, and appearances on the news. Jesus is so fundamental, so extraordinarily insufferably inconvenient, so inexpedient. So disposable.
The Answer is Truth, and the silence of Truth indicts the plastic falsity of the Age. The Word of God is silent, He speaks but we cannot hear, for we do not see Creation in the world. We have exchanged beauty for probability. We have given up meaning in favor of worldview. We have traded salvation for therapy, reality for virtuality, natural law for consensus. We have sold the Gospel for the New World Order, for thirty pieces of silver.
No, Jesus does not speak to us. We are Cross-eyed like Pilate, flummoxed, because after all we don’t need saved anymore. What is perdition? What is sin? What is beauty, right and good? What is wrong? What is truth?
Truth is the Answer, but it sounds, today, like 42.
Silence. We have forgotten the question, and the whole of life is a computation.
Silence, the Answer seems meaningless. Until we break our mind open, and walk out into the cold bright morning, the zero summer, into the death of repetitions and somnolent phrases, the cessation of ambient noise, the aging of perpetual adolescence and the shaming of geriatric mainline complaint and smugness, the discovery of hard roaring and infinite beauty that consumes, like fire, the idols of Hegel’s reveries.
Rise up, sleeper, arise from the dead, and the light of Christ will shine upon you.
He is the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.
He is the Answer, but inquiries are taken only at the foot of the Cross. The unfortunate, maddening plight of Christian intellectuals and cultural effetes is this simple thing: all philosophy is cruciform, and all theology demands repentance.
Christians may not speak in the cultured symposium unless they carry, on their shoulders, the fundamentalistic, close-minded, parochial, irrelevant, patriarchal and hackneyed Cross. If Plato and Dewey still want to carry on a conversation, in the shadow of this offense, then fine, we have much to talk about. Many sentences to complete. Much theory to fix. More thought to heal.
But Plato and Dewey are usually too much offended, and only the poor, the halt, the blind and the accused are left behind in the dust. They do not read the papers and are never mentioned. The banquets are not for them. They do not wear purple, and the only gold they know is what gleams from the sun, in the gloaming west. They are tired of opinions and self-esteem, for these do not save. They do not read narratives. They do not entertain themselves with self-consciousness. They do not need self-discovery. They know enough of this. They know enough to be scared to death of death, and they have the guts to admit it. They are not fooled by the opiates of chic and celebrity, the virtual cradle that lulls fat nurseries to sleep.
The poor see death tomorrow, better than you or I. They are honest enough to be frightened. You and I are swaddled by our opinions.
They hear the silence. You and I hear it at the end of the day, when theories do not save us from our nightmares, when we remember that many great composers and artists were unhappy men, who could not string the beauty of their work into their everyday. That, too, is silence in the middle of the human night, the death of plastic angels.
After the silence, truth is there, only for sinners. The Word is silent to all pretense, and He is a cipher to all pretending. He speaks, though, to the sick who need a Physician, to the blind who want the Light. He teaches those who don’t mind being called ignorant. He heals those who are brave enough to look at their putrefaction.
And most of all, He saves those who need saved. He is Truth only to sinners, because they know that God, and Truth, is not knowable except through the Cross.
Or, to put it another way, cruciform philosophy, penitential theology.
There is no other way to tell the truth.