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A Newsletter For Reformational Thought
Volume Eight, No.3
Reenchanting the World:
A Christian Project
by Nigel Douglas
Some thoughts on Morris Berman's The Reenchantment of the World
The purpose of this article is to bring into focus a tradition of critical understanding of the powerful forces of scientism and technologism in our modern society. Taking inspiration from the work of Morris Berman, Theodore Roszak, and Owen Barfield, it seeks to show how these writers help us to understand the way in which our experience of the world and of God has been, and continues to be, impoverished by the influence of these forces. Their conclusion suggests that it is necessary that we make a real choice between the narrowing of our experience under the influence of scientism or the search for a wider and more imaginative vision which would leave us more open to experience the richness, the wonder and the beauty of God in and through creation.
John Henry Newman claimed that for a belief to be credible, it must be so primarily to imagination.1 In a recent study of the history of modern theology John Kent suggested that it was just this inability of the Christian story to capture the modern ima-" gination that was leading to the decline in vitality and importance of our faith, writing, " ••• if Christianity is nearing the end of its main public line, this is because it has exhausted ways of keeping its images alive,"2 This incapacity of our imaginations to be captured--enchanted--by the Christian story, and the accompanying increaSing difficulty in belief, is too common to be ignored. The disappearance or attenuation of the experience of God is a key characteristic of modern western society, especially over the last hundted years (see for example the study on this by J. Hillis Miller in the experience of certain nineteenth century poets).3 Everywhere thoughtful, Christseeking men and women confess this difficulty: we do theology, as we live, writes Nicholas Lash, with Matthew Arnold on Dover beach, where we must be aware of "the paradox that counters Christian joy with the recognition that the world which lies
before us ••• has neither 'certitude, nor peace, nor help from pain,;"4 or perhaps we experience what Gerald Kanley Hopkins at one point expressed -a universe
••• like a lighted empty hall, where stands no host at door or hearth.
And if we are honest, then we know that these are not just problems of our age: they are our own problems. As we, following the psalmist, seek the face of Christ (Psalm 27:8-9), we can only be aware of how difficultalmost impossible--it is imaginatively to perceive the presence of our Lord in and through the humdrum routine of our everyday lives. This is our contemporary wasteland or desert-our inability to perceive the fountain of living waters (cf. Jeremiah 2:12-13).
Barfield and Roszak
Professor Berman's book, The Reencbantment of the World, is a worthy companion to important studies such as Owen Barfield's Saving the Appearances and Theodore Roszak's Where the Wasteland Ends5 which explore the way in which a scientistic worldview--an understanding of the world based on the prinCiples of Newtonian science--has slowly but profoundly driven out all other perceptions of the world and itself come to be seen not as a way of thinking about the world (a "saVing the appearances") but the way the world is.
It is important to record that neither Berman nor Barfield nor Roszak have any hostility towards scientific thinking as such. What they are pro~ testing about is the historical development by which the map--scientific thought--is confused with the territory--the world--so that we begin to experience the world in terms of an understanding derived from scientific thought: i.e. writing into our experience the belief that the world really is nothing but what science tells us it is. This protest is the basic thesis of Barfield's work cited above:
he claims that the momentous event of modern science was when the Copernican hypothesis was affirmed, not as an hypotheSiS, but as the absolute truth about the way things are--the· idea that "if a hypothesis saves all the
appearances, it is identical with truth. ··6 Western man today is so influenced by the claim that the world is what Newtonian science says it is that we simply experience it that way: that is, we tend to experience the world a~ (in Whitehead's description of the world left to us by Newtonian science) "a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying of material endlessly meaninglessly."7 According to Barfield, "Our collective representations were born when men began to take the models, whether geometrical or mechanical, literally."S The 'mechanistic' metaphor is an example of a way of understanding the world as quite detached from man. The image of the machine has so entered modern consciousness as
••• to deprive the phenomena of those last representational overtones--'last enchantments,' as Matthew Arnold called them--which still informed them in the Middle Ages, and to eliminate from them the last traces of original participation. In doing so he (man in the modern west) has produced ~he mechanomorphic collective representations which constitute the Western world today.9
Barfield's suggestion is that we have made an idol out of the scientific worldview:
••• a representation which is collectively mistaken for an ultimate ought not to be called a representation. It is an idol.IO
Readers of Roszak's Where the Wasteland Ends will remember that Roszak, influenced by Barfield, came to the same conclusion. He wrote of "desacralized nature, our nature, lacking sacramental transparency," by which he meant that modern man in the west has taken the world--understanding it as a closed mechanical system--to be ulti-
mate and self-contained. We have failed to recognise that this world is dependent on, and gives witness to, something beyond itself. Taking this image of self-contained nature to be the sole reality, we have made it
