Faith vs. Knowledge (3)

We’re on now to considering Willard’s argument of Christianity – especially in the West – encouraging a new definition of knowledge.  In modern times, we have allowed science to redefine what it means to know something.  Religion is relegated to mere belief or commitment (23).  Need proof?  Check out Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion or Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great

Of course the idea of religion being seen as simple superstition didn’t happen over night.  The Church was at one time the center of the community (local or at large).  Policies and laws were once installed only after consulting with the Church.  However, that is no longer the case.  In fact, the Church is often seen as the “enemy” or “behind the times.”  Willard believes the Church becomes impotent when there is no longer a discussion about what constitutes knowledge.  In other words, within education, secular schools are believed to have knowledge.  But Christian schools are uncomfortable claiming the same knowledge.  Again, it goes back to the Church buying into the definition of knowledge being altered.  Eventually, the Church no longer had a place around the table for an honest discussion.  Does Willard make his case?  It seems so.

During the Enlightenment – a period when man believed he became much smarter – liberal theology divorced itself from knowledge and claimed faith was much greater than what could be proven.  Eventually, this led to social ethics.  On the other end of the spectrum, knowledge and religion were perceived as works, which leads to a whole new set of problems.  You might be picturing a slippery slope in your mind.  If so, it would be accurate.  Religion and faith had been pushed aside even by Christians.

Willard then turns his attention to the tolerance/intolerant discussion.  If one believes they have knowledge no one else has, they are seen as fundamental, dogmatic, and intolerant.  Others are seen as simply ignorant or infidels.  Although I don’t have the space to adequately offer what Willard says here, I would encourage those of you with the book to review pages 26-29.  Although it is true that many intolerant people claim absolute knowledge, the blanket statement/idea is a straw man at best.

Here is the point:  Christians have bought into the idea that knowledge is only knowledge if it can be proven by today’s modern scientific analysis.  We’ve done this to our own detriment.  That’s why it is imperative that we define knowledge not based on scientific data but on what we know by experience. 

Next Time: Gain Knowledge or Perish

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6 Responses to “Faith vs. Knowledge (3)”

  1. Clearly an example of a life in the absence of Gods love. (The God Delusion) Superiority as an excuse to ignore Gods creation and the nature of our heavenly father. (relating to the short video) I haven’t read the book.

    • I pray for Mr. Dawkins often Diane. Thanks for reading.

      • Brother, into the the rabbit hole! I have personal knowledge that most places men’s thinking has gone that it without GOD’S word is condemed! I agree with the statement that the importance of the church has been be-littled. But even the fore-fathers of our nation understood the importance of reliegion in building this great nation(In GOD we trust). It is man’s wanting and needing(Flesh), that has brought him to a point in time where he thinks he is greater than or equal to GOD! To Have faith one has to to have personal experiences and therefore knowledge(You have to know, you know you know!-Quote). I know that when GOD is absence in my life, I feel empty! Man without GOD is no man at all!

    • Larry,
      You make some valid points. Many of our forefathers were Christians, Deists, or had Christian leanings. I do appreciate your comment in regards to the arrogance of man – especially in the time of the Enlightenment. As a parent, I can believe there are times God sees the trouble we’re getting ourselves into. However, He wants us to learn from our mistakes. Therefore,He lets us fall on our face.

  2. When I reflect back on some torrent times in my life, symbolically, I could feel my hair and my flesh slashing around in the storm, but my feet felt firmly rooted to the ground. I could always feel the presence of God with me: Not because I could prove that He was there – but because He had proven to me in times when I did not have roots, that the God that I had been seeking out is the one that makes all things new, makes all things good, is sovereign until the end of time and would always be even until the end of me here on earth… Is this the type of knowledge that the book says schools and others are uncomfortable claiming? And is it saying that if we profess this type of knowledge – in schools or the politics, that we would be considered intolerant, dogmatic, and so forth – and that it is now only safe to claim those things inside the four walls of our church?

    I’m so glad you are summarizing the book because I have had to read it pretty slowly to digest it all – Reading this book has made me reflect all the things in my life that I thought I knew… but now I ask myself “do I really KNOW…?” And it’s awful and it’s awesome all at once, because I realize how much I actually do not really know and how much more I want to know.

    • Maria,
      It sounds like you understand what Willard is saying. The Church has allowed the secularists to influence in a way where we no longer speak. Sad really! I’m glad you’re reading. Great book!

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