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Truth in the Pandemic

Peter Crumpler who is a journalist and author of the Grove Booklet Responding to Post Truth. In this article he reflects on how the Covid pandemic has altered our perception of truth.

Five Things we’ve Learnt about Truth in the Pandemic

The world is facing a crisis of truth, says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. It’s a declaration that resonates with many people facing up to the consequences.

Archbishop Welby’s words come as truth remains under the spotlight during the long months of the pandemic. Claims and counter claims about the virus, vaccines and the effectiveness of government responses take centre-stage globally.

Welby compared current challenges with the ground-breaking Beveridge Report of 1942 that gave rise to the post-war UK welfare state. That report identified five major problems preventing improvements in living standards: ‘want, ignorance, squalor, idleness and disease.’

The Archbishop told Prospect magazine “We face a crisis in truth. Seemingly infinite, instantly accessible information gives the problem a different complexion from the ‘ignorance’ of Beveridge’s day.

“But the truth can nonetheless be very difficult to pin down. Conspiracy theories can circle the globe, misinformation causes real-world repercussions. We need to learn to judge the information we receive, think critically, and kindly, and act accordingly.”

I’ve been involved in a project rooted in the Church of England’s St Albans diocese, north of London, for the past three years. We have brought together people from a range of backgrounds and faiths in a series of online and offline gatherings to address the question ‘Where is Truth now?’

People have shared their perspectives on how truth is faring in their professions and disciplines, and in wider society. All have welcomed the chance to talk about issues around truth, with some saying that their workplace culture failed to encourage open discussion.

The full article can be downloaded here.

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