Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Reason, Logic, and Christianity

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Reason, Logic, and Christianity

    This is a split off from another thread.

    I'd like to explain my position a bit better by quoting something from an article I wrote - it explains my view of how humans come to knowledge:

    There is one view that began during the Reformation, but has been revived and popularized in the modern day which can possibly solve the problems raised by Pascal and Descartes. Reformed epistemology teaches that knowledge and the ability to reason toward truth is an innate concept placed within man by God. While Descartes taught that man’s reasoning would ultimately lead to an understanding of absolutes and Pascal taught man’s reasoning was fallen, Reformed epistemology teaches that, though fallen, man’s ability to reason is not totally lost and can lead to an understanding of truth.

    Alvin Plantinga, the modern day proponent of Reformed epistemology, has stated that the cornerstone for such thinking is that the belief in God is basic in all humans, which drives the way they view the world[1]. Since all men are created in the image of God, and since all men have an innate desire to know God, it can therefore be concluded that God placed a way to know Him (truth) within all men. Reasoning, under Reformed epistemology, no longer becomes a tool used and invented by man, but instead becomes a tool that God uses to help man communicate with Him that man sometimes fails to use properly. Views that deny the one true God are not rational, but are ultimately irrational. The more rational a person is, in Reformed Epistemology, the closer to God he is[2]. Since man has the innate desire to know God, man has the innate ability to reason.

    Reformed epistemology accepts two types of knowledge, much as Pascal did, but with certain reservations: the natural and the supernatural. As Brian Follis writes, “Calvin speaks of a double knowledge: the ‘simple and primitive knowledge to which the mere course of nature would have conducted us, had Adam stood upright’ and the saving knowledge revealed through Scripture that focuses upon the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty due to us, by which ‘salvation was obtained for us by his righteousness’[3].” According to Calvin, the natural view is what man was to be guided by from the beginning, but this view was tarnished by the Fall. God must then reveal Himself in creation in order to enlighten man to the natural view that was apparent from the beginning. Therefore, man can know the physical world through the natural sciences, but he can also understand the supernatural world through his ability to reason and also to interpret the signs within the natural universe.

    Some would object and say that Calvin believed in the total depravity of man and was thus incapable of supporting any form of rationality, but this objection is wrong. Though Calvin taught that man was fallen, he taught that only in a spiritual sense – his relationship to God – was man totally fallen; man’s ability to reason was damaged, but still remained intact and useful[4]. Though Pascal taught man’s reasoning was fallen, Calvin taught man’s ability to understand true reasoning was damaged, but still useful, even to the point of salvation[5]. Man was, therefore, not only able to know truth, but has truth instilled in him from his birth. Calvin taught that man’s understanding of this truth would be incomplete, but it would still exist.

    Finally, Reformed epistemology teaches a concept that both Descartes and Pascal missed – all truth, knowledge, and reasoning extends from God and not from within man. Descartes taught that man could know truth under his own power and Pascal taught man could only look at truth blindly. Reformed epistemology teaches that all truth comes from God and is naturally revealed within man due to God’s grace[6]. Reformed epistemologists tend to take John 14:6 quite seriously in teaching that all truth comes from Christ, thus truth can be known experientially and propositionally. Most importantly, however, is that subjectivity within truth is eliminated within Reformed epistemology. Descartes taught that man could only know things absolutely that could be defined physically or mathematically. Reformed epistemology teaches that man can know anything through his ability to reason, which was given to him by God. Pascal taught that man could not reason properly due to the Fall, thus what might be sinful to one person could be permissible to another. Reformed epistemology teaches that there is a way to know what a sin (an offense to God) is and what is merely unwise for a person (a non-sin). Overall, reformed epistemology acknowledges that God is sovereign over all things, including truth, and placed this truth within man.

    ___________________________________

    [1] J.P. and Craig Moreland, William Lane, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2003), 162.

    [2] This is not based on intellectualism or rationalism as the term is much different than in those two beliefs. Instead, what is being implied is that true rationality comes from God and is not from man. Thus, any claim that is made outside of what God has revealed is ultimately irrational, no matter how rational man might make it attempt to appear.

    [3] Brian Follis, Truth With Love: Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2006), 22.

    [4] Ibid. 20

    [5] Calvin did not teach that one could rationalize oneself to salvation - this would have gone against his soteriological viewpoint. He did teach, however, that God can use the mind in order to break down presuppositions and bring a person to truth.

    [6] Edward J. Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: WMB. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1948), 56.

