Lost Transcendence in The Post Christian Culture/The Paradigmatic Revolution

 

Prolegomena: Intellectual and Cultural Context of 21st Century Theology: From Transcendence to Immanence to Transcendence Again

 

I. Enlightenment Paradigm: Scientific Revolution (Galileo to Newton) and Euclidian

Geometry

 

(Rationalism/Empiricism/Deism/Atheism/Liberalism/Pantheism/Panentheism— Development of Immanent Explanatory Models of all reality (the coming of Humanism, Secularism, Desacralization of Reality, Relativism, Contextualization of all thought and social institutions).

 

II. Positivistic Model as Exhaustive Explanatory Method

 

All reality brought under the scrutiny of the Scientific Method (creation, providence, revelation, inspiration, incarnation, sin, redemption, holiness, prayer, eschatology, the church as a divine institution, revolt against immanence—Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Ritschl. (E.G. Grenz and R.E. Alson, 20th Century Theology: God and The World in a Transitional Age (Inter Varsity Press, 1992); D.M. Musser, J.S. Price, editors, A New Handbook of Christian Theology (Abingdon, 1991); Karl Earth's 19th Century Theology; and Berkouwer's A Half Century of Theology.)

 

III. Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy as a Revolt Against the Scientific Revolution: Paradigmatic Revolution that Shaped the Post Modern Mind

 

A. Scientific Revolution

B. Historiographical Revolution

C. Socio-Political/Economic Revolution

D. Geological Revolution and Genesis (E.G. Gillespie, Genesis and Geology (Harper,1951)

E. Biological Revolution and Man

F. Philosophical Revolution: Logical Positivism

G. Mathematical Revolutions: From Euclid to Goedel (Demise of Autonomous Math)

H. Theological Revolutions

I. Educational Revolutions: From Classical to Dewey, Spock and Derrida

J. Technological Revolution K. Information Revolution: Media, from Audibility to Visibility

 

IV. Collapse of Classical Liberalism: Four Assumptions

 

A. Inherent Goodness of Man

B. Perfectibility of Man

C. Nature is Ultimate and the Only Reality

D. Inevitability of Progress: Evolutionary Explanatory System; Coming of Theology of Hope and Liberal Utopianism contra World War I.

 

V. Neo-Orthodoxy Challenge to Immanent Explanatory Model: Earth's Transcendent Word of God; Classical 19th/20th century models of Immanent Explanatory Models.

 I. Change from Authoritarian Medieval Mind to The Scientific Modern Mind.

 

The Post-Modern Mind is empirical. It regards itself as autonomous, even in the realm of religion. It is opposed to the idea of religious absolutes. In order not to surrender God and religion to deference to science, theology thought that it was forced to discover a new plank in which its claims might rest. To accomplish this aim, two different possibilities seemed to offer themselves:

 

1. Theology might try to overcome the limitations of sense experience, rest religious authority in a broadened concept of experience, and surrender the doctrinal implications of religion as of little or no importance. This leaves the theologian in a dualistic position, i.e., the theologian may be an unbeliever in his thinking but a Christian in his feeling.

 

2. Over against this dualism, Troeltsch and others resorted to new rational defenses of religion (see chart/themes/persons shaping the 19th century naturalistic theory of origin and development of religion). Postulating a religious apriori they claim that religion does not lie beyond the reach of human reason.

 

3. The third factor in modern thinking is the principle of utility. Theologians pointed to the ethical tenets of Christianity in order to secure for it a place in modern society. The individual is taught that it pays to be good and society is taught that it cannot progress without the altruistic teaching embodied in historic Christianity. Experience, reason, and utility became the pivotal factors around which theology revolved, whereas the authority of The Bible was to be found only in the religious spirit which the Bible breathes. (Kant and the affirmation of God. He resolutely rejected the ideas that physical science could ever affirms or deny the existence of God. This rejection was a paradigmatic revolution in an era which held science to be all-powerful and in which the scientist often felt bound to reject God in the name of science. The widespread mentality held that only that which could be verified by the methods of physical , science was real and could be affirmed as true. How did this mental paradigm develop?

 

a. Physical Science - during the Middle Ages Physical Science worked together with complete harmony with Philosophy and Theology so that one and the same man could pursue them and become like Albert the Great, a leader in all of them. It was not merely progressive specialization that gradually drove them apart, but also a certain historical fact and the mentality which gave rise to this fact. The fact at issue was the Galileo case, in which theologians mistakenly called Galileo's scientific world view contrary to scripture and created a situation in which he had to take an oath formally renouncing his scientific convictions about the universe.

 

The old world view (Kuhnian Paradigm), which was mainly derived from Aristotle's and Ptolemy, saw the earth as the center of the universe. This seemed to be demanded by "obvious" experience and confirmed by the fact that God had become man on earth. The very incarnation made the earth the center of the universe. Celestial bodies moved around it, not driven by mechanical forces but by angels, a notion that Arabian Aristotelian philosophers had introduced to the West. Celestial bodies were perfect, without spot or wrinkle, the essence of everything had been fixed once and for all by the creator; and from this essence the human intellect could deduce how things worked (cf. see my article "From Classical “Two Value” Logic to Multiple Value Logic", i.e., everything in the universe does not fit a "yes or no" structure—

probability, change, non-fixed structures; Deductive vs. Inductive Logic). Galileo challenged this deductive world view and appealed to experience (cf. this entailed a Paradigmatic Revolution in Method/Logic/Epistemology and Ontology).

 

He held that men should examine nature and arrive at certitude about it by means of induction. Looking through his telescope, he saw spots on the "perfect sun." The earth, he held, is not the immovable center of the universe but one of the lesser planets revolving around the sun and obeying mechanical laws. The shock that his assertions caused was enormous. His views simply could not be true; otherwise the entire world view (Paradigmatic Revolution) would collapse; and besides that, scripture itself, so it was thought, solidly supported the old view. Galileo's pertinent remark that scripture wishes to teach us how to go to heaven and not how the heavens go was simply disregarded. Both Catholic and Protestant theologians rejected his views as contrary to scripture and the Inquisition forced Galileo to renounce his views.

 

The implications of this condemnation were enormous. It meant that it would henceforth be impossible for a loyal Christian (Catholic or Protestant) to pursue physical science according to its own inherent demands; theology wishes to act as a norm within the field of physical sciences. This situation lasted for about two centuries in the Roman Catholic Church, for it was only in 1835 that Galileo's work was removed from the Index of Forbidden Books. Among Fundamentalist Protestants it lasted even longer (cf. Evolutionary Theory and Teaching, 1920's). The impetus of the new physics was not to be stopped, however. An abyss had already been created between faith and science and it proved exceedingly difficult to build a bridge (cf. Stanley Jaki as an outstanding contemporary bridge builder between science and faith; see my essay on S. Jaki's contribution to the Science/Faith Dialogue and all his works in the bibliography).

 

Fueled by the theologians' long opposition to science, a mentality had arisen which tended to reject God and religion because they were supposedly irreconcilable with science. The respectable-man of science, so it seemed, had to reject God or else lead a double life—atheistic in his profession and, inconsistently, a believer in his spare time. For God did not occur among the objects attainable by physical science and God was not needed as an explanation for the findings of science. The same was true for the "Imago Dei," the human soul or spirit; not a trace of it could be found under the surgeon's knife. The confusion was not at all diminished by the fact that some pious scientists appealed to God as an explanation of physical phenomena. Sooner or later such phenomena closed to resist scientific explanation and each such new success of science thus appeared as yet another victory of science over belief in God. In this paradigmatic shift we take note of replacement of one imperialistic role for another. The former absolutism of theology now became the absolutism of physical science. The paradigm of positivistic "scientism" still persists through developments in 20th century science (Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, all have called the positivistic paradigm in question; note contemporary new age distortion of the new scientific paradigm).

 

The man who articulated this positivistic paradigm was Auguste Comte (1798-1857). According to Comte, mankind passed through three stages: (1) The Theological Stage wherein man explains everything through the intervention of the gods or spirits or God. The events of nature are caused by transcendent or supernatural causes. Thunder and lightening are ascribed to a god, and so are good health, illness, fertility and barrenness. In his ignorance, man has recourse to his imagination when he meets unexplainable phenomena. Fictitious as this religious stage is, it is nonetheless important, for it means that man has finally started to look for explanations. (2) The Metaphysical Stage—Man no longer ascribes everything to gods, but he has learned to look for explanations within the world, immanent rather than transcendent causes. He no longer relies on his imagination but uses his reason. His reason, however, still proceeds in a very abstract way; it speaks of essences, substances, etc., as if these terms explained the way things act. But all man really does is give impressive names to the phenomena. Although the metaphysical stage is valueless as an explanation, it is important, for it means that man has given up belief in transcendent theological explanations. Thus it prepares the way for the mind that has come of age, the mature mind of science. (3) Positive Science—through which men investigates nature through experience. Giving up religious fancies and metaphysical abstractions, he limits himself to verifiable empirical laws governing the interrelationship of nature's phenomena. This is, of course, the only valid way a mature mind can proceed, and it is the way of physical science. Its method must become universal in the study of all reality. This will take some time still; in particular, there is not yet any "social physics" (Comte's term for sociology), but eventually there will be one great system of homogeneous concepts, based on the method of physical science, so superior to everything else that theology and metaphysics will simply disappear from the science and become topics of antiquarian interest only. God will then have vanished from the science without leaving any unanswered questions behind. Obscurantism and backwardness (conservatism of all forms: Restoration Heritage/Fundamentalism, etc.)' cannot recover the past—it is gone (H. deLubac, The Drama of Atheist Humanism (NY, 1950, pp. 127-159).

