Chapter One: Greeks Bearing Gifts
by John M. Frame
Though John Frame appreciates certain aspects of the Greek thinkers and admits there are many things which can be learned from them, he argues that there is a great danger to “adopt their worldviews…or synthesize their thinking with the worldview of the Bible.” (1) Ultimately, like all other worldviews, the Greeks reject God as Lord, and are idolatrous (2). The Greek beliefs varied amongst themselves, but there was also much they held in common with one another (3). The most obviously belief that they held in common was that “none of the Greeks believed the world was created and directed by a personal, supreme, absolute being” (3). Rather, they believed everything is subjected to and governed by an impersonal force called “fate” (4). Eventually, philosophy, where reason is king, became the new “religion”, and they rejected tradition and myths (6). In his chapter “Greeks Bearing Gifts”, John Frame provides the reader with a survey and critique of Greek philosophy. He says that all Greek philosophy imposes “autonomous reason on an essentially irrational world” (7).
The Milesians understood the fundamental reality of the world to be based upon the element(s) of the earth; water, fire, air, earth, etc (7). Among the Milesians were Thales and Anaximenes (7). Heraclitus believed that “the elements of reality are in constant change” (18). Parmenides believed that being “requires something that is changeless”, and that change is not real but an illusion (10-11). The Atomists believed that the world is fundamentally made up “of elements with different qualities.” (12). They attempt to explain everything from this perspective (14). The fundamental stuff of the universe is unchangeable, and made up of atoms. Atoms take different forms, but are always an atom. (13). From the Atomists first come the teachings of human freedom (13) and hedonism (13-14). Pythagoras believed that the souls was divine and imprisoned in the body, that salvation comes through knowledge (14), and that mathematics is the fundamental key to understanding reality (15). The Sophists were relativists who claimed that there are no absolutes and that truth is relative (16). Socrates opposed the Sophists ideas, and claimed there must be a standard and absolute truth. He believed that truth was found by looking inside of ones self (17). He was known for how he lived and by his style of teaching, which was in in question form (17). Plato is said to be one of the greatest philosophers of all time (18). He brought together ideas from both Heraclitus and Parmenides. He taught that the senses can deceive and should be corrected through reason (18). He was the first to coin the concept of “Forms and Ideas”, (18). Something can be known even if it is not seen. Forms are known through reason (18) and are the “real” things in which physical things are just a model or shadow (18-19). He says the soul is made up of appetite, spirit and rational (21). Aristotle taught that form is “entirely contentless and abstract” (29) and matter “in its purest form is non being” (29). He taught that there must be an unmoved mover who causes movement in actuality and potentially (24). This “unmover” is impersonal and does not move, but attracts things to itself (26). In order to do what is moral, one has to find the middle ground between two extremes (28). Stoicism taught that reality is found in material (29). All things are made up of matter, including the soul, and virtues (29). They were fatalists (29) and so their ethics were to be content and accept what happens in life (30). Plotinus desired to escape from the world (30). He taught that there was a supreme being who could not be directly known except through a mystical trance (31).
Although these philosophers all sought after reason as their ultimate authority, John Frame shows that in every case, they are unable explain reality rationally (7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, 29, 30, 32). These philosophies must be rejected because truth can only be found in the God who is truth, and these truths can only be found in the “absolute-personality of Scripture.”
Chapter Two: The Hebrew World and Life View
by John D. Currid
There are many who reject the historical Biblical account of ancient Israel before the exile (37), and therefore have no real worldview or contribution to Western thought. Currid contends that there are “sound historical connections between the Bible and other ancient near eastern documents” (38) which refute this ideology. He argues that the Hebrew people have “provided intellectual and moral underpinnings for the Western culture” (39).
Unlike any other religion or neighboring nations, Israel lived and functioned out of the worldview that God himself reveals truth from his self-revelation (40). The Hebrew people believed that their writings were God’s word (43). At the heart of the theology of the Hebrew people is that there is only one God (43-44). This is a God who speaks and his reveals himself to creation (67). Unlike other religions who claim monotheism, the God of the Hebrew people is personal (45). This belief is integrated in all that they do (45). This is contrasted with the surrounding nations, who had many gods who each had different characteristics or powers (46). The Hebrew people instead had many names for the one God, which were a reflection or description of his nature, character and different attributes within himself (46). These names include: “Yahweh”, the personal and covenantal name, which describes his self-existence, his unchangeability, and his eternality (46-47); “El” which presents God’s strength and power (47); “El Shaddai”, the mighty God who blesses (47); and “Elohim” (47). He also has special names such as: “Lord of Hosts”,” Yahweh will provide”, and “The Angel of Yahweh” (48).
Creation also plays a central role in the worldview of the Hebrews (49) and is contrasted to their surrounding Ancient Near Eastern neighbours (49), who did not believe that creation was the intentional product of the one true Creator God (50) but came into being “as a result of a contest or struggle between gods” and “the consequence of some other god’s creative efforts” (50). Currid gives a summary and critique of three different evangelical views of the creation account,: The Framework interpretation, the Day-Age view, and the Anthropomorphic Days view (51-53). He argues for the 24-Hour Solar Day View (53-54), saying, “Creation inherently demands the role of extraordinary providence” (55). The creation of mankind, according to the biblical account, was also one of intentionality. Unlike other creation accounts in the Ancient Near East, humans have significant worth and dignity (56). Unlike pagan thoughts, “mankind has been created with dignity and inalienable rights” (67). Man fails to do what he was created to do, and falls into sin when he fails to listen and obey God’s Word (57). The consequence of sin is death and alienation (58). Because Adam sinned, all who follow him are under a curse and “bear his fallen nature” (59). Even the earth and cosmos are cursed (59).
Though they are expelled from God’s presence, cursed and under judgment for their sin, God promises a future redemption (60) that finds its fulfillment thousands of years later in the person and work of Jesus Christ (60-61). The hope of future redemption, forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation becomes ingrained in the life of the Hebrew (61). The prophets take up the role as God’s mouthpieces and proclaimed the future coming of redemption through the Messiah (62). Unlike many of the contemporaries of the Ancient Near East, The Hebrew people believed that history had a beginning and was going somewhere (62) because it is governed by the one who rules it (63, 69). According to the author, this belief has been a gift and influence to the world (63). God was the one who initiated, chose and covenanted himself to Israel (64) for the purpose of their being a light and mouthpiece for God to their Ancient Near Eastern contemporaries (64). One of the ways they were to do this was living a life that was set apart by following the law. The law was a gift from God to provide Israel with the standard of what God’s people are to look like (65-66). Through both direct verbal prophecy as well as typology, “Israel’s primary purpose was to pave the way for the coming Redeemer, the final ultimate deliverer” (66). The Hebrews had a clear worldview (67), and this worldview has had a great influence on the west (67, 69) and has altered the course of history.
Chapter Three: The New Testament Worldview
by Vern Sheridan Poythress
Though there are many different contributors to the New Testament, there is great harmony among the texts. This is understandable in the Christian worldview, which believes that the Bible has divine authorship (71). As those who bow down to the Lordship of Christ, we believe and obey his words (72). Christ affirms the authority of both the Old Testament Scriptures and the New Testament writers (72). The worldview of the New Testament “is not new but builds on that found in the Old Testament” (72). It is the New Testament writers, with the authority of Christ, who interpret the Old Testament correctly (72).
Since the Christian Bible includes the Old Testament, there are aspects that Judaism and Christianity share in their worldview. “At the centre of this worldview lies one view of God” (73), the God who is one. This God is a God who is self-revealing and who speaks to his creation (73). As God, he is meticulously and exhaustively sovereign and completely distinct from creation, for he is the Creator (73). The two worldviews also share “basic assumptions about humanity” (74). God created man in his image, to rule and have dominion. Yet when man fell into sin and the whole world became enslaved to it (74), God will have to do something for them that they cannot do for themselves—provide a future redemption (74). However, this future redemption is not realized until the New Testament era, with the coming of the person and work Christ (74). This is where the two world views differ. Judaism rejects the notion that Christ is the future hope and redemption in which the Old Testament pointed to (74).
