Articles About Christian Culture
Os Guinness, speaker of international renown, was born in China, educated in England, graduated from Oxford University, and authored several books, one of the most recent being a brief but lucid and powerful meditation on the crisis of truth in our contemporary Western world. The book is entitled Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, & Spin (Baker Books, 2000). Guinness' central thesis is that “truth matters supremely because in the end, without truth there is no freedom . . . not only for individuals who would live a good life but for free societies that would remain free.” Indeed, “truth . . . is freedom,” Guinness adds, “and the only way to a free life lies in becoming a person of truth and learning to live in truth.” Nowadays the belief in objective truth is dead, argues Guinness. Truth is historically, culturally, or individually relative, all a matter of interpretation and perspective, or so some claim, and truth has nothing to do with the notion of an objective reality that determines the truth or falsity of belief. What is the nature and extent of this crisis of truth in the Western world that has undermined one of its most vital foundations? What are its consequences for us, for Western civilization, especially the United States, and for human freedom?
To my knowledge, the evangelical Protestant Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) and the evangelical Roman Catholic Karol Wojtyla (1920-) never met. Francis Schaeffer, founder of L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, was a Christian intellectual and cultural critic, practical theologian, author, noted speaker, and evangelist, whose ministry in the last half of the twentieth century incited worldwide study and discipleship centers. Karol Wojtyla (1920-) is a philosopher, university professor, theologian, priest, bishop, cardinal, author, noted speaker, evangelist, and, last but not least, the man who became Pope John Paul II twenty-five years ago.
In 1993, Pope John Paul II met with Polish philosophers Józef Tischner and Krzysztof Michalski to discuss the events of the twentieth century, namely the rise of Nazism and communism. The Holy Father revisited the transcripts from these conversations and added to his earlier thoughts, expounding on democracy, freedom, and the future of Europe. The resulting work is Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium, published in March by Rizzoli. In what reads more like a father's letter to his children than a profoundly insightful work of philosophy, John Paul offers the church and the world a hopeful portrait of the human person and an astute evaluation of dangers past and present.