The Resurrection of Trust in American Law and Public Discourse
28 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018
Date Written: Summer 2018
This symposium-Shall These Bones Live? The Resurrection of Truth in American Law and Public Discourse-is about truth. The reference to possible resurrection suggests that something has happened to truth in America. There has been a death.
The title of the symposium also refers to American law and public discourse, suggesting that what happens to truth has serious consequences for our lives together.
Perhaps most fundamentally, the title poses a question-Shall These Bones Live? This question implies that law and public discourse in America today are only a skeleton-no longer the living body they once were-but that they still retain a possible promise of a future return to full life.
Recognizing this death while still retaining hope for a healthy future is the origin and goal of this symposium. The question is how to move forward in concrete ways that honor the seriousness of our crisis and yet address the future that may still be ours.
My contribution to the symposium responds to the task of going forward by asking four questions: what is the death of truth?; what are its origins?; what can be done?; and what will the resurrection of truth accomplish?
I will state my conclusions at the outset. The death of truth is not about truth as such at all. It is about trust-trust both in each other and in the universe. We lack truth in public life because we lack trust. Lying politicians did not cause this lack of trust. Such politicians are beneficiaries of it. So, to resurrect truth in American law and public discourse, we must restore trust. Restoring trust is ultimately a spiritual issue, which, given our society's secularization, will require a new understanding of the nature of religion and spiritual life, and a new willingness among secular people to be open to this realm. This spiritual path is the way to restore democratic life-to regain self-government.
Keywords: Religion, Law, Truth, Death of Truth, Lack of Trust, Politics
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