News, Reading Guides, VOLUME 12

Becoming People of the Truth [A Reading List]

It’s becoming abundantly clear that in the coming electoral season in the United States, Christians regardless of their political inclinations will have to double down on our commitment as people of the Truth. And yet at the same time, I am being reminded at every turn that truth is always more complicated than we want it to be, not fitting neatly into a soundbite or political platform. 

I once heard Stanley Hauerwas say that all of Christian ethics can be boiled down to two words: “Don’t lie.” And yet certainty evades us, and the best we can do is to bear witness with our lives to the one who called himself Truth, despite our struggles to understand what he was about.

I’ve been wrestling with these questions recently, and offer here the stack of books that are serving as guides on this journey.

Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity

Paul Griffiths

Most people would agree that compulsive lying is a “sickness.” In his provocative Lying, Paul Griffiths suggests that consistent truth telling might evoke a similar response. After all, isn’t unremitting honesty often associated with stupidity, insanity, and fanatical sainthood?Drawing from Augustine’s writings, and contrasting them with the work of other Christian and non-Christian thinkers, Griffiths deals with the two great questions concerning lying: What is it to lie? When, if ever, should or may a lie be told? Examining Augustine’s answers to these questions, Griffiths grapples with the difficulty of those answers while rendering them more accessible.


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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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