The New Testament then “adds to or transforms the teaching given in the Old Testament” (76). It does this in multiple ways. In the New Testament, the doctrine of the Trinity is brought more clearly into light (76-79). God is one in essence and three in persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who are all God, and all one. “The New Testament deepens the Old Testament teaching about creation and providence by indicating the role of the Son of God in both” (80). In the New Testament, miracles are brought through the person of Jesus and his disciples for the purpose of showing that the arrival of the Kingdom (81). Humanity is also to be fully understood in light of the revealing of Christ (83), “who represents all of the new humanity” (83). Those who are united to him will be like him and are called to reflect him (83). The coming of Christ reveals a new depth of sin (83). The coming and crucification of the second member of the trinity reveals a new level the wickedness and depravity of the human heart (84). Though all sin is forgivable because of Christ’s work, unrepentant unbelief will not be forgiven (84). Knowledge and understanding in the Old Testament is rooted in loving and fearing God, while in the New Testament true knowledge and truth is only found in Christ (84). Humanity left on its own will never accept or understand this knowledge, and so we need God to sovereignly act in our lives to give us understanding through redemption (85).
The coming of Christ is the very fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises of salvation and redemption from sin (86). Although those who are in Christ have been saved from the penalty of sin, they still await future and final salvation from the presence of sin, which will happen at Christ’s return (87-88). While we wait, we have been given the gift of the Spirit who is our deposit (89). Being saved through faith means that we have union with God in Christ (90-91). This has horizontal consequences and means Christians are also united to each other (92). As the body of Christ, we are concerned about our brothers and sisters and therefore serve one another in love (92). The church is called also to protect themselves from false teaching and sin (93) by excluding those who are unrepentant and receiving those who are repentant (93).
As those who have been called and saved and therefore under the Lordship of Christ, we are to live our life in obedience to Scripture (95). As his representatives, Christians are called to also engage culture (96) knowing that Christ will return to judge the world (97).
Chapter Four: Christianity from the Early Fathers to Charlemagne
by Richard C. Gamble
The Apostolic Fathers are those who come directly after the apostles, who “provide a first glimpse of the new Christian worldview” (104). These church fathers include Clement of Rome (81-96 AD), likely the earliest Christian writer post-New Testament (101). He wrote letters to the Corinthians which are now known as 1 Clement (101). He believed and taught that those who are ordained have authority from God that can not be removed (101). Ingnatius of Antioch (98-117AD) wrote letters on his way to martyrdom encouraging the churches towards faithfulness while under persecution (102). Polycarp, according to tradition, was a disciple of John, and wrote to the Philippians in defence of the incarnation (102). He was also known for his courage to refusing to bow down to the emperor even while facing death (102).
The epistle of Barnabas interpreted the Old Testament as allegory (102-103) which became a popular view in the early church (103). The Shepherd of Hermans was supposedly given by heavenly figures and “like Barnabas, the Shepherd depends heavily on allegory.” (103). This book “led people to postpone baptism for fear of sinning after they had received it”(104). The Didache “provides a brief summary of early doctrine, ethical norms and church practice” (104).
Alongside the church fathers came heretics whose teachers are contrary to the teaching of Scripture (105). Marcion taught a difference between the God of the Old Testament and New Testament (105). Marcion composed a canon of his own, which the church rejected and was forced to “propose its own list in response” (105). Montanus claimed that he had received special revelation from God (105). His teaching led to a form of asceticism (105).
