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Loving God with All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern…

af Gene Edward Veith

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1971103,448 (3.67)Ingen
Christians must address contemporary thinking-they can not only grapple with new ideas without compromising their faith, but Christianity provides a superior basis for pursuing knowledge than do competing worldviews.

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LT Loving God with All Your Mind : thinking as a Christian in the postmodern world, Veith, Gene Edward, Wheaton, Ill. : Crossway Books, c2003, 7/4-8/18
Recommended by Lewis Carl

Theme: the place of the mind in Christianity (our relationship to Christ and the world)
Type: nonfiction, philosophy
Value: 1-
Age: adult (mature thinker)
Interest: 1- (for those interested)
Objectionable: very little! Has Mother Teressa in heaven (not purgatory)
Synopsis/Noteworthy:

Structures for dealing with ideas is purpose of book 8
Vocation—God gives various gifts to individuals and expects them to be salt and light where He has placed them 8
Understand Bible through law-grace (versus principles) 9, 92
University of Babylon 31-32, 36, 101-113, 152
Accreditation—as example of creative solution to initially objectionable state expectations 35
Christian education—says place for but admits not giving it much attention 42, 111, 130-131, 155
Attacked on all sides, Christianity is, for contradictory reasons, Chesterton 43
Jesus is universally attractive 46-47
Studying nature is what God loves and expects for man to do! 56

Traditional versus progressive 67ff, 94 (see below)
Construct idolatry on creation versus the word of God 71
Skepticism is a necessary and a great tool 72-75, 88, 144
Unbelief is caused by sin (especially immorality) 77

Proverbs 18:1 78 (RSV) “He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment.”
Self-righteousness is a balm to guilt (for unsaved and saved) 80, 88-89
To want to change society necessitates a preceding ideal toward which to work (Chesterton) 85
Social activism is what Christians always have done, but it should be more a function of one’s vocation than his local church 86
Salvation is not by moral behavior but by death and resurrection of Christ 88
We must be experiencing “perpetual revolution” against evil (Chesterton) 88
Destroying strongholds is more one of tearing down (negativity) versus building up 92-93
Daniel 101ff, 113, 136-137 He (and they) was ten times better!
Catholic Encyclopedia 110 most up to date regarding critiquing philosophic ideas (like modernism)
Creator-created divide needs maintained, which is where environmentalism breaks down 116
Primal sin 121 “be like God,” wanting to (pride, self-will)
Virtual reality 121 “For postmodernists, every reality is a virtual reality, programed by someone else or by their own imaginations.”
Hard courses are not taken, resulting from postmodern view that everybody is to decide for himself what is important, so the most popular classes become those “most entertaining and least demanding. As a result, ‘boring’ and difficult classes, such as foreign languages, mathematics, and the hard sciences, have trouble finding students.” 122
Humanities and sciences both flourish with biblical worldview “a Christian can find a conceptual basis for valuing and pursuing the whole range of human knowledge” 125
Rationality 129 “Since the mind of God has designed what He has created, there must be a certain rationality in the universe.” ?!
What God created is good—not just because He made it, but because He declared it so! 130-131
Why we must study all of creation, including psychology, philosophy, social sciences, art (“gazing into the heart of the mystery of creation”) 135
Both-and 138-139
Pink 148
Some people have more responsibility to be covering the academic piece of the body of Christ 154 (C. S. Lewis)
Learning kept alive by local churches 154

LCA what it means to be educated using Daniel as the protype 28-29, traditional/progressive 67, learn from wisdom of the past (and present) through books (digitize, application) 108, improve rigor of Christian academics 111, students elect easy and entertaining 122

CBC withdraw or compromise (false dichotomy) 11, what it means to be educated using Daniel as the protype 28-29, bad experiences can make bitter 50, Einstein said that science can help attain goals but cannot determine them 61, modernism/post-modernism explanation 62, political activism is not primary function of the church 86, resources available in the local church are huge 97, worldliness—the desire to be socially acceptable 98-101, importance of Christian fellowship 101ff, local church importance 106, habit or obedience 134, rationalists think in terms of either/or and Greeks think golden mean while Christianity thinks both-and (paradoxes) 138-139, conclusion (“…it must mean thinking about God—being conscious of Him in everyday living, contemplating His presence and His goodness, saturating our minds with His Word” 149-150, “Christians with academic gifts need to use them to defend the Christian s who do not have them” (responsibility) 153

K 9, LCA 28-29, separation 31, 35, Pro 18:1 78, people to read 109/145, sum 146

Lauren 13 sum, separation 31-32? Ten times! 36/136-137, secular 42-43, 43-45, bad experience 50, witness 52, 67-69 traditional/progressive, 69 RCC, world acceptance 98-101ff, advantage 114, 116, Buddhism
128-129, 138-141 both-and

Ricky 141, 144-146
DLS 145

X Social activism is not function of church 86, Mother Teressa 103? Will of God? 151
Loving God with All Your Mind by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

Chapter 6 – Traditionalists and Progressives
67 – There seem to be two different styles or emphases in the intellectual world today. Each has different values. Each will attack Christianity in a different way. At the same time, each can support Christianity in a different way.

A university, for example, has two functions. It first must preserve the accumulated knowledge and experience of the civilization and transmit that heritage to future generations. This is its traditionalist function. Without it, every generation would have to start over again from nothing. Knowledge builds on itself, so that today we stand on a pyramid of past discoveries. And yet the weight of the past, the vast body of received learning, could well stifle and prevent new knowledge. There must also be an element of resistance to the past, of questioning and rethinking, so that new ideas can add to and change the edifice of the past. In other words, there must also be a progressive function. Without it, we would be satisfied with what we already know, or think we know, and inquiry, curiosity, and research would cease.

Both the traditionalist and the progressive functions are extremely important and valuable. Although they seem to be opposites, they are complementary. They exist in tension but in harmony at the same time. In a university some professors will be traditionalists. Others will be progressives. Some scholars will have elements of both. One can find modernists and postmodernists in either camp. (Ironically, though postmodernists are busy deconstructing truth-claims, putting them in the progressive camp, they tend to be more open to the past than the modernists, for whom the new is always better than the old, a progressive view postmodernists dispute.)

A healthy intellectual culture needs to contain both styles, both those who preserve their tradition and those who add to [develop] it.

Traditionalism
68 – In colleges, Christian professors do exist. In fact, students may be surprised how many they are and how often they turn up.

69 – Traditionalist professors may show some impatience with evangelical students who sometimes lightly ignore the Church’s historical dimension. To traditionalists, many evangelicals seem extremely modernist or postmodernist in their emphasis on self and on emotionalism. Many Christian academics come close to committing assault and battery on their evangelical students who ask hopelessly simple-minded questions: “But was St. Francis of Assisi a Christian?” “Exactly when did Milton come forward at an altar call to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior?” “If Bunyan was really such a good Christian, why didn’t he pray in faith so that God would let him out of prison?”

There is great superficiality in today’s evangelical world. Many Bible-believing Christians share the contemporary taste for self-gratification, emotionalism, and anti-intellectualism. Many people who believe in the Bible have never read it. Evangelicals need to understand the point of such criticisms and to let their faith deepen and mature. Despite such quarrels, traditionalists will often be the evangelicals’ closest allies. They will nearly always respect orthodox Christian positions more than liberal ones.

70 – It is important, though, for Christianity to maintain its inherent radicalism. Christianity is not simply another cultural institution. Christianity is sometimes assimilated by the culture and turned into simply another mythology that exists to give a divine aura to human institutions. The Bible makes clear that all such institutions—cultures, laws, political systems, works of art, human authorities—stand under the judgment of God.

71 – Traditionalists must be careful lest “for the sake of your tradition, you [make] void the word of God” (Matthew 15:6). They must not “hold to the tradition of men” in such a way that they “leave the commandment of God” (Mark 7:8). When this distinction is kept in mind, however, traditions and the words and works of human beings through the ages can be valued in their proper place.

Progressivism
72 – Universities and the intellectual vocations exist not only to conserve and perpetuate the knowledge of the past. They also exist to question that knowledge, to develop new ideas and revolutionary technologies. This is the function of progressivism.

Skepticism is an important intellectual tool. Accepted wisdom and tried and true answers must be subjected to critical scrutiny. New discoveries must always be searched for. Otherwise, the intellectual venture stops. Progressives emphasize the dynamic process of learning. They stress the changes in knowledge, the reinterpretation of evidence, the discovery of new facts and new hypotheses to explain them. Progressives are probably the most scathing critics of Christianity, which they tend to see as one of the old ideas they seek to discredit. Still, Christians can learn from them and can even adopt their methods in a biblical way.

Many progressive theologians, such as Paul Tillich, have gone further, insisting that questioning and searching is the sum of the spiritual life.

Another antirational tendency of progressivism is what C. S. Lewis terms “chronological snobbery.” In this view, anything new is preferred over anything that is old. Ideas are evaluated not according to logic or evidence but by the calendar. New or fresh ideas are assumed to be innately superior to old or traditional ideas. The worse thing that can be said about any idea is that it is outdated. If anything is labeled avant garde, or the wave of the future, or revolutionary or modern, or, better yet, postmodern, it will be accepted not only uncritically but almost naively.

73 – At its most superficial, progressivism involves the same mind-set encountered by Paul in the Athenians, who “would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21).
74 – God’s Word does not change, but everything else does.

Human institutions, governments, laws, monuments, religions, and customs are all under the judgment of God and will “pass away” (v. 8).

Christians can and must subject any human creation and institution to the most skeptical and critical scrutiny. They dare not make anything made by sinful human beings into a sacred absolute. The progressive function is thus open to Christians in a profound way.

Herbert Schneidau argues that the openness of Western civilization to change, its refusal to accept institutions or ideas as eternal, the very spirit of critical inquiry nourished by our intellectual heritage, is due directly to the influence of the Bible.

75 – Human institutions may not pass themselves off as divine. There is a moral law that transcends the social system. Even the king must obey the Law of God.

When the prophets denounced the idols of the Canaanites and insisted that the worshipers of the one God must never conform to the ways of the mythological cultures that surrounded them, when they insisted that the king of Israel himself must change his ways or suffer the wrath of God, they were establishing critical thinking, iconoclasm, and active change as a vital part of the Western mind.

Believers of the Bible can therefore be progressives, not by rejecting biblical absolutes, but precisely by applying them to human culture. God’s Word has a caustic, corrosive effect on idols of all kinds. Any human pretensions to having constructed absolute truth—whether a scientific model, a philosophical system, a historical interpretation, or a political program—fall short when exposed to the radical critique offered by the absolute truth of Scripture.
  keithhamblen | Jul 19, 2018 |
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