Engaging Students in the Subject of Truth

Mary Simpson Poplin, Professor of Education, School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University.

Mary Poplin, PhD, Professor of Education, School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University.

To further “flesh out” Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews? (InterVarsity Press, 2014), I asked Mary Poplin, PhD, Professor of Education, School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University, to offer a follow-up series focused upon practical illustrations, stories, and resources. This is the “teaser” which includes a call to join the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) in refining our resource material over the course of the coming academic term.


Mary Poplin: Many students, particularly in the humanities and social sciences are being taught that truths are nothing but individual or social/cultural constructions of reality that change over time and are used to wield power over others. A skeptical young coed asked Dallas Willard in one of his last talks, “What is truth?” His answer was that truth is reality and reality is what you run into when you are wrong.

In every field, we can engage students in reflecting on truth – what is truth, is there such a thing, what is the alternative, are the laws of physics are true, are there any other laws that might be true, for example, what about the laws of the effects of alcohol on human beings? Are there things we can know in our field that are true, how do/could we know? We can develop strategies to walk through thinking about truth by exploring truth as represented by physical laws, natural laws of nature, laws of human flourishing, moral laws, health laws, laws that govern relationships, such as forgiveness.


Tom’s request: Below are some of the resources ESN has gathered over the years to assist Emerging Scholars in reflecting on truth. Please join Mary and our other contributors/readers not only in refining this material over the coming term, but also in creating/suggesting new resources, e.g.,

  • ESN resource pages out of ESN blog posts/categories
  • ESN Blogroll
  • Regular Alerts on Calls for Papers/Reviews, Conferencing, Job Opportunities
  • Updates in disciplines and/or academic life stages along the lines of the Science Corner/Review by Andy Walsh
S. Joshua Swamidass connects with Emerging Scholars, including J. Nathan Matias at ESN's Urbana12 Reception.

S. Joshua Swamidass, who presented on Gradschool for God’s Global Mission, connects with Emerging Scholars (Kaitelin Hansen and J. Nathan Matias) at ESN’s Urbana12 Your Mind’s Mission Reception featuring Greg Jao.

First step: pick one topic/thread which is of interest and benefit from the material found in it. Second: use the comment feature (or email) to share recommendations on how to revise/update the material and its presentation. Third: share with some others to do likewise. If you and your fellowship/small group has interest in “adopting a page” (and/or being involved in creating the content for a new page) as a 2014-2015 project, please let me know :)

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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