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작성일 : 15-02-12 11:52
Growing a Warranted Faith
 글쓴이 : GFM
조회 : 377  
Growing a Warranted Faith
 
 “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16
 
“I am a spiritual person, but I am not religious,” my new faculty acquaintance remarked when our Faculty Commons group identified ourselves as a Christian faculty network on campus.  He continued, “I am all for tolerance, since faith is just one’s own personal opinion.”  Given the present campus climate, should we be surprised by such viewpoints? But are they based on valid assumptions?
 
Epistemology Happens Whether We Like It or Not
 
What and how someone thinks he knows is the realm of epistemology. While we may not be professional philosophers, as theologian John Polkinghorne exhorts,  “These matters [of epistemology] are too important to be left to the philosophers.” There are essentially three widely held views of what constitutes knowledge:
 
Subjectivism—maintains that meaning is imposed by an individual’s mind without contribution from the object. Post-modernism is an example of such a position asserting that what is perceived is what is real without reference to a “Reality;” everything is narrative, and my narrative is as valid as yours, both of which were shaped by our respective personal history.
Constructivism—also holds that there is not an objective truth to be discovered, but rather meaning is constructed in our consciousness from the engagement of our minds with the world. As a result, there is no actual Truth and the only truth that is relevant is that which “fits” my expectation.
Objectivism—asserts that a meaningful reality exists independently of perception and consciousness. There is an ultimate Reality and such a thing as “Truth.”  Positivism and Critical Realism belong to this category and claim that by observation, logic and empirical testing truth can be deduced from experience.
 
Can these positions all be valid even if they are contradictory? Clearly, someone holding a Subjectivist or Constructivist view will not find compelling an argument based on the existence of the “Truth” of the Bible.  While it is true that faith is an inward persuasion that is based on a narrative—the story of our life and those of other witnesses—there is physical evidence of the truth claims of scripture, as well.  And while it is true that the only relevant persuasions are those a person constructs within his mind, there are historical events (for example the resurrection of Christ) that challenge those presuppositions.
 
A Valid Question that is More Than Preference
 
The world views we hold are important to our scholarship as well as to our ethics and our inner life.  We contend that the assumptions underlying the truth-claims of the gospel are worthy topics of discussion and can be informed by scholarship.  Popular works like Tim Keller’s The Reason for God (see Keller's intro below) and Alister McGrath’s work, Surprised by Meaning, are very helpful and make a case for a warranted faith that is based on evidence.
 
Philosophical discussions are absolutely relevant to scholars in the academy but may appear tangential to the lives of non-academics. Therefore, why not seek a community of faithful scholars on the campus where you can learn together, think together, and fearlessly wrestle with the hard questions posed by the worldviews we encounter in our disciplines?  Faculty Commons can help you foster such dialog and truth-seeking, and begin making a difference on your campus and in your discipline.
-- Sam Matteson, UNT

 
   
 

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