••• an idol, an objectivized reality held to be final and selfsufficient: the highest reality, the only reality •••• Science is our religion because we cannot, most of us, with any living conviction see around it •••• We live in a world whose consciousness, of reality ends at the scientific perimeter, hence a world growing more idolatrous by the hour.1i
Berman's analysis substantially pursues this line of thought. Rather than talk of idolatry, he focusses instead on the related concept of 'alienation': his thesis is that, taken as absolute, "(s)cientific consciousness is alienated consciousness. "12 Instead of belonging in the world, we experience
••• total separation from it. Subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other. I am not my experiences, and thus not really a part of the world around me. The logical end point of this world view is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not me; and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated "thing" In a world of other, equally meaningless things. This world is not of my own making, and I do not really feel a sense of belonging to it. What I feel, in fact, is a sickness in the soul.13
Such a characterization of Newtonian science is certainly not novel: we have seen Whitehead make essentially the same point, and a similar characterization may be found in E. A. Burtt's important work The Metaphysical Foundations of Science; for example, the implication of Newtonian science was that
The world that people had thought themselves living in--a world rich with colour and sound ••• speaking everywhere of purposive harmony and creative ideals--was crowded now into minute corners in the brains of scattered organic beings. The really important world outside was a world of quantity, a world of mathematically computable motions in mechanical regularity. The world of qualities as immediately perceived by man became just a curious and quite minor effect of that infinite machine beyond ••• i4
Berman develops this criticism not only by bringing in the concept of alienation, but also by making it clear that the alienation felt by modern man is not just the result of our intellectual understanding of the world--that is merely one aspect. The other related components are social practice and structure. Integrally related to the understanding of the world in modern science is the emphasis upon manipulation and control-events in the world are no longer seen as possessing purpose,
••• but only behaviour, which can (and must) be described in an atomistic, mechanical, and quantitative way •••• Modern man ••• sees himself as having the ability to control and dominate naturel to use it for his own purposes.l~
And both science society:
of these aspects of modern are grounded in capitalist
Modern science, in short, is the mental framework of a world defined by capital accumulation, and ultimately ••• it became the "mode of cognition" of industrial society.16
In the light of the close relationship between the rise of natural science and the rise of the capitalist middle classes in England Berman's thesis is more than plausible. Thus he writes,
••• the forces that triumphed In
the second half of the seventeenth century were those of bourgeois ideology and laissez-faire capitalism. Not only was the idea of living matter heresy to such groups; it was also economically inconvenient ••• (But) if nature is dead, there are no such restraints on exploiting it for profit. Loving cultivation becomes rape; and that, to me, is most clearly what industrial society in general (not just capitalism) represents.17
The rising capitalist middle class, which set the agenda socially and intellectually for the subsequent modern west, made its way economically by the manipulation of 'things' (including people) in the service of capital. Associated with this the sciences act to legitimize and further this goal. But when people are employed as resources in the service of things (capital), and when they understand themselves to be isolated, uninvolved observers--as independent 'things' in a world of unrelated 'things'--then they are alienated: they serve an idol.
In the light of this too brief sketch of Berman's rich analysis one can see how he can come to sharp criticisms of contemporary western culture, at one point writing, "with the acceptance of the Newtonian worldview, it might be argued, Europe went collectively out of its mind. "18 The argument for such an assertion and the exploration of its consequences occupies nearly twothirds of Berman's study. The rest is largely taken up with a discussion of the cybernetics theory of Gregory Bateson as a way of developing a more holistic perspective. While we can agree with Berman that it is no solution to resort to mystical or occult 'philosophies' that end up dispensing with thought altogether, nevertheless I remain unconvinced that cybernetics is going to provide the way forward that Berman is looking for--and indeed in a subsequent article he seems to have shown somewhat less confidence in
What is, of course, missing from Berman's thought in this book is any awareness of the richness of Christianity. The thesis that Christianity, especially protestantism, was responsible for the "death of nature"--an argument put in an influential article by Lynn White Jr.20 nearly 20 years ago--is accepted uncritically by Berman. To be sure this argument pinpoints one unfortunate tendency in much protestant--not least liberal protestant--thought. But both the reformed and catholic traditions are much richer. The Dooyeweerdian philosophy of irreducible modal spheres is a powerful anti-reductionist outlook which should provide the basic resources with which to resist and reverse the advance of scientism. Furthermore a Christian understanding of the world must include what is good in all traditions of the church. We need to find room, I suggest, for that traditional catholic emphaSis on the presence of God in the world--laying emphasis on the idea of the Incarnation and the sacraments as signs of the reality of God's presence--we need by these means and by a more imaginative vision of creation to recapture an understanding and experience of the creation as revelational, and indeed, sacramental.