    Now we must ask a few questions: What does it mean to reason, what is the role of reason in salvation, how do reason and revelation work, and what does the Scripture say about reason?

    I - What it is to reason

    First and foremost, there are two different understandings about reason in the modern age. Even for those that de-emphasize reason, they will still hold onto these two different views. The first one is called internalistic reasoning, or structural/coherent reasoning. In this view, we reason in order to discover what is truth within our own society. Thus, we determine what is and is not true, we declare what is and is not logical outside the realm of hard science. If society dictates that it is logical to prevent murder, then this is 'reasonable' to that society.

    On the other hand, the second view is must more pre-modern. This view teaches that reason helps us to understand the Truth that is already out there. Man's reason is faulty and imperfect, thus can lead man in the wrong direction. At the same time, this reason can also lead humans to an understanding of morality that is universal and outside of the cultural context. This is called externalism or foundationalism. It teaches there are certain beliefs about the world that are properly basic and, in light of this, humans can interact with this universal Truth. Reason, therefore, is not something we created, but instead instead is something that is innate within the human mind, as natural as the ability to taste, hear, or smell (and just like the physical counterparts, is subject to functioning improperly).

    Therefore, reason is not necessarily something that we start, but is merely a way we understand the world around us. This doesn't lead to a perfect understanding, but does provide a rational medium for most human experiences.

    II - The role of reason in the life of the believer

    What, then, does reasoning play in the life of the believer? I believe that it aids us in salvation somewhat, but is more vital for growing in our Christian walk and understanding of God:

    1) Reason aids in Salvation - the important word to note is the word "aids." This shows it is merely a part of the salvation experience, but does not encompass it or necessarily play a major role. For some it might be an act of reasoning that removes all intellectual barriers so that the Holy Spirit can deal with that person. For others, it might be an encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus, where very little reasoning was involved. Thus, the amount of reason in initial act of salvation is extremely subjective to the individual, with the only absolute being that reason cannot be the total sum of the salvation experience (for this would leave out an actual experience), but cannot be totally absent either.

    For instance, even if one were to have an encounter with Christ or to see an image of a man on the Cross, one would have to accept (even if subconsciously) that such an experience is valid. A person on LSD that sees purple elephants might, for the moment, believe that there is actually a purple elephant in the room. Once the high leaves the person, however, she will no longer think it is valid to believe there is a purple elephant in the room. Alternatively, however, when Paul experienced Christ on the road to Damascus he continued to believe in what he had experienced even after the experience had passed. This shows that he reasoned - again, it could have been subconsciously - that he had an actual encounter with a real being.

    In order to accept an experience as valid, we simply have to reason, even if this reason is minimal. We have to assume the proposition that, "What I just experienced is actually real" if that experience is to have any effect on our lives. Much like the blind man healed by Jesus, we may not know all the inner workings of what happened, but we can reason that something actually happened to us.

    At the same time, we must be careful not to say that reason saves us. To use an example by Peter Kreeft, reason is the boat that takes us across the river of doubt, but it takes faith to leap off the boat once it has hit the shore. There must be an acceptance of this faith that is based on propositional Truth, but not propositional. After all (to use Kreeft again), no one proposes in propositions, yet there is a propositional truth behind all proposals. Likewise, we must acknowledge we are entering into a relationship that is more than reason, but is based on Truth.

    2) Reason aids in our walk with Christ - once again, the important word here is 'aids.' Even when walking in faith, Christianity is not purely rational, but depends upon the Holy Spirit to change our reasoning. This does not negate, however, that Christians are supposed to be reasonable people once accepting Christ.

    A child may not understand how a train works, but the train will enthrall him nonetheless. An engineer, however, will know all the inner workings of the train, but still be impressed. How much more, then, is a Christian's view of God? God is both transcendent and immanent. This means that a new-born Christian may not understand as much about theology as someone that has studied it for 30 years, but both can love God with the same fervor and both still view God as a mystery.

    It is a mistake to think that by studying God we will figure Him out. Rather, we study God and His commands just to get a tiny grasp on who He is and what He wants us to do - we have knowledge of God, but this knowledge is far from comprehensive. We often forget that God is infinite and, therefore, no matter how hard we try we will never comprehend Him. This is important for both the theologian and layperson to understand: It shows there shouldn't be any fear in studying theology, because there is always something new to discover, but one shouldn't become haughty in it either because God can elude us no matter how studied we are.

