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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

Christianity does not conform to the requirement of presuppositional simplicity.

  1. Physical science, in its reductionist form, offers the prospect of explaining everything as the consequence of a few simple laws. Indeed, the Grand Unified Theories (GUTs) hope to reduce the explanation of all phenomena to , in principle, the application of a single law.
  2. It is not yet clear whether science will be able to explain the origin of physical law within its own basic principles, but this "bootstrap" procedure is not now deemed to be so far-fetched as it once was.
  3. Various religious systems may seem to have a simple basis, eg. "Allah is great and Muhammed is his prophet" or "God has given us his Word that is inerrant and tells us all about him", but this simplicity is deceptive1.
  4. The retreat into the inscrutability of the divine ways offers too easy an excuse for the gaps in the ability of theology to account for phenomena and for other theological perplexities. So do appeals to the finiteness of human minds.
  5. Theology fairs badly on this score (ie. in having to retreat to divine inscrutability) when compared to scientific enquiry, where no such limits are drawn. Such caveats undermine whatever presuppositional simplicity religious systems may have.
  6. The Christian religion at its most concrete is static and revealed. It cannot advance, so must accommodate itself to any defects it may have. This undermines both its integrity and its simplicity.
  7. Speculative theology may not be static, but it suffers from all the shortcomings of the worst sort of metaphysics : it is ad hoc and lacks any corrective procedure imposed by the possible falsification of its predictions.
  8. As an example2 of the lack of elegant simplicity in Christian doctrine, let us take the doctrine of direct creation versus the theory of evolution. Why object to the idea of direct creation? Because there appears to be genuine disagreement on this question, it is worth spelling out the issues, however obvious they may appear to some.
  9. The above example illustrates a lack of distinctness3 in the term "explanation" and the differences in the sort of questions addressed by science on the one hand and philosophy (or, where relevant, theology) on the other.
  10. Contrary to what is sometimes suggested, the scientific objections to certain aspects of Christian doctrine are not usually motivated by an a priori hatred of God or of Christianity. A clear distinction between scientific objections and pagan persecution needs to be borne in mind.

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 185 (Simplicity of Christianity) CT Introduction

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Simplicity - Deceptive Simplicity - Example Simplicity - Explanation    

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

CT Introduction        

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