I have tried to suggest that Berman's thesis is not novel. It points to what Barfield and Roszak have been writing about, aspects of which, for example, Marcuse criticized as 'onedimensional man' and T. S. Eliot described as 'the wasteland'. In the English speaking world this tradition forms a running protest against scientism and the evils of industrialism in the writings of William Morris, Ruskin, Carlyle, Coleridge, William Blake and back. Yet this should not lead us to conclude that the thesis is somehow 'passe'. On the contrary, as our capacity to experience Christ in and through creation (and how else can we experience him?) is diminished by the growth of 'single vision and Newton's sleep' so does our need to respond to this challenge increase.
We stand at a crossroads in the evolution of Western consciousness. One fork retains all the assumptions of the Industrial Revolution and would lead us to salvation through science and technology; in short, it holds that the very paradigm that got us into troub~e can somehow get us out. Its proponents (and they generally include the modern socialist states) view an expanding economy, increased urbanization, and cultural homogeneity on a western model as both good and inevitable. The other fork leads to a future that is as yet somewhat obscure. Its advocates are an amorphous mass of Luddites, ecologists, regional separatists, steady state economists, mystics, occultists, and pastoral romantics. Their goal is the preservation (or resuscitation) of such things as the natural environment, regional culture, archaic modes of thought, organic community structures, and highly decentralized political autonomy. The first fork clearly leads to a blind alley or Brave New World.21
No doubt the Christian way is neither with the "amorphous mass" nor with the technocracy. But unless we consciously take a stand against the rampant scientism then we may find that the choice has been made for us.
1. See John Coulson, Religion and Imagination: 'in aid.£!..!. grammar of assent' (Oxford, 1981), p. 53.
2. John H. S. Kent, The End of the Line? The Development of -chriStian Theology in the Last Two Centuries (London, I~H2), p. ix.
3. J. Hillis Miller, The Disappearance of God: Five Nineteenth Century Writers (Cambridge, Mass., 1963).
4. Nicholas Lash, Doing Theology ~ Dover Beach (Cambridge, 1978), p. 26.
5. Morris Berman, The Reenchantment of the World (reprinted New York. T9H4~ Owen Barfield, Saving the
Appearances: A Study in Idolatry (London, 1957); Theodore Roszak, Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial ~iety (Garden CitY: N. Y., 1972).
6. Barfield, p. 51 (note 5 above).
7. A. N. Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (New York, -r925). p , 55.
8. Barfield, p. 51 (note 5 above).
9. Barfield, pp. 51-2 (note 5 above).
On 'original participation': "the essence of original participation is that there stands behind the phenomena, and on the other side of them from me-,--a-represented which is of the same nature as me. Whether it is called 'mana,' or by the names of many Gods or demons, or God the Father, or the spirit world, it is of the same nature as the perceiving self, inasmuch as it is not mechanicalor accidental, but psychic and voluntary." Barfield, p. 42 (note 5 above).
10. Barfield, p. 62 (note 5 above).
11. Roszak, p. 135 (note 5 above).
12. Berman, p. 3 (note 5 above).
13. Berman, p. 3 (note 5 above.
14. E. A. Burtt, The Metaphyshical Foundations of Modern Science revised edition-CCarden City, N. Y., 1954), pp. 238-9.
15. Berman, p. 39 (note 5 above).
16. Berman, p. 37 (note 5 above).
17. Berman, p. 117 (note 5 above).
18. Berman, p. 112 (note 5 above).
19. See Morris Berman, "The Cybernetics Dream of the 21st Century" ~ 1984 (typescript).
20. See Lynn White .Jr ,.; "Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis" Science March 10, 1967.
21. Berman, pp. 188-9 (see note 5 above).
Nigel Douglas, whose home is in England, is a candidate for the master's degree at res, majoring in philosophy of science with Hendrik Hart, and for the Ph.D. degree at University of Manchester in England.