    Instead, one must rely on the Holy Spirit for illumination in these matters. Though we are called to use our minds, we are also called to conform our minds to Christ. This would indicate that illumination and reasoning actually go hand in hand and are not diametrically opposed to each other (as many Christians sadly believe). Rather, one uses one's reason, but asks the Holy Spirit to illuminate the knowledge to that one.

    III - The function of reason and revelation

    Some might be curious as to how one can reason when our reasoning is faulty. After all, we are told not to lean not unto our own understanding. We are told that the wisdom of God is foolishness to man, that our thoughts are not the Lord's thoughts, and so on. It seems the Bible would rather us trust in God rather than reason about what He has to say.

    The above would stand true if the first definition of reason given were the actual definition. However, due to the second definition we are allowed to acknowledge there is a fallibility within our faculty of reason.

    The Bible tends to teach a dual concept for understanding - natural understanding and Divinely illuminated understanding. The natural understanding teaches that reasoning is something that was implanted in humans from the beginning of creation, that we can know God through His creation. It also teaches that such reasoning is faulty and that we have often ignored it in order to partake in a lie (due to our sinful desires). Thus, we are also told that the Lord illuminates all knowledge to humans when they seek after Him. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of all knowledge. If one wishes to have proper reasoning, then one must seek after Him.

    This works well within Reformed Epistemology. RE teaches that there is a design plan within all humans that is aimed toward truth with the probability of obtaining truth. This fits in perfectly with the Bible, showing that God wants us to know Him through nature and the physical world. At the same time, RE also teaches that we are fallen creatures and, therefore, will not always willingly follow this design plan aimed toward truth.

    Sin, therefore, would cause the human mind to function improperly (another component in RE). In light of this, a mind functioning improperly is not a mind that can gain knowledge. It is in this improper function that we are to seek God and begin to conform to Him so that we might function properly. It is through illumination caused by sanctification that the Christian mind begins to function in a proper fashion that allows a believer to grow.

    IV - Scriptural support

    Romans 1 - almost the entire chapter teaches that God has been known since the beginning of creation and that He has created humans with the ability to know. Unfortunately, as Romans 1 states, we have willingly traded His truth in for a lie because of our perverse nature, showing that we chose to be irrational creatures.

    Proverbs 1:7 - this shows that in order to gain true knowledge one must fear the Lord first and foremost. This means one must acknowledge His place as the creator of the human mind and, therefore, the redeemer of it as well.

    Proverbs 2:6 - this is a passage that supports an external epistemology, showing that God is the one that illuminates knowledge onto humans, rather than knowledge coming from within. We can say knowledge comes from within if we mean this loosely, but we must ultimately acknowledge that God implanted this knowledge in us due to His design plan for the mind.

    1 Peter 3:15 - here Peter implores Christians to be ready to make a logical and evidenced defense (apologia) for the reason (logos) of Christianity.

    Matthew 22:37 - Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. When He says mind (dianoia) He is meaning our understanding, thoughts, and reason. This shows that reason does play an important part in the growth of a Christian (but, as this verse shows, it is not the biggest role, just a partial role).

    Romans 12:2 - Paul shows that sanctification is more than our actions, but extends into our reasoning abilities and thought processes.

    Romans 8:6 - Paul points out that there are two minds; one of sin and one of life. Note that he says mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life. He does not say that once one has become a Christian, one has given up reasoning or given up one's mind - rather, one's reasoning is in the process of sanctification.



    There are many other passages that show how God is known through creation, but also how He must interact and change our minds. However, the above should suffice for showing that the Bible supports the role of reason in the life of the believer.

    Questions?

  • #2
    One cannot reason himself to God AK. Who was one of the smartest men in the NT? How did he come to God?

    Though if a man has a pure heart, his reason will aid him in coming to grips with what God is trying to say to him. It is the word of God that has power.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post
      One cannot reason himself to God AK. Who was one of the smartest men in the NT? How did he come to God?

      Though if a man has a pure heart, his reason will aid him in coming to grips with what God is trying to say to him. It is the word of God that has power.
      I thought I made it clear that reason alone can't bring someone to God:

      At the same time, we must be careful not to say that reason saves us. To use an example by Peter Kreeft, reason is the boat that takes us across the river of doubt, but it takes faith to leap off the boat once it has hit the shore. There must be an acceptance of this faith that is based on propositional Truth, but not propositional. After all (to use Kreeft again), no one proposes in propositions, yet there is a propositional truth behind all proposals. Likewise, we must acknowledge we are entering into a relationship that is more than reason, but is based on Truth.

      Now, to say that reason doesn't bring us to God or doesn't aid in it, we would have to discredit quite a few conversion stories.

