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Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin Paperback – February 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Beloved Christian writer Guinness here bemoans current-day relativism and pleads with his readers to recognize the value of truth. We live in a new order, Guinness writes, in which "truth is dead and knowledge is only power." But this new creed will not bring about the utopia its postmodern boosters imagine. To the contrary, he contends, postmodernity, along with its cousin multiculturalism, may be the worst tragedy in all American history: if unchecked, it will end America's leadership of the West. (Clinton, "the first postmodern president," comes in for special opprobrium.) Guinness, however, is no fan of modernity, which, he says, relies too much on human reason. In place of either modernity or postmodernity, he encourages embracing the traditional religious worldview provided by Judaism and Christianity. Guinness is a lucid writer, and he presents his ideas without too much bombast (although his defense of faith is marred by a certain pro-American chauvinism). The ideas themselves are old news--which is precisely what Guinness likes about them. Unfortunately, he does not have the masterful gifts for apology of, say, G. K. Chesterton or Cornelius Van Til. In the end, even the reader who agrees with Guinness may feel that he sounds like an out-of-date grandfather arguing a case that has already been lost, with interlocutors who have already moved on to another conversation. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Like Philip Yancey, another prolific and popular evangelical Christian writer, Guinness writes well, with plenty of appropriate citations of literary sources beyond the Bible. Intentionally producing a short book on a topic that could occupy volumes, he dissects the modern and postmodern presumptions about truth that have eventuated in such problematic outcomes of justice as the acquittals of O. J. Simpson and President Clinton. The modern presumption is that truth is historically, culturally, and even personally contingent, and the postmodern presumption is that truth is a function of power. He is not as successful in selling the Jewish and Christian view that truth is permanent and absolute. Seemingly assuming that he is addressing the already convinced and forensically adept, he explains but doesn't exemplify how to argue against either modern or postmodern relativism. For such modeling, religiously unconvinced readers piqued by Guinness' effort should turn to Peter Kreeft's excellent and entertaining Refutation of Moral Relativism. Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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He is careful to contend continuously that he is not just making the case against the cognitive virus of postmodernism but against all systems and philosophies which seek to hijack the truth.
His conclusions are salient: the problem is the self. When self delegates truth to itself and self only, that is humanity's ultimate and only problem. It cannot start within us, but from outside from above.
While some including this reviewer appreciate and vibrate to his excellent illustrations from philosophy and literature (which would suggest five star review), many will be frustrated by this inclusions (thus three star or lower) resulting in my four star conclusion.
He does sprinkle in some current event type illustrations, e.g. Clinton but more of these would have helped the layperson to be more engaged with this excellent, penetrating delve into truth in the modern practice of it.
The author presents quote after quote from poets, authors, actors, politicians, etc. as if they are facts. For example, he quotes poet W.H. Auden: "The whole trend of liberal thought has been to undermine faith in the absolute." The author himself says things that sound rather prophetic but are, in fact, quite vacuous: "Whatever people may say the world is or who they are, it is what it is and they are who they are."
The author presents a definition of `absolute truth' as provided by God. The discussion then goes on to point out that religion is only true in a pragmatic, subjective or relativistic sense, which I consider to be a major problem. If religion itself is not considered an absolute truth, how then can it be trusted to provide us with a definition of absolute truth?
The attacks on postmodernism are quite poor. For instance, the author claims that because alternative medicine is not "scientifically proven" and he has managed to imply a connection to postmodernism, this means that postmodernism "opens the door and ushers in an assortment of the weird, the wild, and the wonderful - with no questions asked or allowed." Quite a leap, I think, and completely unsubstantiated. He states that Bill Clinton is the "Corruptingest" president of them all. I had to note that none of the recent Republican presidents were mentioned when discussing presidential lying, just the Democrats. So the book struck me as overly religious and political at the same time.
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somewhat disappointing. The author seems to be
promoting a not so subtle political agenda.Read more