« Home | Why A Blog? » 

Thursday, November 11, 2004 

Why A Blog? Part Two

Let's return to the question posed in the first blog. Why a blog? Why now? And why call it "Christ and Culture?" I think all people who blog feel they have something to say that others need to hear. Some do it for selfish gain, some for popularity, some to meet others. So why am I starting one? Well, I am not fully sure. I think I should have done this a long time ago. Doing it now is almost anti-climatic. But, at least I am starting. I want to engage a culture that is lost and dying with a message of truth and of hope. I want to make people think. Now I am not good at thinking myself, but I have found that there are a great number of people out there who actually think less than I. This weekend the new pastor of my home church in Memphis, TN said that to become a teacher all you need is to know more than whoever it is you are teaching. While I agree with this, I think that you can add that you have to make those people you are teaching think. That is the problem with schools today and even with churches. No one wants to really process information. They want it handed to them on a silver platter, they want to memorize it, and then they want to spit it out when needed. Giving that information a critical eye is not in their interests.

But, I digress. For many of you the information that follows is an insult to your time. You may know all of these things, but my vision for this weblog is for those who don't know or who need a refresher course. So for those of you like Krelly or Sampler, just remember not to come down on me too hard for my simplistic and boring explanations. So here we go.

Back to what I was saying about people not really processing information. Bloom's Taxonomy teaches that there are 6 levels of learning -- Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. From the last election we can learn that many never get to the Evaluation stage. People cannot evaluate whether the information that they are hearing is correct, coherent, and consistent. As I said in the previous blog I want to review for those reading the tests for a worldview (which can be applied to almost any argument). But first we must understand the three principles of logic, which are identity, contradiction, and excluded middle. To explain these concepts I am going to refer to Winfried Corduan, who writes in his book No Doubt About It:

"The principle of identity states that a thing or a statement is identical with itself. In other words, this tree is this tree. The principle of contradiction states that if something is true, its contradiction cannot also be true. If it is true that this is a tree, then it must be false that it is not a tree. The principle of excluded middle states that it must be one or the other. Either it is a tree or a non-tree; there is no middle ground between the two."

These principles are important to remember when you engage a culture that deconstructs everything to the point that even identity is no longer a valid principle. This logic is all a part of the postmodern culture in which we live today. Now the ways to assess a worldview must take into consideration these basic principles. They are (according to Robert Stewart of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary):

1) Coherence -- Is it contradictory?
2) Correlation -- Does it seem to match our reality?
3) Comprehensiveness -- How well does it account for all of life?
4) Consistency -- Can you live it?

So, these are some beginning things that I believe all people need to know in order to assess arguments and worldviews. We must have a foundation of philosophy if we are going to be able to discuss ideas, especially those which have to do with politics and theology. I noticed so many times during the course of this last election that even Ivy League-educated political candidates have a hard time keeping their ideas within the realm of logical argumentation and certainly do a poor job of noticing flaws in their opponents' rationale.

Well, that is about all for tonight. Most of you probably didn't make it all the way through, but hopefully you will use this for reference in the future. Maybe I should post some common logical fallicies as well, just in case you notice me using one. Thanks for reading,

Soli Deo Gloria,

Those four criteria look logical and sound to me. Oh, that we could all live philosophies that met these four.

I'll be watching for them in your arguments on war-making (I've seen some of your comments so far), as I think this is one area where many pro-war christians fall far behind.

One further thought on your four principles: I like them pretty well AS LONG AS #4 (can you live it?) isn't used as an escape clause.

For instance, many people say that they "can't live without a car - or two..." when what they mean is they don't want to structure their lives in such a way as to live without a car.

With that caveat in place, I heartily endorse these four criteria as standards for fashioning our belief systems.


1) These criteria are for mainly for assessing a worlview and so often it is hard to evaluate every single argument of the basis of them, since they are self-referential in some way.
2) I am not pro-war. In am just not anti-war and there is a difference. I would oppose any war that was entered into outside of the bounds of Just War theory. But upon entering into a conflict that appears just and requires somewhat immediate action, I think we should support our governments in doing so until the conflict is over. That does not mean we do not oppose wrong acts committed within warfare or actions that defy our original intent in the conflict. But, I do desire that all other means be exhausted to the extent that they can without compromising our integrity. In regard to Iraq, the first problem was that the sanctions were violated time and time again and if we had not attacked then our integrity would be at stake. Hussein was acting as a child who thinks they can get away with anything and thus the atrocities that took place there and the potential for great atrocities taking place were they to get WMD's would have continued. That was the first reason I supported this war and the reason why I think those in the international community who did not go with us did so against the best interests of the entire UN and world.

But that was indeed a tangent.

3) When Dr. Stewart says, "Can I live it out?" he is saying that in regard to an overall living out of the principles behind the philosophy. For instance, postmodernism, in so much that it teaches relativism and that relativism leads to skepticism, skepticism cannot be lived out in a world of monetary transactions, mathmatics, and science. Those people cannot have a thorough-going postmodern philosophy. They must believe in some type of absolute truth and reject relativism at a point. That means that at some point postmodernism fails to meet the test #4, as well as tests #2 and #3. That is what I mean by live out.

You may be way over my head, I'm just a poor working fella and probably know not of which I speak.

But, I'm not entirely sure pomo embraces wholesale relativism and therefore does not necessarily lead to skepticism.

But I'm no philosopher, not a defender of postmodernism, since I don't know exactly what that entails (although I do know I've been accused of it), so take it for what it's worth. I'm just not sure of your logic, there.

Sounds a bit cut and dried and cut and dried is rarely fair and accurate, in my experience.

Let's take on war some other time, maybe an email. But for what it's worth, I know that very few define themselves as pro-war, just willing to kill if they deem it necessary.

Post a Comment

About me