Thursday, February 06, 2014

Thoughts on Chapter 1 of The End of Apologetics

Here are some quotes from Chapter One, Apologetic Amnesia of The End of Apologetics by Myron Penner.

Philosophical modernism and the Enlightenment is marked by an attempt to free human thought from its dependence on external sources - such as traditions, assumptions, or other authorities - for the grounds of belief.
In the modern philosophical paradigm, then reason forms what I will call the "objective-universal-neutral complex".  ....No longer is reason thought of as the structuring feature of the world external to the human mind, as in the premodern view.  Instead, reason is internal to (and possessed only by) human beings in a way that is universal, objective, and neutral.
It is true that postmodern perspectives usually understand human consciousness and rationality as the product of the cultural, social, linguistic, psychological, and other historical forces at work in a person's concrete situation.
For my part, I believe postmodernism functions as a genuine critique of modernity and its atheistic impulses.  This means that postmodernism has a relative value to Christians who are trying to think in different categories than the inherited modern values and assumptions that shape our culture. 


Postmodernism makes the point which is undeniable to me that we are deeply dependent on our environment and personal history etc.  Up until ten years ago, I still held to the belief that a person could, if they were disciplined and honest enough, be objective and neutral.  I still think that is what a person should try to be.  It is a goal to strive toward.  It seems to me that to a large extent science, engineering and technology are based on it.  To properly practice these one has to do that.  If you design a bridge or a medical device and it does not work properly it could lead to human suffering on the part of others as well as oneself.  Such consequences aid mental honesty and discipline.  When it comes to religion and politics however, one can state just about any thing and there are no direct consequences of this type.  It seems there are financial and personal incentives to do and say almost anything from whichever perspective, however extreme. 

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