 

If Comte were to return to the earth today about two centuries after he formulated his positivistic philosophy, he would be sorely disappointed about the little "progress" made by the maturity of mind. Myths are appreciated today for their truth value. A scholar like Mircea Eliade (Myths, Dreams and Mysteries (NY 1961) is world famous because of the philosophical significance he ascribes to the myths of man's most primitive religious stage. Contrary to Comte, many prominent men of science realize that not all the answers man needs can be given by the laboratory. Nevertheless, it remains an undeniable fact that the above described mentality has exercised an enormous influence and that many people still adhere to it. It is the mentality of Scientism (Positivism) for which to know means to know as one does in physical science and to prove something means to prove it as one does in physical science. If this were indeed true, then Atheism would be inevitable. This brings us to the question of Physical Science and the affirmation (or negation) of God's existence (see Stanley L. Jaki, The Road of Science and The Ways to God (Chicago, 1978); and Eugene M. Klaaren, Religious Origins of Modern Science (Eerdmans, 1977); belief in creation in 17th century thought).

 

II. Physical Science and The Existence of God

 

A. Scientism is essentially committed to deny God's existence. Scientism cannot so verify its own foundation (they stand on Paradigm, World View, etc.)

 

B. Scientism eliminates all ethics. From perspective of the Positivistic Model, Scientific Knowledge claims there can be no difference between a diseased man and a murdered man, adultery and intercourse between husband and wife, surgical amputation and wanton mutilation. Few would deny that there is a difference between these phenomena.

 

C. Adherents of Scientism usually presuppose that true knowledge is an accurate mirror image in the mind of reality as it is in itself. They take fro granted the so-called Cartesian split and that only physical science offers accurate images of the world as it is in itself; "objectively," that is, without any additions by the mind, any limitations resulting from this attitude or standpoint (paradigm, presupposition, etc.) of the observing subject. Weiner Heisenberg readily acknowledges that the answers given by science correspond to the attitude assumed by the man who questions nature; in other words, the subject's stand point plays an important role in the answers nature gives to his questions (cf. this perspective does not entail Relativism or radical contextualization but rather acknowledge that all knowledge claims are. paradigm derived. When a Paradigmatic Revolution occurs it is because the mind can transcend the Paradigm from which it investigates). Now, man can occupy many standpoints, assume many attitudes in questioning reality; the answer he gets will indicate what a particular reality is for that person, the meaning it has from this or that particular paradigm/world view, etc. If he changes his perspective, then the meaning of that reality will also become different (slums - perspectives - artist and one who cares for his fellowman). All this indicates that the meaning of the world is co-constituted by the attitudes of the subject. Only one of these many possible paradigms gives us a system of meanings known as physical science.

 

D. Differentiation of The Sciences: Paradigms are the source of both our knowledge claims (truth) and 'differing meanings' (some truth/meaning is context bound).

 

E. Science of Psychology: Paradigms of interpretation of data and what the data is (Positivism knows no good/bad/ugly/beauty, etc.for they are totally culture bound). Paradigmatic interest is the source of questions (if puberty is nothing but a physiological phenomena of glandular maturation, he will be unable to understand the adolescent's search for identity. Positivism is imperialistic; all but Physical Science is meaningless nonsense—this is a self contradiction; only 'structure' of mind, reality and logic can assert a contradiction.

 

F. Physical Science Can Neither Affirm Nor Deny God's Existence: The scientist wishes to question reality solely on the basis of measurements. He thereby deliberately limits himself to a specific realm in such a way that nothing non-quantitative can ever present itself to him as a scientist. His field of interest is closed to anything else. At this same time, however, the standpoint of the scientist excludes from his consideration everything non-quantitative. For instance, nothing is ever grandiose, beautiful, ugly or ethical from the standpoint of physical science. If the scientist nevertheless speaks of something as beautiful or ethical, he no longer speaks as a scientist. As a human being, he obviously is able to abandon the standpoint of physical science; he is entitled to assume the attitude of a person who is interested in beauty or ethics, but when he does this he goes beyond physical science. On the basis of his science he can never affirm or deny that something is beautiful, ethical, or holy.

 

For the same reason the scientist can neither affirm nor deny that the object of his inquiry are created (finite objects are created; ultimate reality is beyond his method). Creation, in the strictest sense, is a concept that is utterly meaningless from the standpoint of physical science. He can only affirm that science does not deal with concepts like creation. This means, therefore, that the idea of a God who creates is utterly foreign to physical science, to the scientist as a scientist, as he is restricted to the paradigm of physical science. "God is a useless hypothesis." This famous statement was the answer that the astronomer Pierre LaPlace gave when Napoleon asked him what he thought of God in connection with his famous theory about the origin of the universe from a primitive nebula. From the standpoint of astronomy it is indeed one hundred percent true that God is a useless hypothesis, i.e., astronomy never needs God as an astronomical explanation of astronomical phenomena—no more than chemistry ever needs him as a chemical factor in the explanation of chemical phenomena. But it was false to affirm that God is a useless hypothesis from every standpoint because only physical science can ask meaningful questions. This is to claim that any question which physical science cannot answer is at most "important nonsense" because only that is true or meaningful which physical science can verify. For, as we saw, this is the self contradictory position of scientism (The "Verification Principle" penetrated Logic, Ethics, Theology, Philosophy, Economics, Politics, Art, Literature, Music, Media, Mathematics, etc.).

 

G. "Scientific" Proofs for God's Existence: Physical Science in its modern form originated in the seventh century, but for a long time no one knew exactly what physical science was. The title of Isaac Newton's main work was Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. The distinction between philosophy and physical science was not yet clear. During the early stages of development physical science was supposed to lead by offering 'scientific' proofs for God's existence. One of the best known attempts is that of Rudolf Clausus (1822-1888), a German mathematics physicist, famous for the introduction of the concept of entropy, who derived a proof for God's existence from this physical concept. Other well known attempts are the biological proofs o.f the French-American, Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) and Leconte de Nouy. While studying the material world, physical science meets riddles and enigmas which it is not yet able to solve. When people didn't understand thunder and lightening, they ascribed them to Zeus or some other god. But today this dark corner no longer needs God as an explanation. Any kind of god who hides in a dark corner of the world not yet illuminated by physical science will sooner or later be expelled and unmasked as a fake, a pseudo-god. The riddles of physical science are not to be solved by a supra-worldly or transcendent God. God is thereby reduced to an "object" within the world, to a physical cause; thus he denies the transcendent God and professes a kind of atheism. Not all reality discloses itself to man when he occupies this particular paradigm. (Kant contra "metaphysics"; science and metaphysics meaning systems are paradigms oriented; eg. Astronomy and creation; horizontal lines of inter connection - classical theory of universal causality - the universe is a closed system; see all of Stanley Jaki's work and my essay, "The Christian Faith and Scientific Revolution"; "Influence of Changing Views of The Nature of The Scientific Paradigm, with reference to Kuhn's Theory of Paradigm"; and "From Deism to Atheism: Scientific, Psychological, Social, Moral, and Anthropological Atheism (Science, Philosophy and God)."

 

Newtonian physics is neither closer nor farther away from it than is Einsteinian physics; neither has anything to do with the development of science. In no stage of development does physical science ever demand an appeal to God as the explanatory hypothesis of its own problems. And for this very reason physical science can never demand the denial of God. Science neither affirms nor denies God. The paradigmatic revolutions in the history of  science should discourage absolute claims or closed system-explanatory hypothesis. The closed system of explanatory hypothesis was the basis for development of the above categories of coming atheism, the absence of God from the universe and the individual self.

 

In classical social structures God was everywhere in the world. Having no power over nature, society, and the self, man was simply forced to abandon all responsibility for it to God. Good health, disasters and good fortune all came from the hands of divine providence (God's immanence in history). But today man has come of age and is his own master. Physical science and technology have given man much control over nature; good health is the result of a highly developed science of medicine and medical revolutions. If an epidemic breaks out, it is no longer an "act of God" except as a standard expression used by lawyers, but something for which we blame the responsible public health officials. If a building is struck by lightening, we no longer see it as divine punishment (Hiroshima, Hurricane Iniki, Hindu/Muslim riots (war lords in Somalia ("operation Restore Hope"); "whatever has become of the rising hope shared by so many?" grieved Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, Liberia, Angola, etc.

 

If man had indeed to choose between slavery to the gods or God of self-determination through the development of his potential, he should, of course, side with Prometheus. But Zeus is not the transcendent God of Judaeo-Christian revelation but a psuedo-god. The transcendent God does not object to man's self-development. On the contrary, he explicitly gave man the mandate to subdue the earth and make it subservient to himself. Scientific progress and technological development, then, do not remove God from the world; Atheism is not necessarily a concomitant of man's progress (God of nature and technology; God of history - immanence - via incarnation; promise covenant with Israel/Church; man's self-sufficiency, autonomous - banish war, disease, disorder, etc.)

 

Man has moved from "religiousness" to the "death of God" in western culture, largely through the development of science and technology. The progress of science has indeed eliminated the need for all pseudo-gods. Today it is no longer easy to present a pseudo-god as if he were the transcendent God of creation and incarnation. God's presence is an "absent presence" in all the world's cultures. Prayer cannot manipulate God like science and technology manipulates the world. In the contemporary Post-Modern scientific paradigm man has become merely a project of the world. (Auguste Comte, The Fundamental Principles of The Positive Science: Cours de’ Philosophie Positive (Luijpen, Phenomenology and Atheism)

 

III. Psychological Atheism: Sigmund Freud's Influence (1856-1939)

 

How can a rational person believe in the reality of the Judaeo-Christian God after the Scientific Revolution! The Scientism/Positivism/ Paradigm was the source of Atheism in Western culture. When the Positivistic Paradigm collapses, it can no longer be the rational source for rejecting God's existence (cf. after Kant and Hume). This paradigm was accepted into psychological absolutism, so called psychologism. The Atheist is convinced that God doesn't exist, but he cannot disregard the fact that many intelligent people continue affirm him. To explain this fact he then has recourse to a psychological explanation, people who affirm God suffer from some kind of mental aberration. There are all kinds of psychology and explanations for belief in God, but their common element lies in so-called "projection."

