APOLOGETICS AND WORLD-VIEWS

James Strauss Philosophy/Theology

 

INTRODUCTION   (J. P. Moreland.  Scaling the Secular City. Baker, 1987)

 

1.   “I am now convinced that for a person to be fully conscious intellectually he should not only be able-to detect the world views of others but be aware of his own; why it is his, and, why in the light of so many options he thinks it is true.”

2.   The following goes along with what is involved in becoming thinking people in dealing with world issues involving history of thought. From The Witness. September, 1976:

      “WANTED— HARD SAINTS. We have so many 'soft saints.’ They are lovely in disposition, upright in soul. But their minds, instead of being places of sunlight, are masses of drifting fog, a haze of wishes and illusions.... They will do anything for the kingdom of God but think. The Church has no greater need than that of hard saints, with fire not around the head as in conventional pictures, but fire in the head, a continual state of mental disturbance; saints who can do hard thinking in a day which desperately needs thinking; saints in whom the higher brain centers are not paralyzed.” -Halford Luccock.

 

I.    WORLD VIEW: (see my World-View. Facts, and ‘Theory. Laden’ Observation)

A.   Definition: A world view is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold

(consciously or subconsciously) about the basic makeup of our world. (See journal,

Ultimate Reality, cf. Sire’s The Universe Next Door, Inter-Varsity Press).

B.   The first assumption everyone makes before he even begins to think at all is that some thing exists.

1.   All world views assume that something is there rather than that nothing is there.

(Sarte even thought this.)

2.   So primary that most of us do not even know we are assuming it. We take it as too

      2.  obvious to mention. Of course, something is there!

3.   That is the point: If we do not recognize that, we get nowhere. The apprehension that

      something is there is the beginning of conscious life.

4.   Also the beginning of two branches of philosophy: metaphysics (the study of being)

      and epistemology (the study of knowing).

C.   We Discover: Once we have recognized that something is there, we have not necessarily recognized what that something is.

1.   Here is where world views begin to diverge.

2.   Definition again: “A world view is composed of a number of basic presuppositions, more or less self-consistent, generally unquestioned by each person, rarely, if ever, mentioned by his friends, and only brought to mind when challenged by a foreigner from another ideological universe.” (p. 18)

D.   Well-rounded world view includes basic answers to each of the following questions.

(Phillips and Brown. Making Sense of Your World. (Moody, 1991).

1.   What is prime reality—the really real?

2.   Who is man? To this we might answer a highly complicated electro-chemical machine whose complexity we do not understand, or a personal being created by God in his own image, or a sleeping god. Current question by western world “Who am I?” (Play “Death of a Salesman”)

3.   What happens to man at death?

4.   Basis for morality?

5.   What is the meaning of human history?

6.   Within various basic world views other issues often arise.

a.    Nature of external world?

b.   In charge of the world?

c.    Man determined or free?

d.   How can we know and how can we know that we know?

e.    Man, the maker of all values?

f.    Is God really good?

g.   Is God personal/impersonal?

h.   Does God exist at all?

E.   When stated in such sequence: boggles the mind

1.   Either answers are too obvious to us and we wonder why anyone would bother to ask such questions or else we wonder how any of them can be answered with any certainty.

2.   “If we feel the answers are too obvious to consider, then we have a world view; but we have no idea that many others do not share it. We should realize that we live in a pluralistic world. What is obvious to us may be a lie from hell to our neighbor next door. If we do not recognize that, we are certainly naive and provincial, and we have much to learn about man in today’s world. Alternatively, if we feel that none of the questions can be answered without cheating or committing intellectual suicide, we have already adopted a sort of world view - a form of skepticism which in its extreme form leads to nihilism.” (p. 19)

3.   We cannot avoid assuming some answers to the questions. We will adopt either one

stance or another; refusing to adopt an explicit world view will turn out itself to be a world view or at least a philosophical position.

4.   In short: we are caught! “So long as we live, we will live either the examined or the unexamined life. It is the assumption of this book that the former is better.” (p. 19)

F.   What are the universes next door?

G.   Each of the following world views considers: nature and character of God, nature of the universe, nature of man, question of what happens to man at death, basis of ethics, and the meaning of history.