      As for the smartest person in the NT? Christ Himself - He was the source of Truth in person.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
        I thought I made it clear that reason alone can't bring someone to God:

        At the same time, we must be careful not to say that reason saves us. To use an example by Peter Kreeft, reason is the boat that takes us across the river of doubt, but it takes faith to leap off the boat once it has hit the shore. There must be an acceptance of this faith that is based on propositional Truth, but not propositional. After all (to use Kreeft again), no one proposes in propositions, yet there is a propositional truth behind all proposals. Likewise, we must acknowledge we are entering into a relationship that is more than reason, but is based on Truth.


        Thing is, I don't agree fully with this statement. I'll explain why below.

        Now, to say that reason doesn't bring us to God or doesn't aid in it, we would have to discredit quite a few conversion stories.
        Agreed. It can aid in it, though it is not necessary.

        As for the smartest person in the NT? Christ Himself - He was the source of Truth in person.
        Good answer. But I was referring to Paul. All his reasoning did nothing to show him who Jesus was. It actually prevented it. When Jesus did show up, he told Paul, "Why do you persecute me". Paul responded "Who are you?" He believed before he even knew who. That's the point.

        Why doesn't reason always work? Because mankind is willingly ignorant. If you show me a person with an honest heart, one that is seeking God, reason will have an impact. Show me someone that doesn't seek God and has no desire for real truth, and I will show you someone that suppresses the truth in their heart and chooses to believe a lie rather than the truth.

        God speaks of revelation in scripture. For instance, a lost man, using reason can teach from the bible. He can dissect language with the best of them. But can he really teach from the word with power and might and in revelation knowledge?

        There is a place for reason. But there is a much greater place for preaching not in wisdom, but in power and might. Here's another way of putting it...

        How does one understand the parables? Can he do so through reason alone? No! For God specifically hid the meaning from those that would use reason! So we search it out, not only with reason, but with the Holy Spirit as well.

        But cutting to the chase, it seems you are asking the question, what must one know before he can be saved. I say nothing. For when God shows up, as he did with Paul, all paradigns shift. IOW, I am a much bigger fan of revelation or epiphany from the Holy Spirit than I am a fan of reason, though I do find reason very useful as long as it remains under the power of the Holy Spirit.

        1 Cor 1:26-31

        26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
        NASB

        I really don't think we are far apart, but I do think our difference is a major one. Perhaps I am wrong but we will see.
        Matt 9:13
        13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
        NASU

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post
          [/I]Thing is, I don't agree fully with this statement. I'll explain why below.



          Agreed. It can aid in it, though it is not necessary.



          Good answer. But I was referring to Paul. All his reasoning did nothing to show him who Jesus was. It actually prevented it. When Jesus did show up, he told Paul, "Why do you persecute me". Paul responded "Who are you?" He believed before he even knew who. That's the point.

          Why doesn't reason always work? Because mankind is willingly ignorant. If you show me a person with an honest heart, one that is seeking God, reason will have an impact. Show me someone that doesn't seek God and has no desire for real truth, and I will show you someone that suppresses the truth in their heart and chooses to believe a lie rather than the truth.

          God speaks of revelation in scripture. For instance, a lost man, using reason can teach from the bible. He can dissect language with the best of them. But can he really teach from the word with power and might and in revelation knowledge?

          There is a place for reason. But there is a much greater place for preaching not in wisdom, but in power and might. Here's another way of putting it...

          How does one understand the parables? Can he do so through reason alone? No! For God specifically hid the meaning from those that would use reason! So we search it out, not only with reason, but with the Holy Spirit as well.

          But cutting to the chase, it seems you are asking the question, what must one know before he can be saved. I say nothing. For when God shows up, as he did with Paul, all paradigns shift. IOW, I am a much bigger fan of revelation or epiphany from the Holy Spirit than I am a fan of reason, though I do find reason very useful as long as it remains under the power of the Holy Spirit.

          1 Cor 1:26-31

          26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
          NASB

          I really don't think we are far apart, but I do think our difference is a major one. Perhaps I am wrong but we will see.

          I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.