“In the second and third centuries, a group of writers called ‘apologists’ emerged and defended Christianity as it came under attack from pagan sources.” (106) Among these apologists were Aristides of Athens, who addressed the emperor, and also taught that all other religions worshiped false Gods (107). Justin Martyr is “arguably the most important of the apologists” (107). His works include an address to the emperor in defence of Christianity, along with the Dialogue with Trypho. Justin had a Platonic influence in his understanding of God, and taught that Christ was the logos in the flesh (107). He believe “human possessed unlimited free will” and those who “lived according to reason was a genuine believer”. His teachings eventually lead to Pelagianism and Arminism (108). His student Titian the Syrian followed him, but rejected the Greek cults (108). Arhengoras of Athens was “the most eloquent of the Christian apologists” (108). He taught the doctrine of the resurrection and also was one of the earliest to express Trinity (108). He is also know for his response to the three common charges against Christianity regarding atheism, incest and cannibalism (108). Theophilus of Antioch wrote the first extra-biblical work on the inspiration of New Testament and Old Testament (109). Melito of Sardis argued for “Christ’s divinity, his preexistence, his incarnation and the doctrine of original sin.” (109). The persecution against the Christians was long and brutal, but was also a means of growth to the church (112).
A group of “early Western and Eastern writers” (112) also emerged. These theologians included Ireneaeus of Lyons who spent most of his teachings refuting Gnostic heresy (112-113) and defending the teaching of the apostles (114). Tertullian also spent his life refuting heretics; in regard to Christian living, he taught on “an almost endless number of worldview issues” (115). Clement of Alexandria taught that philosophy was a great tool to reach non-believers, though philosophy could never instil faith in someone (117). Origen was arguably the first Christian writer to organize his work into systematic theology (119), and eventually taught something similar to universalism (119). Augustine is one of the most influential theologians of all time (119). He rebuked Skepticism and taught that “Faith precedes reason” (121). He rejected dualism and taught God as sovereign (122). He was known for his work on the Trinity (123-124). Augustine “urged imperial coercion as a means to ending heresy” (123). This influenced later Christians to force converts by sword (123). Augustine also responded to both Pelagianism and Manichaeism (127).
For the early church, all of life took on a new meaning. Unlike their contemporaries, Christians were called to subject themselves to one another in love and live their everyday lives in light of the Scriptures, which was countercultural of the lifestyle and worldview of the pagans (128). In the third century, Christians become known for their works and mercy, and as a result hospitals were created for the ordinary citizen (127-30). Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, and therefore it became part of the state (131-132). During this time Monasticism, which is known for self-denial and separation, became popular (133-134). The fourth century was known for the rise of the Papacy, in which the “bishop to Rome became the symbol both of apostolic authority and Roman power” (135).
Chapter Five: Medieval Theology and the Roots of Modernity
by Peter J. Leithart
“The whole of medieval life and thought was infused with Christianity” (140). This life was also centred on signs and symbolism (141). It is during this time that the main separation between theology and philosophy emerged (144). Realizing that the authority of the Bible was under attack, Rupert of Deutz confronted William of Champeaux and Anselm of Loan in 1117 (146). They were the beginning of a new kind of scholarship which questioned the authority of the scriptures (146). This movement is called “scholasticism” (151), which sought to synthesize faith and reason (153). Thomas Aquinas, who had tremendous influence on the Christian faith, was the “high point of scholasticism” (167). He was “the Grandfather of secular modernity and modern onto-theology” (159). Aqunias was an Aristotelian (159). He believed that “man can know God from natural reason without the assistance of grace” (160). His Aristotelian assumptions carried over into his explaining of Christianity (162). “Reason and Faith are not different in kind but in degree of participation” (163). Though he was Aristotelian and used philosophical language to describe the Christina faith, Aquinas did believe that Scripture alone is our standard for our knowledge and reason (164).