llabral Theology: Is it Scriptura11
by aichard Russell
Batural theology I take to mean the type of exercise pursued by Christian thinkers such as Aquinas, Anselm and Charles Hodge which sought to demonstrate rationally the existence and some of the attributes of God. The intention of the exercise was rationally to confirm the faith of Christians and also to serve as pre-evangelism with respect to unbelievers. The biblical faith presupposes the existence of God. If reason could demonstrate this central and vital presupposition, what could be more basic to the church's mission than to develop and refine the most powerful rational arguments for the existence of God? The thought behind this prog~amme was simple. If Christianity is true then unbiased natural reason will support it--at least to the extent of demonstrating the reality of God, natural law and the immortality of the soul. In this way natural theology, while being completely a branch of philosophy (i.e. relying exclusively on natural reason rather than faith), would also serve as a handmaid to revealed theology. While the method of natural theology was to be that of philosophy the conc1usions were to be tl;tose of Theism. The disciplinary po1radigm of natural theology require tAedemonstration of Theism. Within the medieval worldview such a research programme for natural theology was virtually inevitable.
However, the Enlightenment balked at the idea of having theistic conclusions prescribed in advance. The complete autonomy of reason was demanded. Philosophy must be able to follow the arguments to whatever conclusions they led without the constraint of the dogmas of revealed theology. David Hume makes clear his own commitment to autonomous human thought when he writes:
'Tis certainly a kind of indignity to philosophy, whose sovereign authority ought everywhere to be
. acknowledged, to oblige her on
every occasion to make apologies for her conclusions, and to justify herself to every particular art and science which may be offended at her. This puts one in mind of a king being arraigned for high treason against his subjects.
In short the Enlightenment transformed the research programme of natural theology into that of the philosophy of religion, the name of which appeared in the latter years of the eighteenth century. The subservience of philosophy to theology had been reversed. Reason was to determine what could count as revelation, which tended to mean (following the Deists) that whatever could not be demonstrated by reason about God, man and the world should be rejected as unnecessary at best, and absurd and superstitious dogma at worst.
Having sketched in this background, I think the intrinsic instability of the research programme of natural theology is apparent. The Enlightenment embraced the method of natural theology and maintained that that required the complete rejection of theistic conclusions stipulated in advance. Agnostic or atheistic conclusions were not to be ruled out in advance. The sovereign authority of the method of philosophy--autonomous rationality--must reign supreme. One can recognise in this development a certain consistency as one moves from the semi-autonomous reason of medieval scholasticism to the fully autonomous reason of the Enl ightenment.
At this point we can return to our initial question 'Natural Theology: Is It Scriptural?' We can now ask in reply--which pole do you mean? The pole of its purported method or the requirement of the consistency with the biblical theism in its conclusions? With respect to the latter there is a question as to whether the God of classical philosophy (First Mover, Necessary Being, etc.) can rightly be identified with the God who reveals himself in the Scriptures. However there is no doubt that the Scriptural revelation of God--as far
as reason could reach--was the normative conclusion of natural theology. The real issue as far as I can see concerns the method which natural theology shares with its offspring, philosophy of religon.
Is that method, and what it presupposes, Scriptural? (In this context there is not time to deal with the biblical materials which bear on the issue of natural theology. I simply refer you to G. C. Berkouwer's brilliant study General Revelation Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1955, now IVP.) Shortly I wish to argue that the method in question is precisely the one underlying contemporary liberal academic theology which has its roots in the Enlightenment rationalism which in turn derived from the method side of natural theology as an academic discipline so that its components come into clearer view.
In my view every academic discipline is constituted ~y the synthesis of (1) a disciplinary ontology, a defined field of investigation, and (2) a disciplinary epistemology and methodology deemed to be most suitable for gaining reliable and systematic knowledge of the field. In other words every possible discipline is constituted by philosophical presuppositions which both transcend and structure the discipline.
In the light of this let us briefly consider the natural theology of Thomas Aquinas. On the side of ontology he assumes an Aristotelian world of nature--hierarchical, teleological and hylomorphic. On the side of epistemology he maintians that all knowledge begins with the senses--intellectual abstraction from what is sensed, followed by deductive inferences. Consequently this whole ontology and epistemology--virtually a whole worldview --needs to be assumed before Aquinas can begin to formulate his theistic proofs. In short the proofs are going to be strictly relative to the assumptions made, as are all proofs. Moreover, even when these assumptions are granted it is highly doubtful whether it is possible to deduce the existence
and attributes of God in the Christian sense.