 

The term "projection" was first used in its psychological sense in connection with the problems about the reality of colors and visual perception of space. In this sense, projection theories can be found in Locke, Berkeley and Kepler. In a broader sense one may speak of projection whenever people ascribe their own qualities to others; they look at others through the "spectacles of their own cultural paradigms (see my Contextualism and Relativism papers). Projection in the psychological implies that man detaches the best of his own being from himself, construing it as a higher or highest being outside himself (Narcissism, man bowing down to his own image).

 

1. The most widely known and classical example of the religious theory of projection is that of Sigmund Freud. Freud's main discussion of religion is found in The Future of An Illusion, Totem and Taboo, and Moses and Monotheism. In the first of these he argues that religion is nothing but a scheme by which man tries to defend himself against the over powering forces of nature. He begins by humanizing these beings. In human society people can be pleased with, they can be bribed and pacified. By being humanized, then the forces of nature lose their fearful character at least to some extent. Man can then practice with respect to what he also did as a child in reference to his father. The father image contains both love and fear. The father is to protect the son but at the same time, he is also feared, for he can also hurt his son. Man, says Freud, ascribes the same fatherly attitude to the forces of nature; and when he makes gods out of natures forces, he assumes in this respect the same ambivalent attitude as he had toward his father (Future of an Illusion, pp. 28ff.) That is why men ascribe to the gods the function of making up for the deficiencies of his own cultural development. The gods must alleviate man's suffering and guard the morality demanded by culture (cf. man's helplessness and the Father Image). When he realizes that this common element underlies all these images, he merges then into a single image of one God, his Father, (cf.. maturation of Father Image, Freud, ibid., pp. 30ff.)

 

In Totem and Taboo, Freud tries to burrow even deeper into the father image buried in every image of God. Totemism, he says, was the first religion of man. Now the totemistic meal plays a crucial role in totemistic religion. In preparation for the meal, all members of a tribe catch the totem animal and savagely kill it by beating it to death or tearing it to pieces alive and then devouring the meat raw. In ordinary circumstances no one is allowed to kill the totem animal, but the tribesmen feel that doing it all together is justified. Once the deed is over they mourn the dead animal, trying as it were, to cleanse themselves of responsibility for its death. Wild festivities follow the mourning ritual (Totem and Taboo, Basic Writings of Freud, pp. 912lff)

2. Freud's interpretation of this is as follows: The Totem animal stands for the father. Man's feelings toward the father are always ambiguous, a mixture of love and hatred. That is why mourning as well as joy surround the father symbol. More light is thrown on this entire question, Freud says, if we join this psychoanalysis with the Darwinian hypothesis of primitive hordes (ibid., p. 915). In the primitive horde a jealous father kept all the females for himself, thereby frustrating the sexual desires of his adolescent sons. Finally the brothers joined forces, killing the father and then devouring him. Together they dare to do what none of them alone could accomplish.

The brothers' hatred of their father vanishes after they have murdered him, but their love of him remains. To atone for murder, they prohibit the killing of the totem animal (father symbol); they renounce relations with the father's females by proclaiming the prohibition of incest and imposing the law of exogamy. These two fundamental taboos (killing the totem animal and incest) correspond to the two aspects of the Oedipus Complex with which morality began. After the father's death, the brothers became competitors for females; to preserve their social organization they have to prohibit incest.

 

3. The origin of religion manifests itself in the other taboo. All religions, says Freud, attempt to solve the problem of guilt and sex from the murder of the arch father. Three factors are present in Freud's theory of the origin of religion: (a) Society is based on complicity in a common crime; (b) Religion is based on the sense of guilt and remorse; (c) Morality is based on both social necessity and the expiation demanded by man's sense of guilt (ibid., pp. 916ft).

 

4. Deification of The Father Image: Forgetting the bitterness that originally had led them to kill the father, the sons' longing increased and gave rise to the father ideal. They deified their arch father, thus raising him far above their level. At the same time their society could now develop into a patriarchal system. In other words, religious longings will continue to exist (ibid., pp. 919ft.)

 

5. Further Development of Religion: Subsequently, the totem animal began to lose its sacred character, the sacrifice also lost its connection with the totemistic feast and became the simple offerings of gifts to the deity. God is now so high above all things human that he can be approached only through priests as consecrated intermediaries (cf. sacrifice in ancient Semitic religions). At the same time, the son's ambiguous attitude toward the father makes him try to put himself in the place of the father-god, (cf. Original sixth offense against God, the Father and Christ redeemed mankind from this sin by the sacrifice of His life. The religion of the Father became the religion of The Son (cf. Totem meal and communion Freud affirms that Christian communion is nothing but a repetition of the ancient crime of revolt against the father (ibid., pp. 922ff.).

 

6. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud presents an even more detailed picture of the development of religion toward monotheistic forms of Jewish/Christian/Muslim religions. What does Freud say about the objective value of religious ideas which he presents in The Future of An Illusion.

 

7. Religion As An Illusion: If one critically examines religious ideas, says Freud; one discovers that they are nothing but illusions, the illusory fulfillment of the strangest and most insistent wishes of mankind. Feeling helpless, a child craves protection and this protection is given by its father. But the feeling persists throughout life and this gives rise to the illusion of an all-powerful Father-God.

 

It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an afterlife; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be. (Future of An Illusion, pp. 52ff.)

It is an illusion to assume that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere. As an illusion, religion should be unmasked. But, Freud asks himself, would that really be such a good idea since virtually everything of value in one culture is based on religion? Wouldn't the world return to chaos if we unmasked religion? Freud's answer to these questions is that he is not doing anything new by exposing religion; he has merely provided a psychological foundation for it. "It is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life. Finally, the unmasking of religion may be disastrous at first hand, but in the long run the preservation of religion will be more harmful than its exposure." (Ibid, pp. 62ff.) Religion absolutizes its moral rules making them impossible to change. As long as religion sanctions morality, then no progress can be made. Thus the rejection of religion is the promotion of culture and morality (ibid., pp. 66ff.) Freud's irrational foundations of Totemistic Taboo is contradictory, but he denies that neurosis derives from strong religious people—necessarily (cf. overcoming neurosis in the process of growing up, neurosis becomes collective)., Freud declares that man (Post-Modern) is on the brink of transition to the condition where mankind will be free from the collective neurosis of religion (ibid., pp. 75ff. - break down in morals in education, media, etc.)

 

8. Critique of Freud's Atheism: Freud's psychoanalysis developed in a period of a paradigmatic revolution from the universe as closed and totally determined. For science the cosmos is not a static system but a dynamic interplay of forces, with respect to which man is not a "disinterested spectator" but an active participant, when himself has arisen through a dynamic process of evolution. Society, as Marx showed, is not a static entity confined within very restricted limits but a complex whole in which all kinds of subtle forces are dynamically at work and lead it forward to new stages which man himself must control. Freud offers us a view which extends this dynamism to man's own psyche. The new paradigm raises a vital problem for Christianity: Is there any specially religious dynamism? And if so, how does it work? How does it relate to other psychic dynamisms? (cf. Hegel's Geist/New Age; Dynamism; Resurgent Charismatic Phenomena)

 

Freud on Guilt and Religion: (inhibition "guilt feeling"; cf. authentic moral norms and guilt; feeling guilty and being guilty; Nietzsche's "authentic moral norms" "being human" - individualism and social context; "me" generation; the omnipotent child; sin consciousness and guilt feeling. An authentic moral demand is never a taboo source of authentic in the Post-Modern/Christian World)

 

a. Theory of Perception - "see something or nothing" Presupposition that God does not exist and then propose materialistic explanation of continued belief as irrational. Proof that nothing but projections exist? If Freud makes such a claim, then he is indulging in psychological scientism or psychologism, i.e., psychology is autonomous discipline. Freud's apriori rejects God's existence and then proceeds to develop a theory of explanation for persistence of belief, not the object of belief.

 

b.  "Belief in a provident God and an after life obviously are 'wish fulfillments,'" says Freud. What obvious proof is there that God does not exist? Is everything that corresponds to-a deep-felt wish per se not objective, not real? Some wish fulfillments obviously are mere wishes;

others are not (cf. wish that she loves me is real). Only further investigation will determine whether all wish fulfillment is illusory. Freud's explanatory system derives from positivistic scientism, not empiricist or phenomenological proof (cf. How I feel cannot be proven apriori). Can psychology unmask Freud's atheism? An example is found in Gregory of Zilbourg's tracing of Freudian pessimism to an affective frustration he suffered when he was three years old (Freud vs. Zilbourg ad infinitum; however, neither tells anything about either theism or atheism). Philosophical questions can neither be answered by psychology nor reduced to psychological questions (cf. conflicts between science can’t be resolved by psychology. Psychology is not an autonomous discipline, it is "paradigm ordered").

 

c. Freud's data was also based on pseudo-religious phenomena than on the Christian faith (cf. Freud, Totem and Taboo; The Future of an Illusion; Luijpen, Phenomenology and Atheism; Paul Ricoeur, "The Atheism of Freudian Psychoanalysis" Concilium, Vol 16, 1996, pp. 59ff; Gregory Zilbourg, Freud and Religion, Westminster, 1958).

 

IV. Marxian Social Atheism: Since the collapse of Russian Marxism in Eastern Europe, Communism still reigns in China.

 

1. Development toward Atheism begins at the University of Berlin and the Doktor Klub with young Hegelism (Marx was presented a Ph.D. at the age of twenty-three; he undertook the defense of the Atheism of Epicurus).