 

II.     CHRISTIAN THEISM: “A Universe Charged With the Grandeur of God.” (See syllabus God: Creator/Redeemer: Becker, The Heavenly City of the 18th Century Philosophers)

A.   Situation of western world to end of the 17th Century.

B.   Basic Christian Theism: Essence of this View (Supenaturalism)

1.   God is infinite and personal (Triune), transcendent and imminent, omniscient, sovereign and good.

2.   God created the cosmos ex nihilo to operate with a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system. (Miracle and Scientific World-View)

3.   Man is created in the image of God and thus possesses personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness, and creativity.

4.   God can and does communicate with man.

5.   Man was created good, but through the Fall the image of God became defaced, though not so ruined as not to be capable of restoration; through the work of Christ God redeemed man and began the process of restoring man to goodness, though any given man may choose to reject that redemption.

6.   For man death is either the gate to life with God and his people or the gate to eternal separation from the only thing that will ultimately fulfill man’s aspirations.

7.   Ethics is transcendent and is based on the character of God as good (holy and loving).

8.   History is linear, a meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purposes for man.

C.   The Grandeur of God: (Brown, Miracles and Critical Mind. 1984; Geisler, Miracles and Modem Thought. 1982)

 

III.   THE CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: DEISM (See syllabus, Historiography of Physical

       Sciences)

 

A.   If theism lasted so long, what could possibly have happened to undermine it? If it satisfactorily answered all man’s basic questions, provided a refuge for his fears and hope for his future, why did anything else come along? Answers to these questions can be given on many levels. The fact is that many forces operated to shatter the basic intellectual unity of the West.

B.   Basic Deism - From Deism to Doubt (Oz Guiness, In Two Minds (TVT, 1976).

1.   A transcendent God, as a First Cause, created the universe but then left it to run on its own. God is thus not imminent, not fully personal, not sovereign over the affairs of men, not providential.

2.   The cosmos God created is determined because it is created as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system; no miracle is possible.

3.   Man, though personal, is part of the clockwork of the universe.

4.   The cosmos, this world, is understood to be in its normal state; it is not fallen or abnormal. Man can know the universe and he can determine what God is like by studying it.

5.   Ethics is limited to general revelation; because the universe is normal, it reveals what is right.

6.   History is linear, for the course of the cosmos was determined at creation.

C.   An Unstable Compound: Deism did not prove to be a very stable world view. Historically it held sway over the intellectual world of France and England briefly from the late seventeenth into the first half of the eighteenth century. Preceded by theism, it was followed by naturalism.

 

IV.  THE SILENCE OF FINITE SPACE: NATURALISM (See syllabus Making of Contemporary Mind)

A.   Deism is the isthmus between two great continents - theism and naturalism.   To get from the first to the second deism is the natural route. Though perhaps without deism, naturalism would not come about so readily; deism is only a passing phase, almost an intellectual curiosity. Naturalism, on the other hand, is serious business.

B.   In intellectual terms the route is this: In theism God is the infinite-personal Creator and sustainer of the cosmos. In deism God is “reduced” - he begins to lose his personality, though he remains Creator and (by implication) sustainer of the cosmos.

In naturalism God is further “reduced”; he loses his very existence

C.   Basic Naturalism

1.   Matter exists eternally and is all there is. God does not exist.

2.   The cosmos exists as a uniformity of cause and effect in a closed system.

3.   Man is a complex “machine”; personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand.

4.   Death is extinction of personality and individuality.

5.   History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect but without an overarching purpose.

6.   Ethics is related only to man.

D.   The Persistence of Naturalism: Unlike deism, naturalism has had great staying power.

Born in the 18th century, it came of age in the 19th century and grew to maturity in the

20th. While signs of the age are now appearing, naturalism is still very much alive. It

dominates the universities, colleges and high schools. It provides the framework for

most scientific study. It poses the backdrop against which the humanities continue to

struggle for human value, as writers, poets, painters and artists in general shudder under

its implications. No rival world view has yet been able to topple it, though it is fair to

say that the 20th century has provided some powerful options and theism is experiencing

somewhat of a rebirth at all levels of society.

