The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 5. Consilience and the Primacy of Information

Another characteristic of Enlightenment thought, also related to the reductionistic methodology, is the notion of consilience. In essence, this is the conviction that all knowledge is unified, i.e., there is one, single pool of interrelated knowledge that can be accessed by anyone using the right methodology. Wilson speaks of the strong form of this idea, namely total consilience, which holds that nature is organized by simple universal laws of physics to which…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 4. Criticism and a Free-Floating Moral Order

As might have been expected, Enlightenment thought promoted more than the innocent use of reason. It turned into an insistence, a demand, for the freedom to criticize. According to Peter Gay, the Enlightenment’s thinkers defined philosophy as the organized habit of criticism. The philosophes’ glorification of criticism and their qualified repudiation of metaphysics make it obvious that the Enlightenment was not an Age of Reason but a Revolt against Rationalism. The claim…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 3. Reductionism and a One-Dimensional World

I come now to the third of the six principles that provide the basic operating principles for the contemporary social imaginary. In this case I want to explore the implications and consequences of the reductionist methodology developed by Enlightenment thinkers. Obviously, the use of human reason was (would have to be) governed by certain methodological considerations. This has turned out to be a basically mechanistic, empiricist, and reductionistic method. Hauptli explains this…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary: 2. Rationalism and Scientism

I come now to the second of the six principles that provide the basic operating principles that govern the contemporary social imaginary. In this case it has to do with the unfettered use of human reason. As Kant put it, “Sapere Aude! have courage to use your own understanding.”[1]In this case, Kant is speaking not just of the freedomto use reason, but rather of the sufficiencyof human reason itself. As Peter Gay…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary 1. Freedom and Individualism

As mentioned in my last post I now want to identify and define the six principles that provide the basic operating principles that govern the contemporary social imaginary. I will look at them in terms of their Enlightenment antecedents, that is, I will review the basic ideas seeded by the tinkers of the enlightenment and then show how those ideas were expanded, changed and popularized. The most fundamental of all Enlightenment characteristics…

The Operating Principles of the Contemporary Social Imaginary – Introduction

The social imaginary is not a set of ideas; rather, it is what enables, through making sense of, the practices of a society.[1] As stated previously, I want to explore the nature, function, operation, and effects of the various elements of the North American social imaginary. It is important to state at the outset that an imaginary is not simply a set of rules imposed on some population. It is rather a…

External Threats to the Growth of the Church

Much of the work I have published recently has been focused on various aspects of Church Growth as seen from a perspective within the Church itself.  I have appealed to its theology, its tradition, its practices, and its God-given purpose to define the nature of Church and to ask what it might mean for a Church to succeed. I have asked what there is about the Church that could or should grow…