While natural theology (like philosophy of religion) may try to describe itself as an unbiased exercise of 'pure reason' it cannot proceed without Wide-ranging philosophical assumptions about man and the world--which is the common situation of every discipline. If you begin without God in your assumptions, you will not find Him in your conclusion--unless you cheat. The central problem with natural theology is that it takes certain conceptions of man and the world as given and intelligible without reference to God and then asks--does God exist too? This is diametrically opposed to the biblical view that the revelation of God is given rather than inferred, pervading the whole of creation and therefore leaving mankind 'without excuse' for its ingratitude and idolatry and culpable ignorance. Not only so, but man's self-knowledge and understanding of his place in the world depends upon a true knowledge of God. Without it he struggles 1- , wanders in darkness. We have alr~ quoted Hume's proud words concerr
the autonomy of reason. Where d t. lead him and what light did (emp:_ cist) reason throw upon reality for him? These are his own words:
The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return? Whose favour shall I court, and whose anger must I dread? What beings surround me? and on whom have I any influence, or who have any influence on me? I am confounded with all these questions and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty.
a..e realised that he could not live with such conclusions. However, instead of questioning the assumptions-especially that of the autonomy of reason--that led him inexorably to them, he simply announces that having reimmersed himself in the distractions of everyday life, when he returns to his speculations later 'they appear so cold, and strained and ridiculous, that I cannot find it in my heart to enter into them further.' Nor is the situation substantially different if we move from Enlightenment epistemplogy to the contemporary academic world for they are both moved by the same secular and empiricist spirit of humanistic philosophy. Today we find massive fragmentation of knowledge both between and within diSCiplines; e.g., reductionistic monisms and uncoordinated pluralisms, dogmatism and scepticism, and formalistic abstractness. These infect the academic world with meaninglessness and restlessness --an infection which is rapidly transmitted to every part of human life through the educational (mal)formation of its leadership.
Having sketched out something of the fallout of the principle of rationalism which underlies the method of natural theology--showing it to be unScriptural and therefore culturally disastrous--I want to conclude as I have promised with a few remarks which could be headed 'Theology: Is it Scriptural?' This is a serious and not rhetorical question to ask about the main schools of contemporary academic theology--for there is a real
Jacob Klapwijk, Orientatie in de nieuwe filosofie Assen: Van Gorcum, 1986.
Reviewed by Johannes F. Groen
A recurrent line of argument in philosophical studies of the last years is that for modern western thinking the world has no objective (moral) order any more. Western man lives in a
sense in which the method of 'natural reason' which was formerly restricted to natural theology (as part of philosophy) has now been extended to theology proper. The rot has spread--so to speak--from philosophy to theology. If we consider theology as an academic discipline, then there are the two related sides of its field of investigation and its method, as we have discussed previously. With respect to method, how should its field of investigation (Christ, the Scriptures, Christian history and experience, etc.) be rightly approached? To put the matter even more concretely, 'Should the Bible be approached like any other book?' Yes, says the secularist. No, says the dualistic Christian. In my opinion the proper answer lies at a deeper level. The Bible and every other book should be approached within a perspective illuminated by the Bible. We want not only a Christian theology but Christian linguistics, literary criticism, etc_, etc. Indeed, without these latter developments Christian theology itself will be seriously defective. Our scholarly calling in every field of knowledge is to make every thought, concept, theory, paradigm and research programme subject to the lordship of Christ.
Richard Russell is a Church of England pastor, campus worker and distributor of Christian literature in Bath, England. This article is reprinted with permission from Faith and Thought: The Journal of the Victoria Institute
Volume III, Number 2/1985, pp. 171-4
disenchanted world. Books such as MacIntyre's After Virtue, C. Taylor's Hegel and, recently, Sandel's Liberalism and the limits of justice incorporate this into their analysis. In Taylor's words, the modern view of man sees man as a self-defining subject, in contradistinction to the subject of the Middle Ages who was defined by a moral order. I think this kind of talking about a moral order is one of
the settings in which time and again the question of meaning is posed in Western philosophy.