 

V.    ZERO POINT: NIHILISM (See Nihilism. S. Rosen, Yale University Press, 1969).

A.   Nihilism is more a feeling than a philosophy. Strictly speaking, nihilism is not a philosophy at all. It is a denial of philosophy, a denial of the possibility of knowledge, a denial that anything is valuable. If it proceeds to the absolute denial of everything, it even denies the reality of existence itself. In other words, nihilism is the negation of everything - knowledge, ethics, beauty, reality. In nihilism no statement has validity; nothing has meaning. Everything is gratuitous, contingent.

Those who have been untouched by the feelings of despair, anxiety and ennui associated with nihilism may find it hard to imagine that nihilism could be a seriously held “world view”. But it is, and it is well for everyone who wants to understand the 20th century to experience, if only vicariously, something of nihilism as a stance toward human existence.

B.   Nihilism came about, not because the theists and deists picked away at naturalism from the outside. Nihilism is the natural child of naturalism.

1.   The First Bridge: Necessity and Chance

2.   The Second Bridge: The Great Cloud of Unknowing

3.   The Third Bridge: Is and Ought

C.   The Loss of Meaning: The strands of epistemological, metaphysical and ethical nihilism weave together to make a rope long enough and strong enough to hang a whole culture.  The name of the rope is Loss of Meaning.

D.   Inner Tensions in Nihilism: There are at least five reasons why nihilism is unlivable.

1.   First, from meaninglessness, nothing at all follows, or rather, anything follows.

2.   Second, every time a nihilist thinks and trusts his thinking, he is inconsistent, for he has denied that thinking is of value or that it can lead to knowledge.

3.   Third, while a limited sort of practical nihilism is possible for a while, eventually a limit is reached.

4.   Fourth, nihilism means the death of art. Here too we find a paradox, for much modern art - literature, painting, drama, film - has nihilism for its ideological core.

5.   Fifth, and finally, nihilism poses severe psychological problems for a nihilist. People cannot live with it because it denies what every fiber of their waking being calls for - meaning, value, significance, dignity, worth. Nietzsche ended in an asylum. Hemingway affirmed a “lifestyle.” Beckett writes black comedy. Vonnegut revels in whimsy. And Kafka - perhaps the greatest artist of them all - lived an almost impossible life of tedium, writing novels and stories that boil down to a sustained cry: “God is dead! God is dead! Isn’t he? I mean, surely he is, isn’t he? God is dead. Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish he weren’t.”

E.   It is thus that nihilism forms the hinge for modem man. No one who has not plumbed the despair of the nihilists, heard them out, felt as they felt - if only vicariously through their art - can understand the 20th century. Nihilism is the foggy bottom land through which modem man must pass if he is to build a life in Western culture. There are no easy answers to modem man’s questions, and none of them are worth anything unless it takes seriously the problems raised by the possibility that nothing whatever of value exists.

 

VI.   BEYOND NIHILISM: EXISTENTIALISM (See syllabus Modem/Contemporary

       Philosophy)

A.   In an essay published in 1950, Albert Camus wrote, “A literature of despair is a contra diction in terms.... In the darkest depths of our nihilism I have sought only for the means to transcend nihilism.” Here the essence of existentialism’s most important goal is summed up in one phrase - to transcend nihilism. In fact, every important world view that has emerged since the turn of our century has had that as a major goal. For nihilism, coming as it does directly from a culturally pervasive world view, is the problem of our age. A world view that ignores this fact has little chance of proving relevant to modern thinking people. Existentialism, especially in its secular form, not only takes nihilism seriously, it is an answer to it.

B.   Basic Atheistic Existentialism (Hans Kung. Does God Exist? Doubleday, 1980) Atheistic existentialism begins by accepting all of the following propositions of naturalism:

Matter exists eternally: God does not exist: The cosmos exists as a uniformity or cause and effect in a closed system; History is a linear stream of events linked by cause and effect but without an overarching purpose. Ethics is related only to man. In other words, atheistic existentialism affirms all propositions of naturalism except those relating to the nature of man and his relationship to the cosmos. Indeed, existentialism’s major interest is in who man is and how he can be significant in an otherwise insignificant world.

