Thursday, August 26, 2004

But They're Not Making a Habit of It

Sadly, Fischer's column is a lonely exception to the unceasing deluge of stupidity that provides Breakpoint's normal fare. In this column, devoted to the question of how we can be certain the Gospel is true, T.M. Moore uncorks one of the daffiest paragraphs I've read in a long time:


But why should we accept logical compulsion or experimental repeatability as criteria for truth? After all, are these not the very criteria for truth that postmodern critics are eager to throw overboard? Such criteria for proof of truth, having had nearly three centuries to make their case for a better world, have failed to meet this most important qualification. The modernist worldview, with its truth criteria of logic and demonstration, reason and science, has not made the world better, except, perhaps, in the grossest of material terms. Rather, it has given birth to more immorality, inhumanity, and savaging of the environment than any previous era. Why should we, who proclaim a Gospel of peace and newness, be any more willing to embrace such criteria as validaters of truth than our skeptical postmodern neighbors are?


Let's break this down:


  • But why should we accept logical compulsion or experimental repeatability as criteria for truth? In other words, why should we go through the bother of gathering evidence and drawing sound inferences from that evidence when it is so much easier to just believe whatver the hell we want? I mean, is Moore seriously suggesting that assertions provable in the mathematical or scientific sense should not be regarded as true?

  • After all, are these not the very criteria for truth that postmodern critics are eager to throw overboard? When did postmodern critics become so respectable in Christian circles? Or any circles for that matter.

  • Such criteria for proof of truth, having had nearly three centuries to make their case for a better world, have failed to meet this most important qualification. Is this English? The most important qualification for criteria for proof of truth is that they make a case for a better world? How do criteria for proof of truth go about making a case for anything?

  • The modernist worldview, with its truth criteria of logic and demonstration, reason and science, has not made the world better, except, perhaps, in the grossest of material terms. Making the world better in gross material terms is nothing to sneeze at. Somehow I don't think Moore would be willing to give up a single one of the technological contrivances that make our day-to-day lives far more pleasant today than they were for any prescientific people. I think Moore's point here is that science and reason do little to improve humanity's spiritual condition or collecitve sense of morality. Since science addresses “is” and not “ought”, this is rather like criticizing a hammer for doing a bad job of sawing wood.

  • Rather, it has given birth to more immorality, inhumanity, and savaging of the environment than any previous era. Pure nonsense. There is no more immorality or inhumanity in the modern world than in previous eras. With more people living in relatively free soceities than in any previous era there is probably less. Rather, modern technology has made it possible for small groups of people to commit acts of immorality and inhumanity on a greater scale than ever before. But is Moore actually arguing that if prescientific people had access to the ame weapons that exist today, they would have hesitated to use them? The purveyors of the Inquisition and the crusades managed to be fantastically cruel and inhumane with the primitive weapons they had at their disposal. Would they have hesitated to use nuclear weapons if they had access to them?

  • Why should we, who proclaim a Gospel of peace and newness, be any more willing to embrace such criteria as validaters of truth than our skeptical postmodern neighbors are? Because you're perfectly willing to benefit from the fruits of those criteria, most notably the technological improvements and medical progress. Because no other set of criteria has ever proven themselves trustworthy for distinguishing between hard reality and comforting fairy tales.


So what criteria for proof of truth does Moore prefer?


Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches the heart of people with power to renew them in love for God and one another. The truth of the Gospel, abiding deep within our souls, must prove its validity in the ways we show the love of Christ to a watching world. Let our highest priority as the followers of Christ be to grow in love for God, for one another, and for our neighbors as ourselves. Let the motivating force of all our labors in developing a Biblical worldview be love for God and others.


Personally, I feel cheated. I think Moore is saying that non-Christians should become convinced of the truth of the Gospel by observing the behavior of Christians and seeing something they want. That might provide an argument for why non-Christians would want to live like their Christian neighbors, but what has that to do with whether the truth claims of the Bible are actually true? And if this is really the standard by which the validity of Biblical claims should be assessed, then why do Christians spent so much time writing books about defending the faith? The entire field of Christian apologetics is dominated by arguments based on precisely the criteria for proof of truth that Moore sneers at. Is he saying that all of this work is on the worng track?

14 Comments:

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Tim said...

Moore's final comment makes as much sense with God changed to Allah, and Gospel of Jesus Christ changed to Koran. Betcha he'd get very upset if you told him that!

 
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At 9:41 PM, Anonymous a-gnostic said...

Pastor Moore should have been exposed to the Scholastic teachings of religious philosophers, like Peter Abelard and St. Thomas Aquinas, who argued that, having come to faith without reason, one must buttress that faith WITH reason. Rather like putting the cart before the horse, much like Mr. Moore's reasoning. I'd like to see how his "method" would have affected the advance of the sciences he and all other "people of faith" have benfitted from, like medical and transportation technologies. Do you suppose that we would have PET scans or space shuttles had faith continued to keep Mankind in everlasting ignorance? Not likely. Please Mr. Moore, find another argument for your superstitions. Mene men tekel upharsin.

 
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Betcha he'd get very upset if you told him that....:P

 
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At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Best penis enlargement device review said...

Moore's final comment makes as much sense with God changed to Allah..

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Male Extra penis augmentation pills said...

Like everyone, Moore has his own perception about God..It is really appreciable that he presented his point of view..

 
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After all, are these not the very criteria for truth that postmodern critics are eager to throw overboard?

 
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At 11:50 AM, Anonymous As seen on TV said...

I hope that they're not making a habit of it because it will be very rude of them to do it so.

 

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