Sometimes I find this quest for meaning boring and tiring. The question of meaning is puzzling, but it leads to endless debates in which everyone can say what "he wants to say. It is, after all, very hard to verify any statement about the meaning of life. But at other moments you are confronted with the devastating effects upon human life when people see no meaning in their lives. Having at least some meaning in life ts fundamental for human beings.
It is, therefore, not without reason that Klapwijk's Orientatie in de nieuwe filosofie ends with a chapter about that philsophy which made the experience of meaninglessness the paramount fact about human life, i.e., Sartre and the existentialists. To them Klapwijk addresses the following question: Is the experience of meaninglessness not such a shocking experience because it is a frustration of an existential present experience of meaning? Can one understand the suffering of people in history out of a fundamental despair? (p. 123) The question of meaning appears here at the end of a journey through modern philosophy, both because it is the ultimate question of philosophy and because it is the most important question in philosophy_
However we answer this question, our answer must arise from our choice of worldview. This choice cannot be validated by philosophy. That philosophy is grounded in a worldview is the over-all framework of Klapwijk's book.
Klapwijk's Orientatie contains an overview of philosophy from the Re-
naissance and Reformation up to the three big names of the twentieth century: Wittgenstein, Marcuse and Sartre~ In a book of 125 pages not much space is left for a thorough analysis of all the highlights of the era covered. This is not an encyclopedic work. However, Klapwijk's knowledge and ability to explain difficult thinkers guarantees a well-chosen selection and a clear and stimulating outline of the different philosophical systems. BeSides, Klapwijk is one of the few writers of the history of philosophy who can concisely introduce a philosopher to us--he is able to place thinkers in a larger framework, without distorting their individuality and without making the framework a rigid exercise in cartography.
In one feature this book is unique. The second part of the book contains a number of philosophical texts in translation, as illustrations for the different chapters. This is a very good idea; the reader can get some idea how the different philosophers write, and hopefully, be stimulated to read more of them. With all due respect to good introductions like this, real knowledge of the history of philosophy is gained by reading the very thinkers themselves.
Due to the language gap, this book is only "available" to people who are able to read Dutch. But it is not written especially for philosor students: this book is meant for general public, and anyone who interested can find useful informat
in this book.
Johannes F. Groen is a doctoral candidate in the Central Interfaculty of the Free University of Amsterdam who spent the 1985-86 year studying with Paul Marshall at ICS.
Bwolutloaary Nonism: The Continuity of the Thought of John Hick by Stephen Shaw
Comments on M. Phil. F. thesis
Like most students who come to the Institute, I wanted to learn how to tease out from a Christian. point of view the philosophical assumptions that underpin a writer's work, so when a method for doing this was presented to me I became very excited. This method was first devised by the Christian philosopher D. H. Vollenhoven; I was taught it in somewhat modified form. The basic idea is that you learn to enter into conversation with the writer, armed with certain basic philosophical questions: What does he or she find most basic in life: unity or diversity? What does he or she assume is most real: change or constancy? From the way writers answer these questions (usually these answers are implicit rather than explicit) you can construct a model which makes clear the philosophical framework upon which they "hang" their thought and from which they approach their subject matter.
The second concern with which I came to the Institute was that I wanted any biblically Christian approach to scholarship that I might learn to be academically credible in the more liberal and sometimes aggressively analytical theological circles in Britain. For this to be possible I had to choose as a subject for my master's thesis a writer who was in this theological limelight. John Hick was an obvious candidate. Hailed by one of his contemporaries as the most important philosopher of religion in the world today, Hick has written extensively on some of the thorniest problems in theology: the relationship between faith and knowledge, the problem of evil, and more recently, the problem of religious pluralism. The radical standpoint taken by Hick on this last
topic has made him a very controversial figure indeed; this adds to his interest.
Hick announced that his thought underwent an important shift in direction when he came to consider the relationships of the many religions of the world to each other. Whereas he had always assumed that his own religion, Christianity, was the sole way of salvation, he now saw that all religions are culturally relative responses to the same divine reality and are legitimate ways of salvation. Hick proceeded to construct a theology based on this new understanding.
Hick's change in thinking occasioned some confusion as to how his latest theological position should be assessed. Some philosophers of religion assumed continuity between the earlier and later stages of his thought, others discontinuity. It was this problem that provided the point of departure for my thesis. I aimed to try to see if I could shed some light on the continuity/discontinuity problem in Hick's thought by using the Vollenhovian method of analysis.