1.   The cosmos is composed solely of matter, but to man reality appears in two forms - subjective and objective.

2.   For man alone existence precedes essence; man makes himself who he is.

3.   Man is totally free as regards his nature and destiny.

4.   The highly wrought and tightly organized objective world stands over against man and appears to him as absurd.

5.   In full recognition of and against the absurdity of the objective world, the authentic man must revolt and create value. (Jaki, Road to Science. Chicago University, 1979)

C.   Basic Theistic Existentialism

1.   Man is a personal being who, when he comes to full consciousness, finds himself in an alien universe; whether or not God exists is a tough question to be solved not by reason but by faith.

2.   The personal is the valuable.

3.   Knowledge is subjectivity; the whole truth is often paradoxical.

4.   History as a record of events is uncertain and unimportant, but history as a model or type or myth to be made present and lived is of supreme importance.

 

VII.  JOURNEY TO THE EAST: EASTERN PANTHEISTIC MONISM cf Strauss. “Confronting

       the New Age - Alternatives to Holiness”)

 

A.   In the course of Western thought eventually we reach an impasse. Naturalism leads to nihilism, and nihilism is hard to transcend on the terms, which Western man - permeated by naturalism - wishes to accept. Atheistic existentialism, as we have seen, is one at tempt, but it has some rather serious problems. Theism is an option, but for a naturalist it is uninviting. How can one accept the existence of an infinite, personal, transcendent God? For over a century that question has posed a serious barrier. Modem man would rather stick with his naturalism, for it still seems to be a decided improvement on the fabulous religion it rejected. Moreover, modern Christendom, with its hypocritical churches and its lack of compassion, is a poor testimony to the viability of theism. No, that way will not do.

B.   Basic Eastern Pantheistic Monism

1.   A man is Brahman; that is, the soul of man (each and every man) is the soul of the cosmos.

2.   Some things are more one than others.

3.   Many (if not all) roads lead to the One.

4.   To realize one’s oneness with the cosmos is to pass beyond personality.

5.   To realize one’s oneness with the cosmos is to pass beyond knowledge. The principle of non-contradiction does not apply where ultimate reality is concerned.

6.   To realize one’s oneness with the cosmos is to pass beyond good and evil; the cosmos is perfect at every moment.

7.   Death is the end of individual, personal existence, but it changes nothing essential in man’s nature.

8.   To realize one’s oneness with the One is to pass beyond time. Time is unreal.  History is cyclical.

C.   East and West: A Problem in Communication:

Cyclical history, paths that cross, doctrines that disagree, evil that is good, knowledge that is ignorance, time that is eternal, reality that is unreal: All these are the shifting, paradoxical - even contradictory - masks that veil the One.

 

VIII. A SEPARATE UNIVERSE: THE NEW CONSCIOUSNESS (See syllabus Contemporary Religious Movements)

 

A.   Eastern mysticism is posing one way out for Western man caught in naturalism’s nihilistic bind. But Eastern mysticism is foreign. Even a watered-down version like ‘Transcendental Meditation’ requires an immediate and radical re-orientation of Western man’s mode of grasping reality. Such re-orientation leads to new states of consciousness and feelings of meaning, as we saw, but the intellectual cost is high. One must die to the West to be born in the East. Is there a less painful, less costly way to achieve meaning and significance? Why not conduct a search for a new consciousness along more Western lines?

B.   The Radical Transformation of Man.

C.   Relationship to Other World Views

D.   The Basic Tenets of the New Consciousness

1.   Whatever the nature of being (idea of matter, energy or particle) the self is the kingpin - the prime reality. As mankind grows in his awareness and grasp of this fact, he is on the verge of a radical change in human nature; even now we see harbingers of the new man and prototypes of the new age.

2.   The cosmos, while unified in the self, is manifested in two more dimensions: the visible universe, accessible through ordinary consciousness, and the invisible universe (or Mind at Large), accessible through altered states of consciousness.

3.   The core of the new consciousness is the experience of cosmic consciousness, in which ordinary categories of space, time and morality tend to disappear.

4.   Physical death is not the end of the self; under the experience of cosmic conscious ness, the fear of death is removed.

