Archive for the ‘modernity’ Category

The New Age is a perfect product of its time

September 8, 2009

…the New Age is a perfect product of its time: an exemplification of modernity rather than a rejection of it. It is the acme of consumerism. It is individualism raised to a new plane. The eclecticism of the New Age is not just a matter of being tolerant…not only that we can all discern truth, but that what we all variously discern is true. The individual consumer is not only the final arbiter of what he or she wants to believe and practise but also the final arbiter of truth and falsity. It is individualism taken to the level of epistemology, so that in place of the sectarian arguments over which revelation best embodied the one truth, there is complete relativism.

Bruce, Religion in the Modern World pp.221-222, in Harold Netland, Encountering Religious Pluralism, 2001, p.155

The Fact Value Distinction

August 17, 2009

Middle-class parents want values to be taught to children in schools because life will be more pleasant if these values are adhered to. But they do not ask whether these values have any relation to the “facts” as taught in school. They do not ask whether it is possible to believe that concern for minorities, for the poor, for the disabled is important if the fact is that human life is the result of the success of the strong in eliminating the weak.  If it is a ‘fact’ that human life is the accidental result of the ruthless suppression of the weak by the strong, and it is not a fact that ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever,’ then ‘values’ have no factual basis.  They can only be the expression of what some people choose, and–inevitably–it will be the strong who prevail. The language of “values” is simply the will to power wrapped up in cotton wool. And we cannot use the language of right and wrong because it has no basis in the ‘facts’ as we understand them.

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 1989, p.17