Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Must-Read Articles (With Some Commentary)


I cannot recommend this article highly enough. It really captures what a mature Christianity has to offer. I love Audry Assad, and she is one of my favorite Christian music artists and this article really raised her stock in my book. I've always thought that there is a maturity, a humanity about her music that a lot of other Christian artists lack. This article gets the thinness of much of Christianity and the reality of depth exactly right.

Humanism has a lot to teach Christians. So does science. Humanism, and secularism, is right to take the human experience as the starting point of the journey of life. We are, and must admit to being, human beings who are limited in both time and place, and we need processes that limit hubris and the tendency to make ourselves the measure of all things. Such methods only admit of the situation in which we find ourselves, thus science at its best is a humble endeavor, acknowledging the human tendency to bias and prejudice and doing its best to weed as much of that out as it can.

Secular philosophies that put the focus on people and helping people, rightly identify the human experience as the foundation for the moral encounter with the world as well. I matter, other people matter, and there are things I can really do to make the world a better place. But what secular philosophies leave out is what the very experience of me 'mattering' entails. The depth of human life and experience is left by the wayside. This life is indeed the only one I know, but when I really give myself over to this life with reckless abandon, and seek to find a place of genuine meaning and value within it, when I push the human experience as far as it can go I find that it is not self-justifying. There is a depth to life that no secular philosophy rightly illuminates. Science and secularism rightly identify the human element in all knowing and all ways of life, but fail to account for the fact that those ways of life put one in touch with something genuine: genuinely meaningful and genuinely valuable, and so only justifiable by pointing beyond themselves.

Fundamentalists acknowledge the depth and power of life itself, they know that there is more to life than meets the eye and they have a sense of eternity, of meaning and of value, but they lack any sense of the role of the human element in their experience. They acknowledge not cultural bias in their judgments, and fail to see that the experiences that they are basing their lives on are genuinely human experiences. They do this with the Bible: The Bible becomes some product that is solely from God. The fact that human beings wrote it and that their prejudices might have gotten in the way isn't even considered. Everything is one direction, everything is an act of God. There is no element for human creativity, or giving to God, or even really for human experience. All of life: good and evil, pain and pleasure, is solely an act of God. The human element is completely drowned out.

But for some of us the question is whether life, real life as we experience it and know it, doesn't contain within it some beckoning to greater meaning and value. The question is whether this entire human adventure might not contain within it evidence of some divine activity, whether the temporal process doesn't reveal some in-breaking of the eternal. For those of us who think it does, and for those of us who are not ashamed of the human element nor ignorant of it and its perils, the Bible, prayer, meditation, these become for us the medium by which that encounter takes place. They are the vehicle of God's presence, not it's eternal, divinely sanctioned form.


My comments on this article will be briefer. I just want to say how sad it is that so many Christians reject evolution. There is so much more to be gained by embracing it than rejecting it, especially theologically. For a great film that explores that theological richness, I suggest TREE OF LIFE. I really liked this article, especially because they included theological reflections on the ridiculous CREATION MUSEUM by scientists who were also Christians. It was refreshing. There was more of God in this science reporting than in the museum the article is about. 

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