5.   Three distinct attitudes are taken to the metaphysical question of the nature of reality under the general framework of the new consciousness: (1) the occult version in which the beings and things perceived in states of altered consciousness exist apart from the self that is conscious; (2) the psychedelic version in which these things and beings are projections of the conscious self and (3) the conceptual relativist version in which the cosmic consciousness is the conscious activity of a mind using one of many non-ordinary models for reality, none of which is any “truer” than any other.

E.   Crack in the New Consciousness

 

IX.   THE EXAMINED LIFE: CONCLUSION See syllabus Historiography of Christian

       Apologetics/Eristics)

 

“The tough-minded and the tender-minded, as William James described them so brilliantly, are perennial types, perennially antagonistic.... Respect for the facts of experience, open-mindedness, an experimental trial-and-error attitude, and the capacity for working within the frame of an incomplete unfinished world view distinguish (the tough-minded) from the more impatient, imaginative, and often aprioristic thinkers in the tender-minded camp.” Herbert Feigl, Logical Empiricism

 

 

Postmodernism: Resurgent Neo-Gnostic Pantheism

 

Postmodernism; Multicultural Pluralism and Radical Contextualization (see J. Sire, The Universe Next Door. 3rd ed. (IVP, 1997), pp. 172-90; M. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (Free Press, 1996); Philip Johnson, Reason in the Balance (IVP, 1995); Darwin on Trial (IVP, 1991); Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (IVP, 1997).

 

A.   Nietzsche’s brilliant parable, “The Mad Man,” saw the results of the death of God in Western Christian culture. The West lost its ordering center and the intellectual and cultural consequences are crystal clear hi our present multicultural maze. “Where is God?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? ... This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering - it has not yet reached the ears of man.” (See Strauss, “Relativism: Contextualization in Context” (bibliography), and “The Making of the Postmodern Mind” (syllabus).

B.   Our postmodern culture inverts Socrates’ dictum, “the unexamined life is not worth living” to “the examined life is not worth living.” Postmodern culture is a pluralism of perspectives, a plethora of open-ended philosophical possibilities.

C.   Gene Veith, Jr. writes, “If all cultural values are relative, then none need to be taken seriously. Postmodernist multi-culturalism must affirm all cultures, but in doing so it may destroy them all.” (Postmodern Times, Crossway. 1994; pp. 143-44). He further critiques the “New Tribalism” because it leads to additional “segmentation, relativism, Western universities repudiating their own intellectual heritage, intolerance and racial tension.” (See Strauss, “Whoever Controls the Soul of the University Controls the Soul of Culture”). Veith states that the tenets of postmodernist ideology are as follows:

(1)  Social construction

(2)  Cultural determinism

(3)  The rejection of individual identity

(4)  The rejection of humanism

(5)  The rejection of reason

(6)  Revolutionary critique of social order (Veith, p. 158)

      Veith thinks this leads to totalitarianism - the side with the most power “winning”; pragmatism -without any kind of meta-arching moral code; and the possibility of the demise of American democracy.

D.   Postmodernism: (Six tenets)

(1)  The first question postmodernism asks is not “what is there?” or “how do we know what is there?” but rather “how does language function; i.e., how is meaning itself constructed? In other words, we are at the end of Kant’s “radical constructionist” - language creates meaning, it does not decode “objective reality.”

 

Postmodernism is a radical move from knowing to meaning (this is shown in “seeker-friendly” emphasis in church growth - what is relevant or meaningful to me?). In short, meaning is not decoded but is created by the knowing subject.

 

This postmodern epistemology can be traced back to David Hume (1711-76), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), G. F. W. Hegel (1770-1831), finding its penultimate expression hi the thought of Friederich Nietzsche (1844-1900). The shift is thus made from knowing to meaning (on the development from epistemology to hermeneutics, see Strauss, “Logic Epistemology to Postmodern Hermeneutics” and “Philosophical - Historical Origins of Postmodern Hermeneutics”).

 

Two fundamental themes run through the intellectual milieu of the 19th century: (1) Positivism; and (2) Historicism.

Nietzsche took Descartes’’ doubt to the total rejection of certitude about the existence of the “self.

