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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Friday, November 5 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Frame of reference

My point in this series exploring ways to think theoretically (analytically, critically, scientifically) is not to promote any particular worldview but, by talking about the worldviews most familiar to me to encourage the development of such frames of reference for you.

What is your worldview? Do you have a systemic or systematic explanation of why and how the cosmos exists and what your purpose as a citizen of that universe might be? Is it possible for you to think anything through, or is it enough just to consider what's in your best interest for today or this year, without considering your whole life?

In Wednesday I presented the Christian formulas of creation-fall-redemption, and of sovereign spheres of creation as a gateway to an encyclopedic philosophy. There are two other Christian frames of reference that are more accessible and are held, more or less consistently, by far more thinkers in the world than the specialized ones introduced on Wednesday. These frameworks are 1) being guided by the Bible, and 2) being guided by the church.

Many critics say the Bible is an inconsistent self-contradictory collection of legends, stories, myths and genealogies, that may give some insight into what ancient people thought of themselves and their gods, but which is too mythological to be helpful for modern living.

But from the time of Christ onward Christians have had a much higher view of the Bible as a systematic guide to every facet of life. Jesus said of the Scriptures that he was raised with, in His most famous sermon, "not a jot nor a tittle [not the smallest part] shall pass away until all of it is fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18) and "the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:36). The Jews who recited Psalms in their worship liturgies were taught the words of David, "Your (God's) word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). And a recurring theme of the New Testament is summarized best by these words of the Apostle: "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17), and "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

In the time of Luther, Calvin, and Cranmer (16th Century A.D.) Protestant Christians regained the sense of the early church that the Bible is the most dependable guide to life. Since Vatican II (1962-65), and especially in the completely revised Catechism released by Pope John Paul II in 1995, the Catholic Church has established a much higher view and place in the life of all Christians for the Scriptures, saying "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit." In Catholicism and in Orthodoxy, the Tradition of the Church stands alongside Scripture, but both maintain that all teaching of the church must accord with the Scriptures, which are both more ancient and more highly codified and accessible than the more nebulous Tradition.

In other words, Christian communions generally recommend Holy Scripture as a unified frame of reference for living: a worldview. I'll continue with this next time.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Correction: Wednesday's Jonal cited a novel by Ellen Myers as The Refiner's Fire. I have since been reminded that the title was Reprobate Silver.


Birds of a feather flock together, and then crap on your car.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Thought for today

Every time I close the door on reality it comes in through the windows.

Jennifer Unlimited  

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