 

2. Feuerbachian encounter is the source of Marx's atheism.

 

3. Hegelian influence plus Feuerbach: a. Hegelian dialectic, b. Dynamic conception of man, c. Idea of alienation, d. Demanded the individual self-sacrifice for the sake of the universal spirit's realization.

 

4. After Hegel's death in 1831, there arose two trends of Hegelian thought; the old or Right Wing and young or Left Wing Hegelians. The old Hegelians saw the State as the infallible expression of right and morality. This stance was based on the assumption that authentic freedom and self realization was available only by obedience to the absolute authority of the State and the legal establishment. Identifying philosophy and theology (religion), they proceeded to support the absolute monarchy with a "religious" foundation.

 

5. Marx and Engels were both members of the Doktor Klub and were opposed to both absolute monarchy and the notion of a religious foundation for the State (religion was replaced by a "State of Reason"). The State could bring about a just order in society.

 

6. Both men soon turned from the State to faith in humanity.

 

7. Bruno Baur was a leading figure in the Doktor Klub and became a friend of Marx. Baur affirmed that Hegel's philosophy was atheistic. In Hegel men and nature are absorbed by God thus man and nature became utterly meaningless. The Hegelian God keeps man under his control; thus there is no freedom left for man in history and society.

 

8. Baur assumed that social reality could be transformed through criticism, through developing ideas which automatically transform the world. Through Arnold Huge, Marx soon turned against Baur's actionless criticism. Sheer contemplation is an ivory tower pursuit rather than a dynamic philosophy of life.

 

9. Moses Hesse also confirmed Marx in his atheism. Hesse was an early defender of communism and believed that a godless revolution was essential for "change." God had to be removed from His throne if man was to realize "himself."

 

10. Ludwig Feuerbach : (Feuerbach's thoughts on religion are expressed in Thoughts About Death and Immortality, The Essence of Christianity, Essence of Religion, and Philosophy of  The Future) Hegelian "abstractions" were on the way out of discussion and action (you think in existence, not in a vacuum). For Feuerbach, "real being" meant the senses and material being of the total body. This professed identification of reality with matter constituted Feuerbach as a materialist. Materialism affirmed that a transcendent, supra-worldly God was nonsense. Religion then became utterly meaningless and that such a God could only turn men away from concern for earthly reality. Feuerbach's avid aim was to change "the friends of God into friends of man . . , worshippers into workers" for mankind, "Christians into whole men." (Essence of Religion, 1903 vol 8, pp. 228ff) For Feuerbach God and the hereafter are nothing but projections. The ideas of God and the afterlife are projections. The idea of God is a product of the imagination. God is not a subject, but a predicate. The true subject is nature (God is the name of species, egs. Zeus, Odin Yahweh, Christ). Christianity is a religion of suffering.

 

11. In The Essence of Christianity - man's own nature is no longer merely the basis of religion, but it becomes its very object. Religion is man's consciousness of the Infinite; man's consciousness knows no limits. Individual men are limited, but "man's" essence is not so limited. Man's existence knows no limits; he is infinite, i.e.. God. The object of religion is within man and religion is but the solemn unveiling of man's own hidden riches.

 

12. All the attributes of God, then, are merely attributes of man's own nature (attributes apply only to "God for me," "God for man"). The knowledge of God is limited to knowledge of man. As man changes, so does religion. Yesterday's religion is today's atheism, and today's atheism will be tomorrow's religion (Post-Modern/Post-Christian humanistic, secularistic, relativistic pluralism).

 

a. Feuerbach's attempts at unmasking religion (retain man his "authentic" religion). "In denying the fanatic projection of theology and religion," he says, "in order to affirm the real essence of man." (Essence of Religion, p. 27).

 

b. "Being man" is totally identified with being-in-the-world; no escape from explaining there is God and religion as some kind of projection. This theory pays no attention to the possibility of God's actual existence.

 

c. For Feuerbach the choice is between man and a God who prevents man from being himself, a God who alienates man from himself, a God therefore who appears to be in competition with man. Feuerbach's analysis leaves no room for God's transcendence, who has provided man a world in which to bring about his self-realization.

d. It is naive to identify man with God when one considers man not abstractly but as he concretely is! Is man essentially good or essentially ambivalent, capable of both good and evil? If man is essentially both of these, how can one simply identify God with human nature? Feuerbach is guilty here of mystifying the reality of man (1) Turn man into whole man;

(2) Man involved in the world; (3) Speak about God for him, not God in himself. Man thus creates God in his own image and turns theology into anthropology. Man's self understanding inevitably finds expression in his understanding of God. (The credibility gap between the world and God as presented by institutionalized Christianity).

 

13. Atheism of Marx (Immanent Socio/Economio/Politico Explanation) Marx said that Feuerbach neglected the true driving force of human events, which is work and socio-economic conditions resulting from work. Marx agreed with Feuerbach's theory of religion as a projection springing from man's inferiority. Feuerbach failed to explain satisfactorily why man wishes to make such a projection. Like other materialists, says Marx, Feuerbach remained a contemplative of the world; he didn't know that man is not a detached observer but practically involved in the world; he forgot that man's essence is not an abstraction but merely "the ensemble of social relation." This religion is simply a "social product", a phenomena produced by a particular form of society. The alienation of religion is caused by the general alienation of man in that form of society (cf. "Theses of  Feuerbach" Marx and Engels Selected Works vol 2, pp. 404ff.)

 

a. Marx's Critique of Religion: Marx's concern was to understand what makes history tick. Understanding this phenomenon will provide predictive power for reshaping the future world. (Hegel's dynamic view of man and history - "For Hegel all struggle was over ideas; for Marx all struggles are socio-economic). "The entire so-called history of the world is nothing but getting of men through human labors." ("Private Property and Communism" Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, 1844 (Moscow, pp. 113ff.) Man humanizing himself by working. Through work man becomes authentic man and social man.

 

b. Work is for Marx the central reference point of his philosophy, for everything else is seen in the light of work and the resultant development of the means of production. A certain economic structure determines everything else, the social, political, and legal order, as well as man's "form of consciousness," i.e., the manner in which he thinks about himself, family, religion, art, science, philosophy, etc. (Preface to the Critique of Political Economy; see my paper "Marx's Worldview" and his "Theory of Alienation.") This economic infrastructure rather than any kind of "political or religious nonsense," says Marx, "determines the social bonds among men."

 

c. Man's Self Alienation in a Capitalistic Society: Marx declared that capitalistic principles made it impossible for man to realize himself authentically. Man can only lead an estranged or alienated existence in such a society. Marx modified this Hegelian idea of alienation by transferring it to the level of man's dynamic being in the world. Man's self-expression thus lies in his being at work in the world. The only way this self-estrangement can be overcome, says Marx, is by the abolition of capitalistic society, for then work can be humanized and the product of man's work can be restored to him. Because man is estranged in his economic structure, he is self-estranged in all other dimensions of life (contra the Christian life of "sin" and Redemption/ Grace/ and Forgiveness).

d. Self-alienation/Self-estrangement/Authenticity/In-authenticity (man and things) Human beings are authentic when they are what they ought to be; they are inauthentic when they are not what they ought to be (Heidegger said he is authentic when I speak; inauthentic when I merely repeated what others say.) The self is authentic when nothing "is obtained"; inauthentic when man is an object or tool.

 

e. Capitalism is a system in which private individuals own and control for their own profit social means of production and consumption. The capitalist pays the worker less than the product is worth, thus alienates his authentic being. Economic alienation extends to all categories of life. Misery is caused by exploitation. If man is essentially a worker, then his work can produce his authenticity if some one takes away part of what he produces, then part of his nature is alienated. Thus the family is estranged by the capitalistic system. This system ratifies the privileges of the bourgeois and their oppression of the poor by society's legal order. Religion also is a manifestation of man's fundamental socio-economic alienation.

 

f. Coming and Going of Authentic Man: Communist Society, Before and After - Marx's theory was an explanation of history and not merely a critique of capitalistic society (laws governing the course of history). (Marx and Engel, The Holy Family (Moscow, 1956, pp. 15;German Ideology, p. 2)

 

Capitalism will drive itself to its own dissolution. Marx's laws are:

 

(1) Surplus value of labor tends to fall in the capitalistic system. Surplus value is the difference between labor cost and value labor adds to the product (Capital, Vol I, pp. 762ff.)

 

(2) Capital tends to concentrate on large scale production, thereby eliminating small productive units. Thus the capitalist keeps diminishing and the proletarians keep growing (Ibid).

 

(3) Motivated by profit alone, capitalism tends to over produce. This leads to commercial crisis that returns periodically in ever more threatening forms. Capitalism searches for new markets and more thoroughly exploits the existing ones, but this merely draws more people into the destructive cycle of crisis (Manifesto, p.59).

 

(4) As capital expands, poverty increases. For greater technology and simplification of labor means that more workers will compete for fewer jobs at lower wages ("Wage, Labor and Capital," SW Vol I, pp. 104ff). The end result will be extreme wealth and extreme poverty. The condition of starving proletarians who "have nothing to lose but their chains" will be realized and "Revolution" will be inevitable. Society will collapse under its own weight. Dispossessed of everything, the proletarians have no private interest whatsoever; no property, no homes, no family, no country in any meaningful sense of these terms. As such, they are ripe for a world-wide authentically human society based on common interest alone, (cf. United Nations' one worldism, New Age Pantheistic one worldism, divided by private interest groups - e.g.: Blacks, Native Americans, Feminists, Homosexuals, the Poor, the Aging, Right of Choice, etc.).

 

And they alone will bring about a new society by a violent revolution; an authentically human existence "can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions." For capitalists are motivated by profit alone; hence any attempts at reconciliation would merely be an effort to make it appear that things are changing while in reality everything remains more or less the same. The proletarians would simply be cheated out of their rights (Manifesto, p. 114).