          Comment


          • #6
            The Bible tends to teach a dual concept for understanding - natural understanding and Divinely illuminated understanding. The natural understanding teaches that reasoning is something that was implanted in humans from the beginning of creation, that we can know God through His creation. It also teaches that such reasoning is faulty and that we have often ignored it in order to partake in a lie (due to our sinful desires). Thus, we are also told that the Lord illuminates all knowledge to humans when they seek after Him. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of all knowledge. If one wishes to have proper reasoning, then one must seek after Him.
            OK. Maybe this paragraph can be used to show more what I am speaking about. I do agree, in general, with what you wrote. Here is what I would make very, very clear... God is taking a very active role in teaching us. It is not our reason that teaches us but rather God himself. It is reason that is submitted to God that is capable of learning.

            An example I used earlier, a lost man can dissect scriptures. But will the Holy Spirit open his eyes and show him the mysteries? No. The mysteries do not come from reason, but rather from revelation.

            For instance, how did Author Pink know that Noah's ark was a type of Christ? How did John the Baptist know that Jesus was the Passover Lamb that would take away the sins of the world?

            When the donkey preached to Balaam, what was his world view prior to God miraculously intervening in his life?

            Now, reason can be used. But it's not just that God helps all men. It is far more relational than that. It is God personally blinding or healing the spiritual eyes of men depending on the condition of their heart.

            John 9:39-41
            39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
            NASB

            In other words, God will see to it that if we choose to neglect him, that we will be blind. It is why some of the great men of wonderful knowledge miss Him. While they are smart and highly educated, their reason leads them astray. I know you make a distinction and it is a distinction I agree with in part.

            Let me try another way. Paul, had a great mind. He was highly intelligent. John was a simple fisherman. Which of them had more understanding of God and what God was going to do? IMO, John for sure, and most likely Paul, were taken up into the third heaven. Were the things revealed to them revealed by reason? Or only by the power of God?

            Now, if you say John had to have some understanding of words, etc. in order to understand what God was saying, OK. I agree with that. It's just that reason is not what leads us to God. It is God himself that draws us and teaches us. God will use reason for some, as he did with Isaiah when he said "Come now, let us reason together. For though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow." But for others, he just bust their bubble.
            Matt 9:13
            13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
            NASU

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
              I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.
              I agree with the scriptures you posted AK. But I don't agree with the concept above them. That's the point I am making.

              Let me say it this way... God gives us light. When we respond correctly, he gives us more light. When we don't respond correctly, even that light he gave us is taken away. So again, it is our response to the knowledge of him, i.e. our hearts, not our heads that make knowing him possible. That, along with the power of the holy spirit.

              I am NOT saying reason doesn't play a necessary role in our life, either spiritual or physical. What I am saying is that it generally plays a greater role than does our faith and revelation. Unfortunately, that is to our loss.
              Matt 9:13
              13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
              NASU

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm assuming you had lunch today. When you ate, did God illuminate the taste of the food to you, or was it your taste buds, which are part of God's design plan that allow for you to taste?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believe reason has a very definite place in our conversion experience, and also in our discernment and "filtering" of what we are told is truth.

                  It isn't the whole deal in either, which is one way the Modernist methodology of evangelism and apologetics fails.

                  I think the modernist method has spent so much time trying to objectivize every part of Christianity using logic (make everything logically concrete, and therefore "absolute") that it has left out the very subjective emotional experiences each of us go through individually when coming to Christ, and in our Christian walk.

                  Which is one thing I believe the postmodern mindset is at least approaching correctly:
                  Making testimony and personal experience a larger part of witnessing and apologetics, taking over areas where only objective logic and the accompanying method of scriptural interpretation had previously dominated.

                  Not that logic can be entirely kicked out, or NOTHING would be concrete and absolute.

                  Rather it seems an attempt to bring the subjective and the objective closer to balance, bringing together reason and "the words on the page," with experience and "what is it saying to you".
                  Always give God credit first.

                  "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
                  -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

                  James 1:19

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
                    I believe reason has a very definite place in our conversion experience, and also in our discernment and "filtering" of what we are told is truth.

                    It isn't the whole deal in either, which is one way the Modernist methodology of evangelism and apologetics fails.

                    I think the modernist method has spent so much time trying to objectivize every part of Christianity using logic (make everything logically concrete, and therefore "absolute") that it has left out the very subjective emotional experiences each of us go through individually when coming to Christ, and in our Christian walk.

                    Which is one thing I believe the postmodern mindset is at least approaching correctly:
                    Making testimony and personal experience a larger part of witnessing and apologetics, taking over areas where only objective logic and the accompanying method of scriptural interpretation had previously dominated.

                    Not that logic can be entirely kicked out, or NOTHING would be concrete and absolute.

