Friday, June 24, 2005

Another Starting Point

Another way of starting the discussion would be to describe what modernity is, and then draw contrasts between modernity and postmodernity.

As I see it, modernity is the culmination of a way of observing the world. This perspective begins with the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, who sought to apply mathematics to logic and metaphysics. It comes down to us through Socrates and Plato and Aristotle, etc., then particularly through Descartes:

"Descartes was a mathematician above everything else; a geometrician with a taste for metaphysics rather than a philosopher with a leaning for geometry and algebra. Indeed, his philosophy simply aims to be a generalization of mathematics; it is his ambition to apply the geometric method to universal science, to make it the method of metaphysics" (Weber, from preceding post).

"Those long chains of reasoning, quite simple and easy, which geometers are wont to employ in the accomplishment of their most difficult demonstrations, led me to think that everything which might fall under the cognizance of the human mind might be connected together in the same manner" (Descartes, from preceding post).

This way of looking at the world--as if all of reality was a mathematical equation, as if the totality of reality could be reduced and described objectively--characterizes modernity. It also serves as the foundation of most Evangelical approaches to Scripture.

This approach to Scripture no longer meets the needs of the world the Church must confront.


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