 

To be successful in their revolution, the workers must first constitute themselves as a class, conscious of its position, vis-a-vis the bourgeois. It is here that the Communist Party can lead all other workers. Having no private interest to defend, the Party always and everywhere represents all workers; besides, it has the advantage over all others of clearly understanding the course of history (Manifesto, p. 73). The new society will be for all the people and not merely the workers alone. And once the new society is firmly established, each man will be able to lead an authentically human life, for there will be no "alienation." Economic estrangement, as we noted, is the foundation from which all of man's alienation arise; hence the elimination of the capitalistic economic structure is the fundamental law of Marx's coming society. All social means of production will be owned by the society/state; so that no one will have to work as a wage slave for the private interest of others. In a bourgeois social order individuals and society are seen as opposites; because private property dominates everything, my interest conflicts with the common interest (Christian Fellowship - common interest versus private interest groups). The "individual is the social being." The workers do not receive any wages in the old sense, but contributes to society "according to his ability" and receives from it "according to his needs." ("Private Property and Communism" MS, p. 105; "Critique of theGotha Programme," SW, vol 2, p. 24).

 

Hegel liked the universal and spoke of the human species, but he stayed in the realm of abstraction. In reality, says Marx, the species is society, man's total bond with his fellowman. Consciousness of this total bond means that the individual no longer sees himself in opposition to the totality, the species. Individual life and the life of the species are not different but only distinct modalities of the same life. When man is authentically conscious of himself as the social being, he as the individual is nothing but a sample of the species ("Private Property and Communism" MS pp. 104ff); contra Western/USA Radical Individualism only Christian Fellowship can allow this.

 

Laws will be in harmony with what man really is. The people will then see that law is not imposed restraint but freely accepted (The German Ideology, p. 41; Capital, vol 3, p. 800). The State that is per se an instrument of oppression and an alienation, will continue to exist only during the initial period of transition from the capitalistic society in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But once the new society is solidly established, the State will wither away to be replaced by an organ that is "completely subordinate to its people" ("Critique of the Gotha Programme," SW vol 2, p. 34ff.). In the new society thinking will continue to be a mirror reflex of socio-economic conditions. Philosophy and Religion will vanish because it is nothing but an expression of man's fundamental economic alienation in the old forms of society.

 

Phenomenology and Existentialism:

 

1. Edmund Husserl(1859-1938): Husserl understood phenomenology to be the study of experience and consciousness. The subject and object of traditional philosophical problems are "bracketed." For Husserl consciousness is intentional in that it is inherently directed toward an intentionally constituted world, and it arises only as it acts as intentionality. Both knower and things known are components of experience. Without the act of giving meaning to experience, there would be no subject or object.

 

Existentialism and phenomenology agree in rejecting traditional mind/body dualism on systematic accounts of ultimate reality on these issues. They also agree with analytical philosophy. Where they differ with the analysis is on the part of seeing philosophy as an informative discipline. They do not, for example, eliminate metaphysics as logical positivism tried to do. Rather, they attempt a radical reformation of it. Their interest is directed as it was in Kant, "to the fundamental structures of conscious experience which constitutes the very conditions of the possibility of any conscious experience whatever."

 

Metaphysical entities like the self or independently real objects are "bracketed" out in favor of the analysis of consciousness. But Husserl's phenomenological method is not to be confused with Descarte's or even Kant's method. For Husserl and existentialism generally, there is no antecedent 'self which acts like a character of a play, for example. The thinker and his world arise in and remain in experience. The categories of experience apply not just to things as they appear, as in Kant, but to things themselves. In other words, unlike either Kant or Descartes, there is no problem of knowing real things "outside" of minds, since knowers are already part of and inseparable from their 'worlds' - the Dasein, as Heidegger calls it (cf. issues raised by Husserl are derived from Kierkeggard, Descartes, and Augustine).

 

Existentialism is a form of romanticism that exalts the individual as the creator of his own values and meaning for life. As such, it is a form of humanism that attempts to discover and reaffirm what it means to be human. On the other hand, phenomenology stresses a radical and technical analysis of experience that it hope will correct the errors of traditional rationalism and empiricism. Like Descartes, Husserl was also a mathematician who tried to uncover the foundations of experience and thought.

 

Both movements agree generally that what defines man is not the possession of a soul or some antecedent essence or self, but the free-intentional acts of consciousness by which the world is given meaning. Sartre's famous phrase "existence [of consciousness] precedes essence" means that man's acts must be decided by man himself. Only man can settle the question of man and then only momentarily as he acts. Such things as human nature or morality are contingent upon what man chooses to become, how he formulates his future. The idea that man is an antecedent entity of some sort or an empty or passive "container for impressions and ideas from the outside world" is rejected, wherein existentialism is not primarily literary, social or religious in emphasis, and where it is likely to concern itself with the technical issues of philosophy, it is likely to be a form of existential phenomenology. Heidegger, Sartre and Ponty lean primarily on Husserl's phenomenological method (see above). (Heidegger - being precedes existence; Dasein - analysis; Sartre - existence precedes essence; Ponty - goal of philosophy is the world, not being as in Heidegger or consciousness as such as in Sartre; between Kierkeggard and Husserl).

The crucial distinction is Heidegger's distinction between existential (Das Seinde) and existential (Das Sein). The former characterized the concerns of Kierkeggard, Jaspers, Marcel and religious existentialism generally for the profound personal issues of existence - issues like death, anxiety and choice. On the contrary, existential phenomenology of Heidegger, Sartre, and Ponty center on the technical and generally impersonal issues of a metaphysics of experience - what Heidegger calls Fundamental Ontology, which has to do with the existentials or structures of the Dasein, i.e., human experience. The psychological and concrete particulars are "bracketed" out.

 

2. Since 1950, Heidegger has turned from the study of existentials to the study of being; from Dasein's analysis to being itself as a general principle. Superficially, this interest suggests a return to traditional metaphysics. However, by "being," Heidegger means many things, especially the "to be" of whatever is, i.e., the "to be" as a verb or being rather than a noun, not something as an essence or abstract concept of it, but its act of existing. Heidegger seeks the "to be" of being itself and not just the "to be" of man, i.e., the depth of man which discloses itself to the surface of man. Thus Heidegger reverses Kierkeggard's priority of the concrete existing person for the priority of "the opening of Being to man" in The Dasein. Heidegger plunges us back into the fullness of a mystical nothingness (cf. Buddhism). By contrast, Sartre goes after the pure consciousness that is for him nothingness apart from "being in itself."   All there is is "being for itself," i.e., conscious human intention of meaning is nothing.

 

"All conscious existence exists only as consciousness of existing" (Sartre). Since consciousness is "pure spontaneity" it is freedom. But the freedom of Sartre is not the freedom of a self in the traditional sense. It is the freedom that arises in the relationship of consciousness to its world as it spontaneously creates itself in choice and act as it forms its future. To be is to act.

 

Merleau-Ponty takes exception to Sartre's notion that consciousness is nothingness. Instead, "we are always in fullness, in being," he says; and for him this comprises our inextricable relation to the world in our particular, however ambiguous, situations. Thus we do not create meaning from nothing, as in Sartre. Nor does being disclose meaning to us, as in Heidegger. Rather, we clarify "the confusing discourse of the world" that characterizes our particular concrete historical situation.

 

In summary, neither existentialism nor phenomenology denies the objective reality of the world, but both do deny the traditional forms of realism that speak of a world independent of mind, and they reject all forms of idealism. For them, consciousness is always consciousness of something, but it is prior to either subject or object. In short, existentialism and phenomenology seek the roots of a subjectivity that is also the root of the objective world.

 

Edmund Husserl was originally a mathematician and a physicist who was profoundly disturbed by the endless diversity of views in philosophy. Wishing to overcome this confusion, he launched his phenomenology as an attempt to establish "philosophy as a rigorous science," characterized by the universality of its statements. To achieve his goal, Husserl examined the nature of consciousness or knowledge and conceived it as "intentionality," as orientation to that which is not consciousness. One can see here how Husserl's view approached that of Kierkeggard: for Kierkeggard, man is orientation to God; for Husserl man's consciousness is orientation to the other than consciousness— Itself. There remains, however, a difference of interest. Kierkeggard was mainly interested in theological anthropological questions, but Husserl emphasized the theoretical problems of knowledge.

 

In Heidegger's Being and Time, Kierkeggard's existentialism and Husserl's phenomenology merge into existential phenomenology. Heidegger presents a "scientific" philosophy of man, while avoiding the narrow conception of being scientific, present in positivism, and Hegel's idealism. Existentialism thus gives up its anti-scientific bias, and phenomenology its narrow interest in epistemological questions to become a philosophy of man. Some have not made this transition between positivism and idealism, eg. Karl Jaspers and Gabriel Moral tend to maintain the anti-scientific attitude of Kierkeggard. The fundamental question for existential phenomenology is the age-old question. What is man? To understand its answer, it will be best to see where this answer is situated with respect to the two extreme paradigms of materialism and spiritualism.

 

3. Materialism: All types of this paradigm agree that man is nothing but a thing among the other things in the world, nothing but a result of cosmic processes and forces. Yet we must not forget that man is whatever he is on the basis of matter (body and created matter plus Imago Dei contra reductionism). There is no spiritual knowledge without a physiological process, no spiritual love without a sensitive basis, no personal conscience without a biological substructure. That is why, e.g. the biologist can speak about knowledge, love and conscience without making himself look foolish (cf. Linguistic Revolution, Logical Positivism, Linguistic Analysis, etc.). Materialism reduces to scientism. Nothing scientific is about reality! Love is nothing but a chemical phenomenon or conscience nothing but a brain-wave.