Armed with the basic philosphical question mentioned above, I analysed Hick's three major works in turn:
Faith and Knowledge (1957), Evil and the God of Love (1966), and Death and Eternal Life (1976). The results of my investigations were exciting. I found that Hick consistently developed his thought within the framework of an underlying conceptual model which, though embryonic in his first major book and not fully fledged until his latest one, remains fundamentally unchanged. I called this model "evolutionary monism"; this captures the two themes of development and unity which Hick believes are the basic constituents of life. I also found that it was the inner logic of Hick's conceptual model that enabled him to construct his later theology of religious
pluralism. Thus I reached the conclusion that Hick's change in theological position involves no radical departure from his earlier thought when seen from the vantage point of his basic conceptual position.
I believe that the value of my thesis lies not only in any contribution that I may have made to the study of an important and influential philospher
GKOGRAPHY IN REFORMATIONAL PKRSPECflVE by John L. Paterson
At the 82nd annual conference of the Association of American Geographers, held in Minneapolis on May 3-7, 1986, a special session was held on the reformational approach to the discipline of geography. Entitled "Human Geography and the Christian Reformational Perspective," the special session was organised by Henk Aay, Professor of Geography at Calvin College, and John Paterson, graduate student in the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia. The aim of the session was to bring together Christian geographers of a reformational persuasion and to expose this perspective to a wider audience.
This was the first time such a session has been held at a major conference of professional geographers. It was also likely to have been the first time in such a conference that a session was led off by a philosopher. The organizers were very grateful to Al Wolters for venturiing into unknown scholarly territory to present the introductory paper. A fruitful interaction between philosophy' and geography resulted. The sessioq provided much encouragement for those working in geography out of a reformational perspective despite the fact that the audience it attracted was small.
Abstracts of the four papers which were presented are given below.
"The Relationship between Religion,
of religion, but also in the fact that it has been a successful test of the usefulness of a particular method of analysis devised from a Christan perspective.
Steve Shaw returned to England after receiving his master's degree at Ies and is a teacher and promoter of Christian activities and ideas with College House in Cambridge, England.
Christian Reformational Philosophy and the Special Sciences" by Al Wolters, Redeemer College, Hamilton, Ontario.
Reformational philosophy views all scholarship as inevitably reflecting basic religious commitments. Evidence is selected and organized according 'to beliefs and paradigms lying outside the realm of scientific demonstrability. From the reformational perspective, biblical religion implies a Weltanschauung which provides key regulative ideas for making Christian sense of experiential data. Such key ideas include: an order of normative constants calling for responsible positivisation, a pluriformity of irreducible but interrelated kinds of reality, and freedom and responsibility in all human activity.
"The Practice of 'Religious Geography': Case Study--The Christian Farmers Federation of Alberta" by John L. Paterson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
• Religious geography' is 1) the geographical dimension of a religious worldview and style of life, and 2) an academic geographic practice ~ased on philosophical concepts informed by a religious worldview. A case study of the religious geography (worldview and practices) of the Christian Farmers Federation of Alberta is outlined and used to illustrate the potential of and the problems associated ~ith an academic religious geographic study utilising the Christian reformational perspective.
"Herman Dooyeweerd I s Spatial Modality and its Significance for Geography" by Henk Aay, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd developed his theory of the modal aspects of reality in the 1930s. It has become a powerful framework for interpreting and understanding functional reality. Within this theory, the spatial modality is one irreducible dimension of reality. This paper explores the meaning and character of the spatial modality in the 'context of the Christian philosophy of Dooyeweerd and his followers and assesses its significance for geography, a discipline whose domain is often identified as spatial.
"Towards a Reformational Perspective on Regional Development" by Vincent P. Miller Jr., Indiana University of
ANAKAINOSIS Managing Editor:
Robert E. VanderVennen
Associate Editors: Mark Roques and David Woods
Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pa.
Analysis of the literature of development shows that much controversy exists. The perspective of regional development has little to say about the ideology in development. From the context of Hurwicz's polarities of pure optimism and pessimism it is possible to critique development ideologies. These can be linked with the theology of John Calvin in his statements on natural law, the realm of science and faith, etc. A reformational view of regional development is constructed which can be of value in the analysis of the development controversies.
John Paterson is a New Zealander who is a candidate for the doctorate in geography at the University of British Col umbia, Canada.
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