 

(2)  Knowing comes under fire. The epistemology of correspondence is rejected (see

Strauss, “Whatever Happened to True Truth?”). Conceptual relativism penetrates beyond religious experience to all aspects of reality. No truth about reality for reality itself is forever hidden from us. All we can do is tell stories (which may or may not be true) or use metaphor (e.g., “seeker-friendly” churches where the audience is the text -not the word of God.) See Strauss, “What is a Metaphor a Metaphor Of?”

 

Richard Rorty says that the world does not speak - “only we do! Languages are made rather than found and truth is a property of linguistic entities of sentences (Richard Rorty, On Contingency and Solidarity. 1989). Only our story is as true as any story is ever going to get!

 

(3)  Language as Power: Shift from being to knowing to meaning declares that all narratives mask a play for power. Any one narrative which insists upon presenting a metanarrative is oppressive.

(4)  Death of the Self (Psalm 8. “What is man?”) receives a postmodern answer - human beings make themselves who they are by the language they construct about themselves. This represents an existential step toward postmodernism. Sartre said, “Existence precedes essence”); (Existentialism - Sartre’s “authentic self is never encompassed by its cultural context or any meta-narrative: it is radically free. Little did Sartre realize that “absolute freedom” is insanity! ALL meta-stories are oppressive, but the rejection of these meta-stories is anarchy - which Michel Foucault accepts. In fact, Foucault perpetrates perpetual infinite anarchy!! All postmodernisits reduce meta-narratives to power plays. Postmodernists say, “We are only what we desire ourselves to be.” We have moved from the biblical Imago Dei to Freud’s Oedipus Complex - id, ego and superego to Nietzsche’s Ubermensch (see especially his Thus Spake Zarathustra) to modern science, which declares that man is paradoxically the product of DNA template which is the result of unmodifiable evolution based in a chance mutation of survival of the fittest. Postmoderns use these developments to describe themselves. What/who describes what/who?

(5)  Being God without God: Ethics, like knowledge is a linguistic construct; social good is whatever society takes it to be. This is, of course, cultural and epistemological relativism in postmodern garb (See R. Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God? There is little ultimate difference between Richard Rorty and Michel Foucault. For the latter, the greatest good is in the individual’s freedom to maximize pleasure. (See Ronald Beiner, “Foucault’s Hyper Liberalism,” Critical Review. Summer, 1995, pg. 349-70). The postmodern notion that morality is multiplicity: i.e., that language is used to describe culturally contingent right from wrong.

(6)  Cutting Edge of Culture is Literary Theory: In the Middle Ages, theology was the “queen of the sciences.” In the Enlightenment, philosophy and especially science be came the leading edge of the intellectual cultural charge. In the postmodern era, Literary Theory leads the way.

The “babbling brooks” of Marx and Freud have fed into the fresh springs of Anthropology (Claud Levi-Strauss); Sociology (M. Foucault, Jean Francois Loytard); Feminism (Kate Millet, Elaine Showalter), and Linguistics (Ferdinand de Sauseure) with such force that the eddies of literary study become the mainstream of intellectual life. Scholars like Jacques Derrida (deconstructionism) and Stanley Fish (reader-response) became “hot” on major campuses (see Karen Winkler, “Scholars Mark the Beginning of the Age of’ Post-Theory’”, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Oct. 13, 1993, p. A9).

Panoramic Sweep of Postmodernism: The effects of postmodernism can be seen almost everywhere in Western culture. (Dennis McCallum, in The Death of Truth. Bethany House, 1996, has gathered essays on postmodernism in healthcare, literature, education, history, psychotherapy, law, science and religion, each written by an expert in the field. This is a fundamental tool to begin a Christian critique of postmodernism).

(A)  History becomes a reflection on histories - history is a “hall of mirrors”.

(B)  Scientific truth is a language that we use to get what we want. “There is no proof that the rules (of science) are good thus the consensus extended to them by the experts” (The Post Modern Condition, p. 29). When a scientific claim fails, the sentence is false or the language is obscure.

(C)  The postmodern rewriting of theology has produced the a/theologies of Mark C. Taylor, the post-liberalism of George Lindbeck, the Christian story emphasis of Diogenes Allen, the “revisioned” evangelical theology of Stanley Grenz, and the narrative nature of theology promoted by Richard Middleton.