During the later medieval period, scholasticism turned into a kind of “mysticism which eschewed doctrine and speculation in favour of personal devotion to God” (168). Scholarship departed from Thomastic synthesis (169). Among the greatest thinkers of this time are Scotus and Ockham (168). Unlike Thomas, they taught that God can only be known through his self-revelation and not by reason (169). They also separated philosophy and theology completely (169). Scotus taught the “univocity of being” (169-170), and he also taught that God can reveal himself to people in person. This undermines God’s self-revelation found in the Scriptures and makes them a kind of “second best” (172). William Ockham was another thinker at this time. He did not believe that universals were real but were “no more than concepts or words” (173). “Questions arise from a source other than Scripture but also because the answers are provided from sources other than Scripture” (175). Unfortunately, this thought is still alive and around today.
Chapter Six: The Renaissance
by Carl Trueman
Carl Trueman attempts to “trace the various threads that form the warp and woof of the movements we call the Renaissance” (178). Humanism came as a result of French culture in between 1200-1400 (179). Humanism is “a cultural attitude based on the re-appropriation of classical literature” (179). From the Humanists came the term “back to the sources” (181). This included original sources, which meant going to to original languages (181). This proved beneficial for the church, who went back to the original sources of the Hebrew and Greek bible instead of the Latin (182). This would eventually lead to the spark of the Reformation (183). Though most of the reformers were influenced by humanism, Martin Luther proved not to be (183). Erasmus was directly responsible for translation of the Bible through Tyndall as well as getting the Hebrew and Greek languages into the colleges and universities (185). From the Humanists came also a technique called “common places”, which was helpful for analyzing and systematizing topics (187).
In regards to philosophy, Aristotelian philosophy and thinking “formed the core of philosophical discussion” (189). Though Aristotelian was core to discussion, not all thinkers agreed with even the basic positions (189). Some of the thinkers of the day included Leonardo Bruni, a translator known for his work on translating Aristotle (190). A disagreement arose between him and Alfonso of Cartegena regarding translating in light of “wider cultural context within which the text occurred” (191). Renaissance philosophy was very broad in what people believed (191). There was no single worldview, but a variety of different thinking and views.
In science, Aristotle also had a huge influence (193). Copernicus was the first to suggest that the earth revolved around the sun (193), and this theory was confirmed by the experiments of Galileo (194). This brought persecution to Galileo by the church because he seemed to be contradicting the Scriptures. Galileo argued that his work was not undermining Scripture, and he suggested that those accusing him of doing so were likely misinterpreting the Bible (194-195).
In regards to politics, we see that religion and politics were not separated, and so those who were politicians were usually also religious leaders (195). One of these leaders was Girlolamo Savonarola. Though he was executed by the papacy, he successfully put into place social reform through “religious rhetoric and theology” (196). Niccolo Machiavelli argued that the Christian faith is a tool that one in power should use to keep his power and to maintain social control (199). Erastianism saw the church as part of the state (199).
In literature and art, there was a focus on the original languages and textual criticism whcih resulted in resulted in “theological critique we find in the Reformers” (202). Painting and sculpture took on the look classical beauty, while individual portraits become popular among the rich (203).
Chapter Seven: Reformation as a Revolution Worldview
by Scott Amos
“The reformation was a revolution in worldview” (206). As opposed to the enlightenment, where society was human-focused, the reformation was God-centered (207). The reformers went to the scriptures for their standards of truth for all of life. They focused on God’s Word as revealed in the Bible and made it their authority for all of life (208). Although even among the reformers there were differences, Scripture is what they all had in common (208). Not only did they stress and teach this, but for the first time the layperson had access to and freedom to read Gods Word for themselves (238).
The study of Scripture had lost authority when dealing with theology and thinking about the Christian life (209). Instead, there was an attempt to synthesize Greek philosophy with the Bible (209). Those who did study the Bible did it for a mere scholarly perspective. They attempted to answer questions by being more philosophical then keeping with the Biblical text. It became more about speculation then about truth (210). Biblical humanists critiqued this synthesis, and called the church to return back to the original languages and study of the Bible (210). Erasmus was one of these biblical humanist, though sharply disagreeing with reformers in many things. It was his translation of the Greek New Testament that the reformers used. He inspired Bible study and theology that is rooted in the Bible (211).