 

Materialism cannot explain why being-man has meaning for man and that things do not have any meaning for themselves or for other things. If there were only "things" nothing would have any meaning. Only man ascribes meaning, only man says that things "are" and what they "are." He is the original sayer of "is." Things don't create a science; they don't develop a philosophy, not even a materialistic philosophy. Only man does this; there is something in man that makes him transcend mere things in this respect. This "something" is man's subjectivity, his being a subject. Materialism reduces man to nothing but a "thing" among "other things."

 

4. Spiritualism: Man as Existence - Existentialism asserts that man is an "existent subject." This term is used in a special sense; it indicates that man "ec-sisto", that is, he puts himself, as it were, outside himself; out there with the reality of the body and the world. In other words, he is a subject who is embodied and in the world, he is not an encapsulated subject closed upon himself in isolation from the body and the world. The subject is not without the body and the world. The embodied subject and the world involves one another in such a way that one cannot be affirmed without affirming the other. The existential/phenomenologists express that "man is existence" on the "reciprocal implication of subject and world." Man as a subject stands open to the world;

reversely, the world is not without the subject.

 

5. Sartre thinks that existential/phenomenology must be defined as per se atheistic and that it alone draws the consequences from a consistent atheistic attitude. The affirmation of God is impossible if man must be affirmed as man. Since man must be affirmed, it follows that God must be denied. Man and God are incompatible. These representatives of post modern atheism criticize the God of Judeo/Christian religion. Why do these post modern atheists reject God in the name of man?

 

6. Sartre's Atheism: Sartre clearly affirms that God cannot exist because "freedom which is traditionally ascribed to God really belongs to man" (Sartre's Situations, Paris, 1947, pp. 3l4f). Sartre declares that God's absolute freedom could have made any mathematically truth untrue by merely willing it; whatever God wills is true or good, etc. God created goodness and truth, exactly as he freely and autonomously willed it (Situation, pp. 323ff.) Sartre says that man has this autonomous freedom or creativity. For Sartre freedom means absolute creative autonomy. Man himself in all freedom assigns meaning to everything. Nothing has meaning in itself, but everything derives its meaning exclusively from man's free project of himself and his world (Being and Nothingness, p. 572).

 

Sartre is correct in saying that motives have meaning only in virtue of a project. Sartre disregards that all projects are situated in a concrete setting; therefore we are autonomous. By disregarding that as a subject and giver of meaning I am restricted by my situation, Sartre manages to conceive my being a subject as having absolute autonomy and freedom is my project of self-realization. Being absolutely free I also have absolute responsibility for myself, according to Sartre (God/Faith destroys my autonomy). Man himself is the sole author of his world and of himself; he carries the weight of the whole world on his shoulders.

 

Regarding morality, Sartre claims that there is no universal norms or values because there is no God who wrote such norms in heaven. Since there is no God, man must invent values to give meaning to life. And this "someone else" is man himself, for values always presupposes man as a subject. Thus, "it follows that my freedom is to a unique foundation of values and that nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies me in adopting this or that particular value, this or that particular scale of values." (Being and Nothingness, p. 38). "It is immediately clear that there be no firm foundation to which we can appeal to as guarantee! Even if there were universal norms of morality, they would be useless; they cannot tell me what to do." (Existentialism and Humanism, p. 47)

 

If man must freely choose his own morality, doesn't this make freedom the universal moral norm? Sartre's answer is in the affirmative: "One can choose anything, but only on the plane in the affirmative of free commitment." This universal norm of freedom, however, he adds, is not written in heaven but in man himself; it expresses the true meaning of being-man (Existentialism and Humanism, p. 57). A decision of coward is one of "bad faith," but isn't man free also to choose living in bad faith? Sartre says no, for then one fails to recognize the truth of one's essence, which is freedom as absolute autonomy, one fails to be man. Man's essence is autonomous freedom. A choice that disregards this essence is morally wrong.

 

Sartre argues that there are no absolute universals—only in relation to man as a subject. What is Sartre's source for this claim of "absolute freedom"? How can man accept what he is essentially? Can the autonomous subject be the absolute and autonomous source of norms and values? What is the foundation of man's absolute freedom - both the individual and his fellowmen? How is the resolution of these conflicting centers of autonomous freedom? Man is not autonomously free to determine astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry, etc. In Sartre's, The Devil and The Good Lord, he considers what Christians call the moral good. There is no absolutely moral goodness. Consequently, God's will doesn't exist either. God has nothing to do with good and evil (cf. Goetz's is Sartre's character in the drama).

7. Merleau Ponty's Atheism: Man does not live in Hegelian isolation separated from the world. But man lives in the world, in history, among his fellowman and this means that "absolute good" is beyond him. Sartre has revealed our plight in his The Devil and The Good Lord.

 

If God exists, man is nothing; if man exists. . . Heinrich, I am going to tell you a colossal joke; God doesn't exist. He doesn't exist. Joy, tears of joy. Hallelujah!. . . no more heaven, no more hell; nothing but earth. . . God is dead . . . alone at last." (Ibid, pp. 141 ff.)

 

What is the nature of the "absolute" we have lost in Western culture? Has the atheist merely a mistaken notion of God? Merleau Ponty refuses to admit that Philosophy be defined in terms of the negation of God; one who does this, he says;, begins by disregarding what philosophy really is (Ponty, In Praise of Philosophy, pp. 42ff.) Positively considered, Merleau-Ponty argues "to philosophize is to seek, and this is to imply that there are things to see and to say." (Ibid., p. 41) One who cannot stand it may seek an escape by taking refuge in a history guaranteed by Marxist principles or the necessary Being of a Christian religion. But then he refuses to acknowledge that he is a man; he reduces himself to a thing and a process (Merleau-Ponty, Signs, pp. 239ff).

 

a. Why Merleau-Ponty Rejects God: Man tries to express the wonder of wonders, the existence of meaning through the emergence of subjectivity. He refuses to explain the subject who is the source of meaning because explanations apply only to the realm of things governed by necessity. And this is why the philosopher must deny God, because God, the necessary being, causes the contingent being. This would cause the necessary being to reduce man, the contingent or free being, to a being necessitated. In the name of man's contingency as a subject, then, we must reject the affirmation of God (In Praise of Philosophy, pp. 45ff.) Merleau Ponty realizes that Christianity demands the rejection of all idols, that the Christian must be an atheist regarding all other gods. Merleau Ponty recognizes that a Christian must reject a god as the "Absurd Emperor of the World." Merleau Ponty claims that the Christian God is -- the "Absurd Emperor of The World." (Ibid, p. 47)

 

Merleau Ponty concludes that God and man as contingent being are incompatible. Merleau Ponty indicates that is why the Christian cannot authentically participate in man's historical search from truth and value. He claims that the Christian view of God is ambiguous. That is why Merleau-Ponty claims that the temporal order is unimportant. Man's temporal actions add nothing to God.

There are three stages in this play: (1) Goetz first tries to do evil and disobey God; God does nothing; (2) Then he tries to do good and obey God; again God does nothing; (3) Finally, Goetz no longer cares about God and will simply be himself. In the first stage, Goetz appears as a man who has always done evil for evil's sake and in order to provoke God. Since everything good has already been done by God; Goetz plans something new — evil. He will storm the city of Worms and put its 20,000 inhabitants to the sword to provoke God. "What do I care for mankind? ... It is God I am defeating. ... It is God I shall crucify tonight. . . through twenty-thousand men . . . God knows that ... He is afraid. He is saying to himself: "Perhaps Goetz will not dare." . . . Weep angels; I shall dare." (The Devil and The Good Lord, p. 55).

 

The last preparations are made. God does not interfere. "Still no miracles. I'm beginning to believe that God is giving me a free hand. Goetz wants to do evil for evil's sake, but God, instead of trying to stop him, "does not care a damn." Sartre's drama can be summarized in three points: (1) Absolute good is impossible; (2) It is impossible to appeal to God for guarantee of 'absolute goodness'; (3) Therefore, God does not exist. The incarnation is God's address to the world of contingency and in it God must grapple with good and evil.

 

The ambiguity of the Christian faith, according to Merleau Ponty, lie precisely in this that the Christian "never clings either to the internal God or to the external God, but always takes a position that lies in between those two possibilities." (Ibid., pp. 174ff) The Christian leap of faith knows where it will lead; his surrender knows to whom he entrusts himself. He knows that history is important, but ultimately, it is also unimportant for God has already settled everything. Is man then wasting his time in his ceaseless searching and groping for truth and values (Ibid., pp. 176ff.) What implication does revolutionary conservatism have on the political context? (Ibid., pp. 177ff.) Here comes revolution, injustice, violence in conflict with established authorities (Ibid., pp. 178ff.) In essence, then a Christian cannot really be a man; he cannot enter into dialogue with his fellowmen in their search for truth and value, for he is "one who knows" and possesses divine guarantees for his values. He can never be fully counted upon on the earth because he has "one foot in heaven."

 

b. Reflections: Fundamental to Merleau Ponty's rejection of God are: (1) The idea of causality and contingency. Man is no longer contingent but necessitated. What kind of causality cannot be reconciled with "contingency" because it necessitates? The answer is the deterministic influence on causality in which one thing exercises on another thing. The causality manifests itself in a cosmic process. If the necessary Being causes the contingent subject just as a cosmic force causes a thing, then Merleau Ponty is right. Any philosophical or theological argument which makes God's causality with respect to the contingent subject similar to a natural process resulting in a thing destroys this subject and reduces him to a mere thing.

 

But is this the only possible way one can look at causality, the only possible way of exercising influence, of "making be"? God's love is an inter-subjective relationship in which one fosters and develops the other subject while respecting his freedom. Children often do not develop an authentic person to person relation with others. Have they been reduced to a mere thing or system of functions?

