"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Samantha Shrugged

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I’ve been reading this really timeless piece from Touchstone magazine, this time considering the aspect of heresy or wrong thought, and how the human mind is so good at adopting heresy in place of a real understanding of God.

The particular twist in our present era is the post-modern assertion that objective truth does not exist, and that assertions of truth are ultimately all about trying to assert power over others.

Here’s a clip that talks about the place of truth (truth from science in this case):

Samantha: Yes, but what science says doesn’t matter.
Me: (silent, unsure of an appropriate response to such an assertion)
Samantha: Just because something is true doesn’t mean you have to believe it.
Me: Okay. (I write her last sentence on the board so it’s plain as day.) Are you sure that’s the argument you want to make to defend a right to abortion?
Samantha: Sure. I can go through my life denying what science says is true. I have that right.
Me: Yes, I guess you can. I can refuse to believe, for example, that the world is round. I can insist it’s flat.
Samantha: Exactly.

Now, I’ll be one of the first to assert that I’m not sure science is an arbiter of truth, at least not in the sense that I’m using. Science uses a controlled system of observation to validate hypotheses about the world. With much proof, time and the work of many, those hypotheses become theories which are then used to explain the why of the world around us. These form a type of truth, but it is always a truth that is transient and mutable.

However, if a person can dispense with a “truth” of science, what about the real truths in life, those absolute truths that guide our existence? If one can be so fundamentally irrational, I would not have high hopes that any more rigour in thought would come through on big issues like salvation or the question of evil.  (as one scientist said, “Science reserves the right to be proven wrong with each new morning”)

There is a problem of equal danger in today’s world, and that is the use of science to form dogma. The response to the leader of the Wildrose party asserting she did not believe the science on climate change was settled was interesting – she was mocked. Those who did the mocking, I’m certain, did not see the irony in their actions. She was guilty of a modern heresy, the denial of climate change, and that mocking was the treatment given to one who had not yet been ‘converted’ to the new religion. I’m sure the mockers would argue that they were on the side of science, and therefore reason and rationality…even while they were treating that science as something perfect and exact, in spite of the multitude of other voices. Finally, the ultimate irony is that those post-modern thinkers would respond with violence if anyone suggested they were wrong, since all truth has equal value (unless that truth is contrary to what everyone knows to be true, duh!).

NT Wright on the question of Greek philosophy and the culture into which Paul was preaching. There was no resurrection, and also a sharp divide between the perfect spiritual world, and the corrupt physical. We see this thought today in Gnosticism.


Written by sameo416

April 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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