For true justice never comes through violence, nor can it be based on violence. It can only be based on truth, which has no need to resort to violence to secure its own existence.
We cannot grasp or plan or organize our reality, for it is somehow in the hands of God. There is, behind and beyond, someone who not only sees and grasps, but also accepts and holds our reality. This is not to argue a doctrine of providence—God plans, even when we can’t—but only a belief that we are not deserted by our unknown God, even when all our namable and domesticated gods forsake us. When all our words vanish, the Word remains. In our silence and empty fear, the reality of our grounding in God and our acceptance by God can make itself known.
This will only happen if we let it, of course, hence the importance of not glossing over and trivializing our loneliness, but facing it and feeling it. If we can trust that truth has a home, an objective place in the all-perceiving mercy of God, then our hidden life is “hidden with Christ in God.”…I must therefore give up and put away all hopes of trapping you in my words, my categories, and my ideas, my plans and my solutions. I shall offer whatever I have to offer, but I shall not commit the blasphemy (I don’t use the word lightly) of ordering your life or writing your script. I shall see your boundary and recognize that love and fellowship are realities I do not constantly have to preserve by my efforts, by struggling to say and know everything. We meet in God, in whom your solitude and mine, your truth and mine, are at last home.
Rowan Williams, A Ray of Darkness
The great revolution of thought which happened in Europe over three centuries ago, associated with Descartes in particular, was the attempt to grasp truth as it were from scratch: by doubting everything, we would see what we could be sure of and build out from there. We would know the facts, and the facts would set us free – free from God, free from any responsibility except to our own self-interest. There’s a straight line from Descartes to Dawkins: we can doubt God, but we can’t doubt the facts, the empirical evidence. And the results of that arrogant attempt to possess truth are all around us, etched in the horrors of the twentieth century and now already the multiple follies of the twenty-first, as we in the West blunder blindly on, believing firmly that because we know the facts and have the technology we can do what we like with other people’s countries, other people’s stem cells, other people’s crops, other people’s money, other people’s lives. And meanwhile the worm in the apple has hollowed it out more or less completely: the ‘truth’ which we thought we knew has been eaten away not just in theology and philosophy but in its heartland of physics, by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and in its deeper heartland of the human being, where Descartes began. We have become a society paranoid about truth: so we make each other fill in more and more forms, and set up more cameras to spy on each other, to check up on one another because we want the truth, we want an audit trail, we want more and more Enquiries and Judicial Reviews and Investigations, but we can’t get at truth because Descartes’ experiment has itself made it impossible, has generated a world of suspicion and smear and spin. The project of truth without grace has become one of facts without trust, and has finally run into the buffers in the smashed cities of Iraq, in the Snooping and Sniggering Society, in the tail-eating philosophies of postmodern deconstruction. That is the darkness where we have waited for too long in Advent hope, waited for a fresh word, a living Word, the tabernacling of glory in our midst, and for truth to be called forth to its long-awaited marriage with grace. Only when we receive this world as a gift from the creator can we understand truth; only when we see one another as bearing his image can we relearn trust.
No one can speak the Truth if he has not mastered himself. He cannot speak it; – but not because he is not yet clever enough. The Truth can be spoken only by someone who is already at home in it; not by someone who still lives in falsehood and reaches out from falsehood towards truth on just one occasion.
Ludwig Wittgenstien, Culture and Value