 

Christian love, on the other hand, transforms a subject and his world. In human love between persons, a whole new world is opened up to them; they are no longer alone. Love, then, recreates the beloved, make him or her more fully a subject; at the same time, it recreates the beloved's world. Yet, love does not force; the very idea of forcing is foreign to love. Love can be creative only if it is freely accepted and respected. If God is a God of love then Merleau Ponty's objection loses its sting; God's causality does not stifle or destroy man's subjectivity. It is significant that this aspect of love does not enter in Merleau-Ponty's discussion of causality. His view of causality is taken from a positivistic view of science. This view of causality has been called into question by the Einsteinian revolution; there is structure beneath the relativity. All is not relative, but every historical event is contingent to the non-contingent.!  (See Jaki's response to Plank/ Heisenberg's continuum physics in his The Absolute Beneath The Relative).

 

Merleau Ponty's use of contingent is vital for our discussion. For him the term "contingency" has an anthropological meaning. It expresses the mode of being proper to the subject; it indicates that the subject is not necessitated, the result of deterministic causes, a mere thing. To be contingent means to be free. Only the "Subject" is contingent. In classical metaphysics a being does not have sufficient reason for its being within itself. In this sense, then, not only subjects but also things are contingent. 'To explain' has only one meaning for him, viz., to see a thing in relation to its deterministic antecedents. Thus, his statement that theology is unable to explain the subject's contingency with respect to God means that the subject's freedom cannot simply be the result of a thing like process. If one accepts Merleau-Ponty's sense of the terms "contingency" and "causality," his assertion is true, of course. In this sense, he cannot be "refuted." Merleau-Ponty is so preoccupied with the search for the dark roots of human rationality in the "body-subject" that he never comes to grips with the dilemma faced by the philosopher/theologian; either there is nothing at all or there is an all-explanatory principle.

 

c. Merleau-Ponty's Critique of Christianity—Loss of Transcendence: The crucial issue in his critique is that Christian believers in God cannot take the world and its history seriously. Possessing God, who is Truth itself, they "know" the truth and need not participate in the "dizzy" search for it; possessing the God who is Goodness itself, they need not become involved in the dangerous enterprise of establishing values. From the standpoint of the search for truth, they are intolerant, and in the struggle for a more human world they are conservative. Although God's entrance into human history through the Incarnation has changed all this to a certain extent, Christianity remains essentially ambiguous. Because they have one foot in heaven, Christians need not do anything, for everything will be all right (cf. Dominion Mandate and the Commission, and The Mandate to bring every thought captive to Christ).

 

From the Biblical period to the Middle Ages most Christians would be very surprised if they were told that there was nothing left to do because God had done it all. Western Science had its origins in the belief that the Judaeo/Christian God of creation ordered history, language, culture, history, etc. All the categories with which and in which we address the world. Yet, Merleau-Ponty is correct when he argues that there is a certain ambiguity in Christianity. Bipolarity is a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian; he is oriented both to God and to the world in his project of existence. His bipolarity influences his conduct (cf. how we live in the world). The atheist recognizes only man's orientation to the world. The orientation between God and the world is a never-ending task, but presents itself in ever new forms. (History of Ideas and Changing Paradigms—change is sometimes incremental, so time revolution and radical intellectual/cultural development are by way of Paradigmatic Revolutions.)

 

No past solution will appear satisfactory when the situation changes. The Christian is both a revolutionary and a conservative. Merleau-Ponfcy calls man to abandon this bipolar orientation and describe himself as nothing but a being involved in the world; in other words, only by ceasing to be a Christian would he be able to be fully human. We have here an echo of Feuerbach's aim: let us "change Christians into whole men." The Christian to be whole means to be controlled by the God of creation and Incarnation and directed toward all human perimeters of reality,  (cf. Nature, history, culture, science, technology, cross-cultural communication, etc.) We must not buy progress by violence, death, destruction, desacralization and depersonalization. As Christians we are involved in this world; we do not consider ourselves as nothing but an orientation to God. In fact, the Biblical Paradigm entails that orientation toward God involves us in orientation toward the world.

The Christian must be fully involved in the world. The love of God must shine forth in our love for man. Only the Christian can be a fully humanist, a person who wishes to humanize the world, but we are not 'nothing' but a humanist, for we also wish to bring glory and honor to the God of creation and incarnation by worship of God and witness to the world. The two orientations, to the world and to God, however, constitute a dialectical unity for man; they imply each other. Disregard for either orientation results in alienation. We become alienated we live exclusively in the world or exclusively in God! Being-man is a task to be accomplished, but a task of a contingent free subject. Precisely because man is contingent, there is no temporal guarantee that he will execute this task as he ought. That's why he must always be ready to subject himself to criticism, to evaluate what he is doing and why. Now criticism and evaluation (rationality) can only be made in the light' of an interpretative paradigm. (Man now lives in an Information/Media culture and seeks appropriate behavior response from influence rather than argument. WE live in a visibility rather than an audibility culture (see my Dancing The Dark: Communication in a Visibility Culture)

 

The central question, of course, is which paradigm/principles/world-view/presupposition? Pluralism derives from the absence of an ultimate centrallizing paradigm (cf. Secularistic humanistic, desacralized, pluralistic, relativistic culture; the demise of transcendence - only Immanence remains). Merleau-Ponty sees biblical expressions of alienation; for instance, "thy will be done;" "it is not possible to serve two masters," "my kingdom is not of this world," "one must lose his life to gain it." Such attitudes express for him that the Christian is not at home in the world. But for the authentic Christian these attitudes are merely expressions of the bypolarity of his existence; "God's will" for example, does not paralyze his efforts to humanize the world; on the contrary. God's will is precisely the reason why he wants to re-create and humanize the world. God's kingdom must be brought about in this world; it is not a kingdom that all of a sudden begins to alter this world. To mediate the "Love of God" and others as yourself is the only way to mediate this bipolarity to carry this mandate out entails that we address all injustices in this world. Merleau-Ponty's atheism can be effectively addressed only by a revitalized church that addresses the challenges of this world. We are pilgrims on a journey in our search for Truth and Values that enable man's self realization as the images and likeness of God. (cf. J. P. Sartre, Being and Nothingness (E.T. Philosophical Library, NY, 1953); Existentialism and Humanism (London: Metheun, 1948); The Devil and The Good Lord (NY: 1960). Maurice Merleau-Ponty, In Praise of Philosophy (North Western University Press, 1963); Phenomenology of  Perception (NY: Humanities Press, 1962); Sense and Nonsense (Northwestern University Press, 1964); Signs (Northwestern Univ Press, 1964); Luijpen, Phenomenology and Atheism (Duquesne University Press); Francis Jenson, "Atheisme et liberte" Lumiere et Vie, vol. 13, 1953.

 

In the history of Christian thought God has been made into a physical factor explaining the phenomena of nature. We have made "idols" and called them gods. Atheism is an ingredient of any belief that makes God sanction the social privileges of the few and keep the poor and oppressed in their appointed stations of servitude. Atheism rejects the god who guarantees the morality of the establishment by acting as its celestial policeman; a god who prevents man from being the source of meaning. The god who is the supreme craftsman, the super-economist, the super physician, the super psychiatrist and the super farmer is gone forever.

The only God who can still make sense to modern man is a God who transcends this world altogether, who is not a substitute for man's ignorance of the world, not a crutch to lean on for the fulfillment of our worldly needs. We must acknowledge that the atheistic rejection of God was a reaction to a faulty conception of God by those who believe in him. Generally speaking, these atheists rejected a god who prevents man from being himself as a pursuer of science, a social being, a cultural being, a moral being. Only the Biblical paradigm adequately addresses these charges against God! The challenge of our post modern witness is to remove these objectionable features. Ultimately the question is—Does God exist? If so, what kind of God? The proof for God's existence has stood the tests of the modern paradigm. The modern paradigm has also failed to demonstrate the bad faith of unbelievers (contra the methodology of Evangelical presuppositionalism, Gordon dark, Carl F. H. Henry, et al). "Age of Reason," Middle Ages, Aquinas' Five Ways (ST II, q.2, a.3) did riot conclude that God's existence is proven; Anselm's ontological argument is mainly about words; none of the classic proofs deduced that "God exists." Here comes the Death of God in all parimeters of reality; Classical Liberalism was based on the paradigm of Positivistic Philosophy of Science; Neo-orthodoxy merely bypassed the threat of science to the Christian paradigm.

 

Existentialism/Romanticism/Phenomenology were revolts against the humanistic explanatory system of Science.

 

What does one mean when he calls on the name of God? That there are believers is a matter of fact, just as it also is a matter of fact that there are musicians and artists. Who or what is this "being" that we pray to and worship? God is a subject, not an object, though He becomes a subject by chance in the incarnation. God is often expressed by such statements such as:

 

1. God gives us a child                                          7. God gives me wealth

2. God makes me healthy                                  8. God punishes evil

3. God makes the sun rise and set        9. God intervenes in history

4. God makes the sea roar                                10. God rewards and punishes

5. God gives us victory in battle             11. God leads us out of Egypt

6. God sends poverty

 

God cannot be exhausted by any such list (cf. Anthony Flew's parable, "Theology and Falsification" New Essays in Philosophical Theology (eds. Flew and Maclntyre, SCM Press: London 1969, pp. 96-99). Upon finding a beautiful bed of flowers that are found in the midst of a forest, the explorer says, "A gardener must have been at work here." His companion doubts it but is willing to verify his statement. The gardener is not visible, so he must be invisible! How would one verify such a claim? We are on the way to the "Verification Principle and Linguistic Analysis as an influence).