F.   Postmodernism: A Christian Critique.

(1)  Postmodernism’s critique of optimistic naturalism is often on target. However, its epistemology is hardly a rational foundation for such a critique.

(2)  Postmodern recognition that language is closely associated with power is also apt. We do often tell stories, believe doctrines, or hold philosophies because they give integration.  They give us our community power over others.

(3)  Foucault’s prime value - personal freedom to intensify pleasure - is belied by his reduction of all values to power itself.

(4)  The truth question cannot be avoided. Is it true that all discourse is power play? A radical postmodernism says “yes” and thus, is self-refuting (see A. McGrath, A Passion for Truth, p. 195; also Strauss, Theology of Promise - Bible is a metanarrative without a masked power play. Man is free to serve or reject God but not free to determine the consequences).

Conclusion: Postmodernism is Many Faces:

Š       The anguish of Nietzsche railing against the head mentality of the mass of humanity.

Š       The ecstatic joy of Nietzsche willing into being the Overman.

Š       The living visage of Foucault seeking the intensification of sexual experience.

Š       The comic grin of Derrida (his search ended in death by AIDS) as he seeks to deconstruct all discourse including his own..

Š       The play of irony on the lips of Rorty as he searches for a foundation - less solidarity.

... But not one of these faces displays a confidence in truth, a trust in reality or a hope for the future.

 

Bibliography

(See all of Schaeffer’s basic books and the literature from Probe Ministries International. 12011 Colt Rd., Suite 107, Dallas, TX 75251)

 

A.   Introductory:

Barcus, N. B. Developing a Christian Mind, pb., IVP

Blamires, H. The Christian Mind. Servant Press, new printing.

Guiness, Os. The Dust of Death, pb., IVP.

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. MacMillan Press, pb.

Schaeffer, F. The God Who is There. TVP: The God Who is There and Is Not Silent.

Sire, Jas. The Universe Next Door. IVP (new 1997 edition) Stott, J. Your Mind Matters. IVP.

 

B.   Intermediate

 

Geisler, N. Christian Apologetics. Baker, 1976.

Lewis, G. Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims. Moody, 1976.

 

C.   Historiography of Christian Apologetics

 

Dulles, A. A History of Apologetics. Corpus, 1971.

Reid, J. K. S. Christian Apologetics. Eerdmans, 1969.

Strauss, J. D. Syllabus, Historiography of Christian Apologetics/Eristics, with extensive advanced bibliography on sale in LCC Bookstore and on reserve in the LCC library; see also syllabus, Hegel. Marx - Liberation Theologies for Atheistic socialism/ communism and their challenge to the church during the 1990’s.

 

D.   Advanced Works

 

Gundersen, B. Cardinal Newman and Apologetics. Aslo, 1952.

Horvath, Tiber. Faith Under Scrutiny. Fides (Notre Dame), 1975.

Thomas, J. F. Las caracteres de la demonstration dans 1’apologie Pascalienne. Paris,1942.

Kowalinski, B. “The Genesis of Christianity in the View of Contemporary Marxist Specialist in

       Religion.” Antonianum 47 (1972): 541-75.

Holstein, H. “Le probleme de Jesus dans renseignement de 1’apologetique depuis le debut du

       xxe siecle” in Bulletin du comite des etudes. 5 (1961) 340-1.

 

E.    Science and World Views

 

See especially:

Jaki, S. L. Relevance of Physics. University of Chicago Press, 1966; Road of

Science and Ways to God. Chicago, 1978; Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe: The Paradox of Olbers Paradox, etc.; Strauss, J. D. Essay, God - Man - Nature in Carl Sagen’s Universe.

Barbour, I. Issues in Science and Religion. Harper & Row - Torch, 1971.

Butterfield, H. The Origins of Modem Science. Free Press, pb edition, 1965.

Kuhn, T. Structure of Scientific Revolution. Chicago, 1970 ed.

Richardson, A. The Bible in the Age of Science. Philadelphia, Westminster

Press, 1961. Whitehead, A. Science and the Modem World. Free Press, pb edition, 1967.

(For extensive journal/book bibliography see my syllabi: Historiography of Physical Sciences Historiography of Biological Theories, Historiography of the Behavioral Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology) Historic of Theories of the Mind