Some months ago I made reference to a book by F. W. Bridgeman, physicist-laureate of Harvard University, titled The Way Things Are. The book made a great impression on me at the time, but I had no notion that Bridgeman’s thesis would continue to chew away at me even until today. What Bridgeman was saying among many other things was that even in physics, the most objective of all the sciences, we really know only when we remember that objective truth is always related to the subject, that is, to the person who is observing the facts. One gathers from this that relativity, which we try to throw out the window in ethics, comes in the front door to surprise us in a subject like physics.

The reason this sort of thing “gets me” is that I am beginning to suspect that the whole realm of knowledge in 1960 exists in the climate and atmosphere of a way of thinking, an epistemology, if you like, which continually weakens any attempt to say anything for sure about anything. A college sophomore’s “that’s what you think” seems to serve as sufficient answer to any discussion in which several views of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, are being set forth.

We recognize this climate of opinion in the whole realm of theology. Barthianism has made wonderful contributions to our day, but it worries us with its denials of general revelation, an objective word, words which are true whether they are true for me or not, a rational approach to the Christian faith which can be tightened up beyond my subjective say-so into some kind of a reasonable system, and so forth. On the other side, there is the constant affirmation that truth is known existentially, particularly the truth in revelation. I am not concerned ...

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