A bit of dialectic | VailDaily.com

A bit of dialectic

Bod Branden

Many thanks to Gene Bammel for responding to “Truth” in our series of worldview commentaries. And many thanks to the Vail Daily for running the articles. As we stated in our opening article, our purpose was to get people to think, particularly about their worldview. At least some of our goal is being realized, for Gene is in the business of thinking. Let me address the issues Gene helpfully raised.First, as to the straw man charge, I respectfully disagree. This series on worldview was born out of a radio show on evil, during which one the guests began addressing the subject by claiming, up front, that all things are relative. I posit that this doctor got that idea from higher education. Then I turn on the television and watch the attorney for the lunatic professor, Ward Churchill, state that the committee recommending his termination has their truth while Ward has his truth. What? There is one truth and Churchhill plagiarized and fabricated at length. The reason the attorney can even begin this defense is because our culture has been watered down on the very idea of truth. Finally, the philosophers I briefly mentioned in my article have been fairly represented. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go read them. They are attacking the very idea of truth. This is not a straw man.Second, as is evident by now, I believe the Christian worldview and common sense go hand in hand. Common sense tells me truth is absolute. That was one of the points in my article. Even in his gracious response, Gene validates my claim. The phrase “the fact is” assumes a view of absolute truth. Otherwise the term “fact” can not be used. Likewise the phrase, “what is really going on within the atom,” with its use of the adverb “really,” assumes a view of absolute truth. Another point I made was that truth can not be studied in isolation. Authority and love are necessary to the idea of truth. Gene, given the space restraints of our venue, chose to interact with the authority concept. Therefore, let me quickly dispense with the examples offered which presumably weakened my authority, the Bible, and then move on to clarify a broader cultural issue. Keep in mind that the series continues with the topics of evolution, resurrection, prophecy, and evil and so some discussion will await those opportunities.Gene states, “We use our human reason to decide what is true in the Bible and what is purely pertinent to a given time and place,” and then proceeds to reference some passages from Exodus and Leviticus. Is Gene saying “what is true in the Bible” and “what is purely pertinent to a given time and place” are necessarily different things? My position would be that it is absolutely true that God said these things to Israel around the year 1400 B.C. How we apply them today is a related but very different matter. Common sense tells me the meaning of a passage is not the same as an application of a passage, especially given the fact that God has revealed a great many things since the year 1400 B.C. Gene, you are invited to church with us to see how we handle these truths.But Gene’s response provides a perfect opportunity to lay bare what I believe is fatally plaguing our culture. Following the lead of Nancy Pearcey in “Total Truth,” I see a fatal dichotomy between heart and brain being fostered in our learning institutions which has been swallowed hook, line and sinker. Unmasked, it looks like this:Heart: Personal preferences, individual choices, nonrational, noncognitive,subjectiveBrain: Scientific facts, binding on everyone, rational, verifiable, objectiveUnder the category of “heart” goes religion, any religion. They are all serving, equally well, the same purposes reflected by the items in the category. Hence the upcoming columns on resurrection and prophecy clearly distinguishing Christianity from other religions. Under the category of “brain” goes physics, chemistry and biology. And we are taught that there is an impenetrable wall of separation between these two categories. One of my purposes is to break down this wall. I don’t just believe Christianity is true; I believe it is totally true. This is why I took the time to write an article on truth and its absolute nature. These articles are for Christians, as well as non-Christians, in our society. We have too many Christians walking around who are comfortably numb to the dichotomy above. They come to church on Sunday and think that every thing is OK. For many of them, it’s not OK. The belief that on Sunday Jesus is true, while on Monday through Saturday materialism is true, is fatal.As to the role of science in a worldview, I embrace it. I love learning truths about God’s creation. However, I totally reject what we might call “scientism” with the accompanying dichotomy of heart and brain, and its dogmatic belief in Darwinism. Darwin was wrong, and Darwinism is not science but rather a worldview. Hence the following article on evolution.I thank Gene for his encouragement, but I will continue to stake my chances on a person who is never wrong, Jesus Christ my Lord.Bob Branden, Ph.D. in New Testament studies, is the pastor of the newly founded Eagle Bible Church, which meets Sunday mornings in the Eagle Valley High School auditorium. He plans to write a series of commentaries on worldviews.Vail, Colorado

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