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In session 4 (The Kingdom and Wholeness) of our upcoming Imaginative Mission Intensive at Burrabadine we will look at the way our society got itself into a nasty pickle by asserting that there is only one way of knowing: what NT Wright calls the ‘privileged position given to science and its “test-tube epistemology**”‘. It was because of this assumption that the West found itself trying to manage a ‘split’ personality where it talked of faithfulness and truth in the realm of work and science (downstairs) but it was ‘every man for himself’ in the realm of values (upstairs). As a result we were forced down the road of cold pragmatism where we now live—the no-man’s-land between ‘fact’: what can be measured, and ‘value’: what ‘cannot be measured’ and therefore by implication ‘does not exist’. This is what thinkers are now describing as a crisis of meaning, or, as another writer has described it, ‘a crisis of integrity.’1 ‘Most people function as modernists and post-modernists, depending on the context … they live fragmented lives … the opposition between facts and values has become the main obstacle to living as whole persons with a consistent, coherent philosophy of life.’2 It explains why you get ‘that look’ when you begin to talk of meaning, faithfulness and love in certain contexts—your hearer is nervous because you’re talking of what is not supposed to exist.

1. Pearcey N. Saving Leonardo p.44 B&H Publishing 2010

2. Ibid p.29

* unsure of the source for this quote, which sums up the Logical Positivism of Dawkins & co. that was discredited long ago by another—then—atheist philosopher, Anthony Flew

** epistemology is the study of the justification of belief

 

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