Friday, 13 February 2009

Truth as war

Giles Fraser's Against Innocence - Gillian Rose's Reception and Gift of Faith (quoted here) makes the case 'for what one might call the theology of the peace negotiator or mediator. Simply put, the mediator pursues a theology that refuses to accept that a disagreement can ever reach a point where there is no benefit to be gained from further conversation.' Rather strikingly he says:
To put it at its starkest: peace is better than truth.

The book as a whole, I take it, is a mode of unpacking that statement. But it's startling, because it seems to hover between the outrageous (as an assertion of a kind of quietism: 'I sacrifice the truth simply for a placid life') and the tautological. This latter may be the more interesting angle; for there are countless examples of conflict in which 'truth', on either side, actually means 'the token of our belligerent intransigence, the means by which we prolong conflict'. Clearly peace is better than that; it is tantamount to saying 'peace is better than war.' But then, as I think it through, I start to wonder about 'war' precisely as a gloss upon this complicated word, 'truth' ...

No comments: