This article offers a close reading of two sections of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics
, i.e., §70.1 “The True Witness” and §70.2 “The Falsehood of Man” against the background of the post-truth environment. A brief discussion of the post-truth phenomenon highlights how some strands of the resistance to it trade on a binary of objective and subjective approaches to truth and epistemology, insisting on the triumph of the former over the latter as the way of overcoming the problems of knowledge and truth in a post-truth culture. The reading of the two selected texts from the Dogmatics
indicate that Barth’s discussion of truth and falsehood cuts across that binary. Whilst much of what Barth says in these texts is said in earlier parts of the Dogmatics,
it is sharpened in this context by Barth’s discussion of the “pious lie,” the distortion of the truth within the Christian community, as the fundamental form of falsehood. Alertness to this sin challenges the church to adopt a posture of self-criticism to its own knowledge of the truth. This can be its own form of witness in the post-truth age.
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