On the Pursuit of Wisdom and Wilful Ignorance

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Warren A. Shipton


The desire of humanity to understand the universe has been evident from the dawn of historical records. Many worldviews include the concepts of both a natural world and an unseen realm in a cohesive framework. The Greek worldview contained these elements and exerted an influence on Christian thought until the Protestant Reformation. However, this movement was soon followed by the development of an empirical approach to knowing. In practice this meant that human reason backed by experimentation began to assert itself over divine revelation leading finally to the search for a unified worldview in the absence of an unseen realm. These ideas prevailed into the modern era, but a reaction against the concept that the universe operated as a machine now has led to different ways of thinking. For example, in the postmodernist way of understanding, objective truth does not exist. In this way of thinking, reason and the concept of God are both rejected. Reformation theology gave a unified view of knowledge which held that mankind could reason about religious ideas, historical details and the cosmos: faith was connected to reason. Modern science has rejected the need for the unseen realm leaving Christians to choose between accepting the theories of science and thus admitting that the Bible contains many mistakes and is full of allegorical stories, or maintaining that the Bible is God’s divine revelation. The former option commonly has been chosen leading to a collapse of Christian emphasis in many universities whose founders established them on a Christian basis. Some Christian universities maintain a meaningful presence by emphasising a unified worldview based on the sureties of the Bible and supported by a vibrant personal experience. Their strength resides in reasserting the significance of character development and a commitment by faculty and staff to the betterment of society.


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