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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Monday, November 1 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster


POV is "point of view" as used as the name of a PBS series of programs. Those who want to think post-modernly may consider POV something you can adopt and use for a specific project in theory (writing, debating, teaching), then discard. For our purposes, however, I'm using POV as a worldview, a matrix in which you can consider and analyze, study, explain and use in the development of a larger piece of theoretical work.

Last time, I said some such matrixes are secular humanism, Christianity (at least philosophically), Taoism, a general theism, deism, materialism, and naturalism. In the culture war to win the heart and soul of America, secular humanism has pitted itself most evidently against Christianity. Secular humanists think they are "thoroughly modern Millies," and consider Christianity to be superstitious, unscientific, outmoded, inevitably going to end up in the ash-heap of civilization. One of its seminal thinkers summed this whole attitude in the shibboleth "religion is the opiate of the masses."

I've done a series on secular humanism here earlier this year so won't belabor it again. But I haven't gone into Christsianity in comparable terms so will undertake that here. Though most Americans consider themselves Christians in some sense (at least culturally, as least "born" and even perhaps "baptized" Christian), most probably have very sketchy ideas of what Christianity may have to offer the world of philosophy, scholarship, scientific thinking.

Some of the strands of Christianity (I'm most familiar with the Reformed Protestant party in this and am not sure how many if any others there may be) consider their highest science what they call "systematic theology." The idea of "systematic theology" is that by comprehending the knowable parts of the godhead and His relationships to the world it's possible to get a scientific handle on everything else in life. But no "theology" is a philosophy, though here we have an attempt to use it that way.

Those who in Reformed theology did the best work in this field were the first to realize a need for a Christian approach to philosophy or, more specifically, a Christian philosophy. Philosophy has various definitions, but here we're speaking of it as an encyclopedic explanation of and approach to the whole creation or cosmos. I can't begin to lay that out here, but when I'm saying Christianity as philosophy is a worldview that can be a screen or filter for looking at all of life, especially for thinking theoretically, we are pointing in this direction.

I will throw out a couple of seminal propositions for your consideration.

1. A Christian worldview is based on three main categories for considering anything and everything. These are creation, fall, and redemption. God created everything. Everything in the temporal (non-heavenly) world is impacted by the fall, the sin of the first-created parents of the human race (Adam and Eve). Everything in the world, especially the descendants of Adam and Eve, but also everything they have been commissioned by God to name, husband, cultivate, and recreate into new potentialities, is anticipating its redemption. The Redeemer, Christ, the new Adam, has already made the first and most essential work required for this to begin, but it is not totally effected until the whole race and the whole creation begins to recognize and worship God in and through Him (which Christians consider eschatological, something awaiting the end of the age at the Second Coming of Christ).

2. God as the sovereign Creator of everything has established boundaries of sovereignty for every entity of creation. I've said before that I'm a strong believer in separation of church and state, but as that has been defined especially in the past 18 months during the Presidential election campaigns, what I mean by that is hardly similar to what the secular humanists doing the theoretical thought on which the Democratic Party builds its platform mean by it. In Reformed Christian philosophy (and incidentally in the view of America's founding fathers) separation of church of state means that God has established a realm of sovereignty for the church, and another, complementary but not overlapping, realm of sovereignty for the governmental, called (in shorthand) "the state." But both are equally under the sovereignty of God, in any Christian approach to the church and the state.

I began to consider these propositions while working on my master's thesis at UCLA circa 1972, and only scratched the surface of their implications for the realm of journalism in my 180-page thesis, published as The Reformation of Journalism. It took me months to let these propositions "sink in" and begin to inform my thinking in myriad ways. But it's my position that a matrix like this, or any matrix such as Taoism or secular humanism, is required to even begin thinking "theoretically" in any constructive way. The payoff of doing that would, of course, be an enriched life and a greater legacy to leave to your heirs.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 



The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

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