Martin Luther was hugely influenced by the medieval synthesis, but his exegetical work on the biblical text resulted in him departing from it (211). Luther’s focus was on the authority of Scripture, and this informed everything he taught, believed, and wrote (213). It is through his study of Scripture that he discovered the doctrine of salvation through faith and not works, which was revolutionary for those in medieval understanding (214). What Luther saw in Scripture about the nature of sin, its power, and free will caused debate among many, and caused Erasmus to write against Luther in disagreement (216). Luther argued that man does willingly choose to do evil, yet it is only through the intervention of the grace of God that man can willingly choose good (218). The Bible furthermore also had authority in church in society (218). Unlike what the church was teaching at the time, Luther showed that there are no class differences between clergy and lay people (218); The Pope is not the only one who is responsible for interpreting the Bible (219), and the Pope was not the only person able to call reform to the church (219), but this is instead to be done by the body of Christ. He also debunked the church’s sacrament theology and showed that there are only two sacraments (219). However, he “did not develop a comprehensive worldview….[and] Luther minimized the influence a comprehensive biblical worldview could have had for all of life.” (221-222). Meanwhile, the anabaptists held to scripture as needing to be the ultimate authority, like Luther (222). However, they rejected that tradition or history should have any influence on interpreting the Biblical text (223). They separated themselves from the culture as they strove to live a perfect life, and believed excommunication was the means by which the church was to be kept pure (224). They believe that church and state should be absolutely separated (226). They accused the reformation movement of not having changed lives after reformation, which brought the reformers to accuse them of having a works-based salvation (226). Their response was that works are a fruit of salvation (226). This movement was primarily led by laypeople and not by scholars (226).
John Calvin came after Luther, and though he did not impact the church in the way Luther did in bringing about Protestantism, he made tremendous contributions nonetheless, particularly and “most significantly by formulating a comprehensive, all-pervasive worldview” (227). Though differing with Luther and his followers on many things, Calvin respected Luther greatly (227). Calvin is known for his study of the Bible as the real Word of God, and is one of the “greatest expositors of and commentators on the Bible” (227). He taught that the foundation for knowledge and wisdom is the the revelation of God’s Word as found in the Bible (229), but because of sin and depravity, one needs the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit to bring us to such knowledge (229). God is personal and sovereign;y active in his creation, and this helps Christians live their lives confidently (230). Like Luther, he taught on the nature of sin and its power, and the need for God to sovereignly intervene and bring regeneration to people (231). He stressed God’s election and sovereignty in salvation and that faith is a gift from God (232). Calvin taught that the marks of a true church were the administration of the sacraments and the preaching of the Word (232). His understanding of church government would nowadays be described as a Presbyterian model (233). Calvin also had a high view of the government and its relationship to the church (234).
The Reformation in a lot of ways led to a kind of destruction of visual art, in that the visual art pieces which came from the medieval period (paintings, statutes, stained glass, etc), were no longer stressed and were sometimes seen as idolatry. Yet the Reformation did bring songs that were sung by all people together in worship, clergy and laypeople alike (236). The Catholic Church did condemn the reformers, and although there were some later who tried for reconciliation, the Catholic Church eventually reaffirmed and therefore “restoring the medieval synthesis to its former position in the church.” (237).
Chapter Eight: Enlightenments and Awakenings:
The Beginning of Modern Culture Wars
by W. Andrew Hoffecker
During the same time period, enlightenments occurred in Britain, France, America, and Germany, along with a series of awakenings in these same places (241). In Britain, Francis Bacon suggested approaching science by removing our preconceived ideas, worldviews, and beliefs, and starting from a total clean slate. He believed this would create an impartial science which finds “the one true method by which thinkers can settle all disputes about matter of fact or truth” (243). Herbert of Cherbury shifted from the authority of scripture, and taught that truth should be come from reason (243). John Locke was a empiricist who made reason the standard which to judge truth claims (245). He rejected the teaching of original sin (245). Isaac Newton came up with “Newton’s three laws” which explained motion. This was revolutionary in science (245). Newton believed that creation had to be from the Creator God and that God’s “existence was absolutely necessary for the operation of nature” (247). His followers did not agree with him on this, instead proposing that the world was mechanical and governed by Newton’s laws (248), and if God exists he is absent from his creation. John Toland taught that any religious teaching that was not “fully intelligible” should be rejected and put in a category of paganism, which includes the Christian sacraments (248). Matthew Tindal was a deist who believed that natural religion is pure and anything else is evil, and that the aim of man is not to glorify God but to do good (248). Despite these very obvious shifts from Biblical doctrines, the deists still claimed to be Christian (249). David Hume claimed that all knowledge is based upon sense, data, and series of constructs (249). He did not believe in miracles (250). Among other things, it was Hume who had great influence on Immanuel Kant (250).
Along with the enlightenment in England came religious awakening (250). The teaching of John Wesley contrasted with those of the enlightenment, and offered a totally different worldview than secularism (250). Wesley maintained some of the same themes as the Reformation, yet differed on many parts with Luther, Calvin and other reformers (251). His view on the sovereignty of God and man’s choice differed dramatically from the reformers, and taught that there was a place for “autonomous human choice” (250). This “Wesleyan Arminianism became the driving force of British Evangelicalism” (252).
In France, Descartes suggested that the only truth one can absolutely know is that they exist; this truth should be the foundation and beginning for all philosophy (254). Though Descartes did have God play a part in knowledge, God’s place was just a tool or bridge in his reasoning (256). Though claiming to be a theist, Voltaire was hostile to Christianity and sought to have it removed from France (256). Blaise Pascal was an apologetic who defended a Catholic movement called “Jansenism” (258). He opposed the teaching of Descartes and offered that “it is the heart that perceives God, not the reason.” (259). He believed that Scripture is the standard and authority for true knowledge (259). He also was the one who coined the idea of “Pascal’s Wager” where, in short, it is most rational to wager that God does exist and win eternal life than to wager that he doesn’t exist and be proven wrong (259). Along with Jansenism came a group called “The anti-philosophes” (260). They were against the Enlightenment, and sought to recover tradition and go back to traditional Catholicism (261).
In Germany the Pietists, similar to the Anabaptists and in response to intellectualism, believed Christianity to be a practical faith (262). They placed emphasis on experience and taught that true faith manifests itself into practices that ended up leading to moralistic, legalistic lifestyle (263). Immanuel Kant, in light of growing up in a Pietist home, became one of the greatest influences in Enlightenment thinking (264). Kant was a rationalist who believed that the authority of reason is in autonomy (265). He taught that ethics do not come from divine authority, but from the autonomy of reason (267).
Thomas Paine influenced the United States people (and particularly affected its form of government) away from religion towards human autonomy and liberty (272). It was Thomas Jefferson who “spell[ed] out in the Declaration of Independence…the rights of revolution on which both theists and deists could agree”.
Jonathan Edwards defended the Great Awakening from those who were skeptical (273). In his defence, he was caught in between two extremes of Christianity: those who deluded their hearers, and those who saw Christianity as “simply a matter of cognitive belief” (273). He argued that a fruit of serving God and loving what God loves is happiness, because he God is the greatest being (277).
Both the enlighteners and the awakeners believed their worldview to be of such importance that it affected life both publicly and privately (278). Because they believed their worldview had impact on all of life, friction followed, and thus came the beginning of the Culture Wars (278).
Chapter Nine: The Age of Intellectual Iconoclasm:
The Nineteenth Century Revolt Against Theism
by Richard Lints
Thinkers of the 19th Century put faith and reason into opposition from one another and sought to destroy religion (282). Traditional and historical Christianity came under fire, and many who tried to save Christianity actually caused them to abandon Christianity (283). Immanuel Kant, who divided up intellectual inquiry into first facts and data or “science” and secondly faith and trust or “religion”, had a great influence, and was a bridge from the Enlightenment to the revolt against Theism in the 19th century (284). Friedrich Hegel came up with his own form of religious idealism which brought together deism and theism and blended Christianity with Platonism (287). Some followers of his thoughts believed that his teachings could worked with Christianity and others did not; these camps are called right and left “Hegelians” (287).
