Western Story and WorldviewMichael GoheenIDIS 102, TWU
Romans 12.1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is true worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Living at the Crossroads
Overview of Western worldviewLast 200 years or so Western culture shaped by modern humanism (modernity)Recent developments:Challenged by postmodern humanism (postmodernity)Modern humanism as global phenomenon (globalization)
Overview of lectures on modernity Examine modern humanismDeweys confessionTwo diagramsWay we label historical erasBrief definitionLook at western story and development of modern humanismExamine postmodern humanist challenge and global spread of modern humanism
Incomparably the most urgent missionary task for the next few decades is the mission to modernity... It calls for the use of sharp intellectual tools, to probe behind the unquestioned assumptions of modernity and uncover the hidden credo which supports them...
- Lesslie Newbigin
Deweys Confession: Secular affirmation First, there is a transfer of interest from the eternal and universal to what is changing and specific, concretea movement that showed itself practically in carrying over of attention and thought from another world to this, from the supernaturalism characteristic of the Middle Ages to delight in natural science, natural activity and natural intercourse.
Deweys Confession: Affirmation concerning science Secondly, there is the gradual decay of authority . . . and a growing belief in the power of individual minds guided by methods of observation, experiment, and reflection, to attain the truths needed for the guidance of life.
Deweys Confession: Progress affirmation In the third place, great store is set upon the idea of progress. The future rather than the past dominates the imagination. The Golden Age lies ahead of us not behind us. Everywhere new possibilities beckon and arouse courage and effort. . . Man is capable, if he will but exercise the required courage, intelligence and effort, of shaping his own fate.
Deweys Confession: Affirmation concerning technology In the fourth place, the patient and experimental study of nature, bearing fruit in inventions which control nature and subdue her forces to social uses, is the method by which progress is made. Knowledge is power . . .
Gods of our age (Walsh and Middleton)Scientism: Legs of IronTechnicism: Bronze of PowerTechnicism: Silver of profitEconomism: The Golden Head
Where did these terms come from?Middle ages (5th-14th century)Renaissance (14th century)Enlightenment (18th century)
What is the hero of the story?
What? Rationalistic humanism
Eras of Western story7th c. BC - 5th c. AD5th-14th c. AD14thc.-todayEmerged 20th c.
Dictionary definitions: Positive or negative designations?Classic: of the highest class; most representative of the excellence of its kind; having recognized worthModern: up to date; not old fashioned, antiquated, obsoleteMedieval: historical era; outdated
Another way to designate eras:What if the gospel were the hero of the story?
Western Faith:Rationalistic (Modern) HumanismAutonomous man is capable of defining the world (Creator) and solving problems of world and bring about a new world of freedom, prosperity, justice, and truth (Redeemer) with his own rational resources.
IdolatryIdol: Good part of creationMakes into a kind of godBrings rest of creation into service of invented god
Western Idols in Modern HumanismHumanism: Humans replace God as creator and saviourRationalism: Capability of reason alone to know the truthScientism: Only science can verify true knowledge; enables us to control world to save usTechnicism: Technology can save us from our problemsEconomism: All other aspects of human life serve the economic dimension Secularism: Material world is all that exists
Historical Development ofRationalistic HumanismRoots in pagan/classical period (to 5th c.)Preserved in medieval synthesis (5th-14th c.)Re-emerged at Renaissance (14th-15th c.)Salted by gospel at Reformation (15th c.)Given tremendous thrust forward in Scientific Revolution (16th-17th c.)Came to mature expression in Enlightenment (18th c.)Given social embodiment in social, industrial, and political revolutions (19th, 20th c.)Under attack today (late 20th, 21st c.)