I’ve been discussing the thirteenth shift in thinking that came about during the Enlightenment and that shapes us to this day. Unfortunately, all these shifts had negative consequences for people of faith. For several weeks now I’ve been looking at the shift from facts to values in many areas of knowledge. This shift has had dire consequences in theology. I’ll offer three examples. I’m sure you can think of more.
Tag: Fact/Value Dichotomy
Historical “knowledge” was not the only casualty of the Enlightenment. Knowledge of moral and philosophical truth fared no better. I’ll outline how this led to our modern assumptions concerning what we can or cannot know about what is good, true, and beautiful.
A thirteenth shift in thinking that came about during the Enlightenment has surfaced many times in my posts. In fact, a day does not go by that we do not see this new way of thinking bubble up in conversations, news reports, editorials, books, and everywhere else we turn. I am speaking of the way we now assume there is a difference between “facts” and “values” and between “reason” and “faith.” But this has not always been the case.
(I’m interrupting my series on Predestination vs. Free Will to share some thoughts on the events of the past few weeks.) The horrific murder of George Floyd once again causes us to stop and ask hard questions about our culture. As Christians we are called to be agents of peace, truth, and justice. But doing so requires an understanding of how to think Christianity about this responsibility in our current cultural moment.
“It is more reasonable to believe only in what I can see. Therefore I only believe physical things exist, not souls, values, God, or anything else immaterial.” This is a third assumption undergirding the “Science or Faith” narrative that is so prevalent in our time. However, as was true for the first two assumptions, this third assumption has at least three fatal flaws, and therefore should be rejected. I have addressed each of these in detail previously, and so in this blog, I will only touch on the three responses and link to the fuller explanations.
A second assumption underlying the apparent conflict between science and faith is, “I should only believe what I can prove with certainty and therefore know to be true. This is only true of science. So I choose science over faith.” When we look more closely at this assumption, it turns out to be equally false.
We often hear that “science is at war with religion,” a story that has been around since the “Enlightenment.” However, it is the wrong story, because the story is based on at least three wrong assumptions. One wrong assumption is that “Science is about facts and Christianity is about faith, and facts win.” Last week I discussed one reason why this assumption is wrong. This week I offer two more reasons to reject this assumption.
It is not uncommon to hear that one must choose between science and faith. However, for those of us who love science and also love Christ, we wonder if there is not a third way. There is. Science and faith. Once we uncover the underlying assumptions of the “science or faith” narrative, it is easy to see why these assumptions are wrong. That’s my goal in this series.
Last week I noted the first wrong assumption behind this “conflict” narrative is the assumption that “Science is about facts and Christianity is about faith, and facts win.” This week I will discuss one of three reasons this assumption is wrong.
2017 ended with a bang—a barrage of sexual harassment charges against Harvey Weinstein and so many others. I call these men “Weinstein et al.” In my last post, I explained that their accusers (rightly) assume Weinstein et al. have violated an objective moral value, and therefore what they did was Wrong. This week I’ll explain why we must be consistent in our ethic, applying this same reasoning to similar moral issues. Otherwise our rebuke of Weinstein et al. is hollow, and our inconsistency is the “Achilles heel” of our quest for human flourishing and the common good.