God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jesus talked less about having the truth than about being the truth (John 14:6). This suggests a view of truth that is not just about possessing a collection of correct understandings about the world, but one that includes a whole life that is true to the way things are. In English we talk not only about a claim being true, but also about a walk being true. This is the sense of truth being straight and matching up to the proper order of things. Portions of the Bible associate truth with actions as opposed to words: “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Truth is about seeing things as they really are and living accordingly in a world framed by God’s love, justice, and peace. We are called to walk in the truth (3 John 1:3).
Teaching and learning FASTly includes seeking the big truth, not settling for a small view of truth. In any subject it can be tempting to concentrate only on skills, or how something works, or gathering data, or on a series of correct answers, rather than taking the time to discuss the meaning and purpose of what is learned and how it fits into a true life. Seeking truth means making space for big questions—questions about what the world means and about how we are to live in it. The questions we make space for in class signal what we consider weighty and worth grappling with.
An inquiring and questioning mind are not the opposite of faith; rather, they grow out of faith and feed faith by sending us in search of answers. Big questions can be asked not only from outside but also from within a relationship with God. Christians explore God’s world, and face the depths of sin, the heights of love, and the full intricacy of creation, all within the awareness that God has created a world with meaning. Questioning does not equate with doubt; it is part of being alive to God’s world. In the Bible, people wrestle with big questions, such as why the wicked prosper (Job 21:7). Faith can actually open up the mind to engage the richness of creation and explore the full range of questions about life.
Teaching FASTly includes asking what kind of truth we can find through natural science, theology, art, and experience, and how these windows on the truth relate to one another. It includes asking how knowing the truth and living the truth relate to one another, and how understanding relates to responsible action. It includes reflecting on how faithfulness to the truth, humility and acknowledgement of our limited perspectives, and love for those who disagree with us, are connected.
As you explore the activities, consider the different ways in which they approach these various facets of truth-seeking. The following activities are worthwhile examples and helpful starting places for your consideration and use: