Friday, May 12, 2006

Rational Theology versus Enthusiasm

A new book by Rodney Stark delineates the progress in Western Civilization that originated in the rational theology of the church:

The Victory of Reason : How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

There is a long history of dispute between those inclined to enthusiasm and proponents of a more reasoned faith. Current trends in church music are in some ways similar to the era of American revivalism. Pietism has a respectable history, but combined with postmodern cultural premises, it is poses a threat to rational theology.

The following review provides an introduction to Stark's book:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/12/25/RVGDDG9CUE1.DTL

2 comments:

scribe said...

The Orthodox do not subscribe to the rational theology of Thomas Aquinas, but neither are they pietists or enthusiasts. They are heysachists (hope I spelled that right).

They don't like the Western penchant for explaining away every mystery. They would rather try to communicate in prayer with it than figure it all out, but that's not to say they eliminate the intellect from worship. Far from it, but their intellectual style is very different--it is symbolical. They believe in worshipping with "heart and mind together", as they say.

I find that in churches that like to explain away everything, it seems that their devotional life tends to be dessicated. Too much cold intellect, and no heart makes for a very dry-up kind of Christianity. If our approach to God is solely based on reason, we'd be in a fix as our reason so often goes astray and lacking in love. God is approached through love--that's how he approached us.

Ray said...

I have to agree with you, Scribe. The concept of faith in reason concerns me. Seems man's faith in reason also is what led him down paths of ungodly philosophies culminating in the God is dead movement because man no longer needed an emotional crutch called "god", reason was all we humans needed. God was thrown on to the philosophical trash heap along with other antiquated theories. Today, in the postmodern world, we can define truth however we want and be forced to accept other's truths in the name of diversity because of our faith in reason.