Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What drives my thinking

I have been doing some thinking about my own thinking as of late. A few things are driving this latest round of reflection.

For one, I am now regularly teaching an apologetics class at church. It is a great honor and blessing. The honor is not that I get to hear me yap or have a position or anything worthless like that. The honor is that I get to use my gifts in service to the church. I get to do what I do well (or at least what I do best, and that may not say much) to help others think about their faith. It has been a long time since I was first introduced to this way of thinking, and there have been many changes along the way.

Second, many of my theological views have adjusted along the way, and the "Cartesian Anxiety Syndrome" I had, that fear of not having absolute certainty, has certainly faded. Arguments which I once gave a lot of credit to (C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity Moral Argument) have become suspect while I have a lot more respect for other arguments.

Third, I see some major problems in American Evangelicalism. The unholy alliance between the evangelical church and political conservatism is killing the church's witness. Christian ethics used to be critiqued for holding onto the values of humility, forgiveness, altruism, and turning the other cheek. Gee, if only I could defend Christianity from those "charges." But now, we are critiqued for valuing hate, exclusion, war, greed, and oppression. The worse part about it, however, is that it is not slander. The charges stick. They don't stick to the Bible, they bounce off the Gospel, but they cling to the church (note that this is a little hyperbolic, but only a little). I see that now, and by reflecting on how I came to see it I might be able to show others.

So, with all this describing why I am thinking about my thinking, what have I thought about my thoughts?

I will only mention this right now. I realized that non-Christians have knowledge to offer. I went to a very liberal school, and I saw all sides of liberalism. I saw its anger, its selfishness, its attitude, its atheism, its relativism, etc... But I also saw moral concerns. A moral concern for the environment. A moral concern for the oppressed. The moral aspects of economics. How American foriegn policy is corrupted with hubris. Those were legitimate moral concerns, concerns that the church did not seem to be paying adequate attention to. Second, I found that I could not only incorporate those concerns into my Christian worldview, but that I could give them a better footing. Take the environment. Seeing the world as God's creation gives it value (in a way that naturalism cannot account for). Our status as God's image bearers comes with a responsibility to care for our home. In Christianity I can not only account for our continuity with nature (like the New Age spiritualists do, justifying environmental concern because we are all "one") insofar as "from dust we were formed;" I can also account for our special responsibilities to creation insofar as we are distinct.

This is only part of it.

No comments: