On the Integration of Epistemology

This summer I read "Descartes Bones", which, although not a masterwork of analytic reasoning, it is a fun romp through the seismic changes that modern epistemology brought to society, as seen through the lens of the rather weird journey of Descartes' skeleton. In an irony of Philosophical proportions, it seems that his head became separated from his body, and no one knows where his body has gone!

Anyway, the book brought up for me a continual question that I ask: How does one integrate the insights of different epistemology across history? Different epistemologies weigh different kinds of data in different ways, yielding access to different kinds of knowledge that other epistemologies seem blind to. Furthermore, different kinds of epistemology seem to act as watchdogs or guard against the habitual errors of other epistemic methods.

For instance, it seems to me that:


Conservatively Progressive, Radically Traditional and Liberally Creedal

The "dancing saints" icon at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church is a great visual example of Creedal theology combined with a radical social vision.
This week Ross Douthat at the NY Times wrote an article asking whether Liberal Christianity can be saved. His article basically tied radical social decisions (such as ordination of transgender persons and blessings of gay and lesbian unions) to doctrinal sellout (such as liberals supposedly being syncretist at worst, and bland at best). And he then tied doctrinal sellout with numerical decline, in such a way that numerical decline is the primary indicator of whether a church body is being unfaithful to Jesus Christ by accommodating to culture (while, conversely, numerical increase is the primary indicator of faithfulness).


On Tebowish PDRAs

In a recent editorial at Religion News Service, Michael Medved argues for religious acceptance of the public prayer-gestures offered by religious athletes such as Tim Tebow [See Medved's article here].  With standard over-hyped rhetorical flourish, Medved calls current religious attitudes a "war" on Christian athletes. He cites a rabbi who rejects the public religious displays as evidence of a larger cultural rejection (when I imagine that if we ran the numbers, most Americans actually applaud such behavior). Then Medved talks about how Johann Sebastian Bach wrote "SDG" on all his compositions (short for Soli Dei Gloria, or "Glory to God alone"). And if Bach wrote SDG privately on his compositions, so the logic goes, it certainly must be laudable for Tebow to kneel in prayer in front of millions. 


Fractals, Bodies, and Temples

A friend of mine from a more congregational Christian tradition sent me an email asking me about one of the many narratives found in Scripture to describe God's salvific plan, centered on Christ, as it unrolls across the Scriptures. His email centered on our Christian identity as both "bricks" which build the temple of God in Christ, and as "temples of the Holy Spirit". Furthermore, he was asking how this tied into the narrative of God's creation, especially the so-called "8th day" in which God is re-creating humanity through Christ.

Here is how I replied:
This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.