 

Can theological words—forms of stating and describing—explain something about God? (Coming of Analogy) And if we can make no true statements about God, then does God really exist? "Nothing in objective reality," but at most "something in subjectivity" (Kierkeggard/ Schleiermacher, Hegel), "Something objective or Something subjective" "Speaking of God is speaking of man," could indeed be accused of subjectivism. But today these, who following Bultmann and Heidegger, make this assertion certainly do not conceive the "self", man's subjectivity, as an isolated "self." Self-understanding is the understanding of the existent subject.; in other words, of a subject who is himself only in unity with what is not the subject, viz., the body, the world, the other. If a physicist speaks of the world of physics, his speaking is at the same time a speaking of himself because the "speaker" is the unity of the reciprocal implication of the subjectivity "and" the world. For the subject "and" would constitute a unity of reciprocal implications.

 

The Post Modern mind holds that all theological and metaphysical statements are meaningless (A. J. Ayers, et al, analytic philosophers). These type of statements are meaningless because they refer to "something" beyond verification (both Theism and Agnosticism are meaningless) (A. J. Ayers, Language, Truth, and Logic (Dover, NY: pp. 114ft). Conclusions about God's existence are decided by presuppositions of "Verification" before discussion (Descartes' Mind/Body - God becomes the body in itself, the world in itself. God in himself; also Scholastic philosophy via Aristotle (Gabriel Marcel claimed that classical "theodicy" is God in himself, man in himself); Subject and predicate "I" "is" - for me, for us, never is in itself.

 

In a scientific system the affirmation of God as cause simply represents God as the first cause in a series of causes considered in the sciences. God is then reduced to a cause; He is no longer transcendent in any true sense of the term. Some hold that all metaphysical dimensions are degenerations of man's authentic metaphysical dimensions {a iS objectivistic, scientific and idealistic interpretation of metaphysics). Is metaphysics always reducible to anthropology? Contingency asks, Why is there something rather than nothing? (Why? What exists?) No finite being is self-explanatory! Multiple beings - total identity on oneness (cf. one and the many). Single beings share in something identical! There is no escape from my experience! Self-caused experiences must be by virtue of something else.

 

Contingent beings refer not to themselves but by virtue of something else. Being contingent is the same as being caused. Now, this means that the whole universe has no sufficient reason for its being itself (contra Evolutionary Paradigm - order, reason, logic, are statically caused results. This original affirmation is the transcendence of the affirmation of being, when he experiences this original transcendence of being it is reasonable that the Christian exclaims "God" of foundation of finite being. God transcends judgment in which God occurs as a subject to whom a predicate is ascribed. God is—is blasphemous if God's transcendence is replaced by statements like:

 

1. The gynecologist gives me a child

2. The President gives me victory in battle

3. A virus is the cause of my illness

4. Taxes produce wealth and/or poverty (Hamilton and Altizer, Radical Theology and The Death of God (NY, 1966, preface, p. x)

 

Belief must have a rational justification. I cannot deny myself (deify) or any other worldly reality because none of them are a sufficient reason for their own existence. In this way the "proof" eliminates the danger that I will raise any worldly reality to the rank of God or reduce to a worldy reality. No scientific proof analysis exhausts the statement that I love my wife or that I love God. Proofs of God's existence is not entirely useless or meaningless (Language Games of Linguistic Analysis have meaning only within a paradigm; therefore no transcendent or cross paradigm communication. All paradigms are locked in the Language Game).

 

Van Buren attempts to express what the "depth" in human existence is in principle. Meaningless: this derives from the positivistic/empirical spirit of the age (Secular Meaning of The Gospel (London, 1963, Pp. 68ff.) In our post modern world we must not disregard science. This in intolerable!! Man cannot be reduced to an "ingredient" of the sciences. Van Buren is thinking of man as an ingredient of the sciences and asking himself what the name "God" can possibly still mean here (ibid., pp. 68ff.) Once this paradigm is granted, his question is, of course, very legitimate, but the crucial point is whether his paradigm is itself adequate. Surely the judgment of Ogden stems from his paradigm of the scientific method that has been displaced by the development in the "hard sciences." Ogden says that the demand to demythologize which necessarily arises from modern man's situation, must be accepted without qualification (cf. Christ Without Myth, London, 1962, p. 148).

 

The situation of modern man includes the absolutism of the scientific and technological attitudes. Now, one who sees the limitations of the absolutism simply cannot make the situation of modern man without qualification. The norm of what is considered relevant or irrelevant with respect to Mr. Ogden's psycho-diagnostic model was created by man. Thus man becomes merely an "ingredient" of science. The reductionism has devastating cultural implications. Modern man is lost in his paradigm. Therefore he has no hope of becoming authentic man. What hope is there in the post modern/post Christian era?

 

If language about God does not have a purely stating, descriptive and explanatory meaning the question must be asked - Is mythical language (Myth and Metaphor - Earth's aufknupfungspundt (point of contact) and neo-orthodox) the only language about God that can be used? Even if this is true, Bultmann's program of demythologization may not be absolutized and understood as a demand to eliminate all myths from our speaking of God. He only objected to false interpretation of the myths, in particular, those interpretations which conceive myths as scientific or historical explanation (cf. attempt to recover mythological language in God talk, see G. Gusdorf, Mythe et Metaphysique (Paris, 1964, pp. l8lff).

 

Can "God" have no other meaning than that of a logical operation? But the primacy of logic over existence deprived the latter of all depth. The same applies to scientism or positivistic theory of science. As soon as man is reduced to a mere ingredient of the sciences, all depth is at once removed from his existence. The use of mystical stories to speak about God presupposes the rehabilitation of what Husserl calls the "life world." It is in this "life world" that the "depth" in human existence in which man calls the "God" becomes visible (see Gusdorf, ibid., p. 181ft.)

Myths can be destructive. They can push man down a road without exit or leading to his destruction. They might demand a 'depth' that does not exist and demand a surrender that cannot be justified. That is why the mythical consciousness must be placed under the control of a critical paradigm. This critical paradigm is the Judaeo/Christian world/life perspective. All criticism stands are false in the interpretative power of its paradigm. There is no presuppositionaless (absolute criticism) evaluation of reality. All cultures/thinkers operate with paradigms, but all paradigms do not have interpretative power to order reality. But reality will be ordered or disordered depending on the consequences of a given paradigm (cf. A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic (Dover, NY); J. A. Robinson, Honest to God (London, 1963); M. Heidegger, Essays in Metaphysics (NY, 1960); T. J. Altizer, Wm. Hamilton, Radical Theology and The Death of God (NY, 1966); Paul Van Buren, The Secular Meaning of The Gospel (London, 1963).

 

VI.   Demise of Classical Theory of Logic; From two valued to multiple valued logic (collapse of universal-rationality (see my Theories of Logic)

 

VII.   Evolutionary Model of Language, Truth, and Logic: If Language is an evolutionary deposit then ultimate reality is not grounded in the universal reason(s) or logic that supports rational discourse.

 

VIII. Media as a Dominate Power in our Post Christian/Modern World: We live in an information society that assumes that the mind is reduced to the brain and the brain to a computer analogue.

 

IX. Death to Positivism: Demise of the presupposition of autonomous Scientific Models of Truth Claims.

 

X. Lessing's Ugly Ditch: Historicity of all history and the rise of Historicism, Secularism, Humanism, Relativism, Desacralization (see my paper, "Changing Paradigms of Historical Truth Claims" and consequences for the Christian Faith).

 

XI. Paradigmatic Revolution in Ethical Theory; Loss of Transcendence in Ethical Discussion:

 

1. Judaeo/Christian Ethics grounded in the nature of the creator/redeemer God.

2. Graeco/Roman Natural Law and Theory of Ethics.

3. Roman Catholic Canon Law/Ethics.

4. Christian World View and Ethics.

5. The 18th-20th Century demise of transcendent explanation of origin and justification of Ethics (ethics in Theism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Atheism, Polytheism, Post Christian culture).

6. Grounded in a changing god.

7. American Democratic Ethics: Jefferson said that ethics are grounded in Epicurius and Jesus.

8. From Ethics to Value Clarification.

9. Ethical Relativism: There are no absolute or objective standards of moral prescription.

10. Shapers of Post Christian Ethics (Hegel, 1770-1837).

 

Bibliography

 

(Basic Books, 1975), pp. 137-140. Macmtyre. Alasdair. Secularization and Moral Change (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 48-49). Rorty, Richard, Philosophy and The Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), chapter 7. Davidson, Donald, "On The Very Idea of A Conceptual Scheme," Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 47 (1973-1974): 7. Hauerwas, Stanley, Character and The Christian Life (San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 1975). Murdoch, Iris, The Sovereignty of God (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970). Bambrough, Renford, Moral Scepticism and Moral Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979).

The following four books are mentioned in Alister McGraths' work (2002), A Scientific Theology: Reality. Volume 2 (of 3 volumes) (Wm. B. Eerdmans): Jose Lopez and Garry Potter, Editors (2001) After Postmodernism: An Introduction to Critical Realism (Athlone Press);

Gianni Vattimo (1991), The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern Culture (Parallax: Re-Visions of Culture and Society) (Johns Hopkins University Press, reprint edition); Calvin 0. Schrag (1992). The Resources of Rationality: A Response to the Postmodern Challenge (Studies in Continental Thought (Indiana University Press); Alvin J. Schmidt, Under The Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Press, 2001 (to be the lecturer for the Strauss Lectures in 2003).

 

David S. Dockery & Gregory A. Thombury, editors. Shaping A Christian Worldview. The Foundations of Christian Higher Education (Broadman and Homan Publishers: Nashville, TN, 2002).

 

John Piper, Justin Taylor, Paul K. Helseth, editors. Beyond The Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity (A crucial issue in 2003) Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003).

 

David K. Clark, To Know and Love God. Foundations of Evangelical Theology/Method for Theology (Wheaton, EL: Crossway Books, 2003).

 

J.P. Moreland & William L. Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: mterVarsity Press, 2003).

 

James D. Strauss