Ludwig Feuerbach was a left-wing Hegelian and atheist who opposed Christianity (288) and believed that God was a human invention (289). He accused Yahweh of being the original idol of the people of Israel (290). He sought to get rid of all “idols” and to turn the worship to human being (292). Karl Marx had similar views about religion, but unlike Ludwig, Marx had a low-view of human kind (292). Living during the industrial Revolution, he believe that mankind’s worth was based upon what they provided to the economic system (293). People created gods to help them persevere and look forward to a better future (293). He believed that true freedom from oppressors was found in accepting atheism and believing in oneself (294). Charles Darwin, not wanting to appeal to God, came up with the theory of natural selection which says that “Nature selects its own survivors” (296). He believed that all species came from one origin (296). This theory and belief has had one of the greatest influences in science, especially in the western world (298). Sigmund Freud “depicted religion as a psychological disorder that is common to human kind” (298). He believed the that the heart of religious belief was fear, and that religion was created to cease these fears (299.) Friedrich Nietzsche was one of Christianity’s greatest critics (302). He believed that truth and ethics were subjective, and humans created their own meaning and purpose (303). He declared “God is dead” (304). Since there is no God, we cannot say what is true, moral, and good, and therefore it is never necessary to have hope or optimism because in reality life is meaningless (305).
In the 19th century intellectual movements, Romanticism was opposed to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and expressed itself in arts and literature and in appreciation of the beauty of the natural world, emotions, and human experience (306). To them, meaning is found in the “creative spirit” of each individual (306). They were also opposed to religious belief (306). Transcendentalism believed that autonomy was the way to find meaning in life, and that happiness was found in uniting oneself with nature in a transcendent way (307). Idealism was more philosophical than Romanticism and Transcendentalism (308). They believed that ultimate reality is found in ideas and therefore that is all that one can know (308). Theological Liberalism, which holds to a loose view of the Bible and does not believe it to be true and infallible, takes things they like while discrediting other things they do not like (310). Existentialism “was a ideological movement” whose goal was “religion of the heart” (310-311). It emphasize individual freedom, choice and existence (311). Pragmatism taught that “beliefs are to be valued according to their practical consequences” (312).
Though there were “smouldering wicks” of true religious beliefs, for the most part religious belief, at best, was looked down upon in end of the nineteenth-century (313). Instead, too much confidence was put into autonomy and intellectual ideas (314).
Chapter Ten: Philosophy Among the Ruins: The Twentieth Century and Beyond
by Michael W. Payne
There are three major revolutions in the twentieth-century and they include revolution in: Language and epistemology, science, and ethics (321). The revolution in language and epistemology came through the influence of Ludwig Wittgenstein (321). Designative views of language attempt to be objective and avoid subjectivity at all costs, whereas Expressive views of language do not avoid subjectivity (322-226). The Ideal Language approach which includes the Logical Positivists “argued for a sharp distinction between fact and value” for the purpose of being clear and not ambiguous (329). Later, logical positivism was considered self-refuting by most philosophers (331). “Various views of language… express fundamental disagreement about human knowledge of the world and how we are to understand and interpret our place in it” (341).The revolution in science said that “the world-order is based on a lie” (344). Science replaces religion and becomes its own God (344).
Since language is a human invention and is relative, in ethics there is no standard by which to measure goodness or trueness (349), but only one’s perspective or opinion (350). There is therefore nothing which one can look to as a standard for these things, there is no certainty. “The twentieth-century fascination with language is not a passing fad. It is part of a larger revolution in the history of ideas” (355). In sum, “contingency extends to the nature of knowledge and the way we conceive, formulate, and communicate it” (355).