                    Rather it seems an attempt to bring the subjective and the objective closer to balance, bringing together reason and "the words on the page," with experience and "what is it saying to you".
                    I think the flaw is in assuming that apologetics is a modernistic thing in Christianity. Instead, we can trace apologetics to the first century.

                    The application of apologetics as a tool of evangelism, however, is certainly modernistic. Instead, apologetics is a defense mechanism to explain why we're Christians and works as a 'pre-evangelism' tool to break down intellectual barriers to accepting Christ. It does not, however, cause someone to be saved.

                    Postmodernism, alternatively, is a miserable failure because they rely on the Enlightenment definition of 'reason' and go from there, denying the objective truth within Christianity.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by apothanein kerdos
                      I think the flaw is in assuming that apologetics is a modernistic thing in Christianity. Instead, we can trace apologetics to the first century.

                      The application of apologetics as a tool of evangelism, however, is certainly modernistic. Instead, apologetics is a defense mechanism to explain why we're Christians and works as a 'pre-evangelism' tool to break down intellectual barriers to accepting Christ. It does not, however, cause someone to be saved.

                      Postmodernism, alternatively, is a miserable failure because they rely on the Enlightenment definition of 'reason' and go from there, denying the objective truth within Christianity.
                      What is the Enlightenment definition of reason?

                      While I do think the postmodern approach to language (deconstructionist) is flawed, I still think the Christian community has spent far too much time trying to logically sort out our system of belief, without spending nearly enough time acknowledging and studying the individual subjective experiences of believers.
                      Always give God credit first.

                      "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
                      -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

                      James 1:19

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
                        What is the Enlightenment definition of reason?

                        While I do think the postmodern approach to language (deconstructionist) is flawed, I still think the Christian community has spent far too much time trying to logically sort out our system of belief, without spending nearly enough time acknowledging and studying the individual subjective experiences of believers.
                        It was provided in the article:

                        First and foremost, there are two different understandings about reason in the modern age. Even for those that de-emphasize reason, they will still hold onto these two different views. The first one is called internalistic reasoning, or structural/coherent reasoning. In this view, we reason in order to discover what is truth within our own society. Thus, we determine what is and is not true, we declare what is and is not logical outside the realm of hard science. If society dictates that it is logical to prevent murder, then this is 'reasonable' to that society.

                        As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by apothanein kerdos
                          As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.
                          However, that lack of study has led to a general sentiment among scholars and laity alike that the whole Christian experience is objective.
                          Always give God credit first.

                          "Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
                          -Sir Toby, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

                          James 1:19

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
                            I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.
                            I was asking myself, "Why is this in the controversial section?" If reason is the antithesis of irrationality, I would think all Christians would be in favor of it.

                            AK, I would use this opportunity to tighten up your definitions in case there are any closet Van Till readers who might read your paper. It would appear as if the term "reason" has a connotation you didn't intend. As some have already said, reason might be an essential, necessary part of belief, but it isn't adequate by itself. As any Van Tillian will tell you, a person can not come to belief unless the Holy Spirit opens his eyes.

                            I don't agree with Van Till's Presuppositional Apologetics, but I think, in general, folks are right to point out, as you also have done, that the Holy Spirit must play a role in our coming to truth.

                            Perhaps if you switched to using the term "rational", this might help. The term "rational" will encompass reason, but will also include the intuition, the subjective experience, and the influence of the Holy Spirit: each of these being rational aspects of being human.

                            Disbelief has an irrational component due to the fact that the denial of the truth amounts to a suppression of it, living AS IF the contrary were true. The idea of "self-deception" boggles the mind if one thinks about the nature of deception. What is deception, if not the withholding of information from another person? And how can we withhold information from ourselves? Well, in our rationality, we can't. But in our capacity to be irrational, we can pretend to ourselves that we don't know something and act as if we lack that knowledge.

                            I believe Paul had this irrational process of the suppression of truth we already know to be true in mind when he penned the latter half of Romans the first chapter.

                            And so, disbelief isn't a lack of reason, but a moral problem with those who purposely think irrationally, unrighteously suppressing the truth.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
                              It was provided in the article:

                              First and foremost, there are two different understandings about reason in the modern age. Even for those that de-emphasize reason, they will still hold onto these two different views. The first one is called internalistic reasoning, or structural/coherent reasoning. In this view, we reason in order to discover what is truth within our own society. Thus, we determine what is and is not true, we declare what is and is not logical outside the realm of hard science. If society dictates that it is logical to prevent murder, then this is 'reasonable' to that society.

                              As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.
                              But our subjective experiences and thinking aren't any less rational than our empirical ones.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X