YOU already know about the scientific method, and you’re aware that its development is one of the finest achievements of the Enlightenment. But do you really understand the enormous gulf that exists between our philosophical outlook and pre-Enlightenment thinking? Here’s one example:
At the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) we found a fascinating new article titled Other Religious Writings: Can They Be From God, Too?
Most of that article isn’t relevant to our blog, but two consecutive paragraphs struck us as being quite interesting:
God never tried to prove His existence or prove that His Word is superior to other writings. God simply opens the Bible with a statement of His existence and says His Word is flawless (Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 30:5). The Bible bluntly claims to be the truth (Psalm 119:160), and Christ repeated this claim (John 17:17).
For the sake of completeness, we’ll give you the King James version of those cited passages:
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Okay, that’s what the Good Book says. Now what? Here’s the next paragraph in the AIG article:
In fact, if God had tried to prove that He existed or that His Word was flawless, then any evidence or proof would be greater than God and His Word. But God knows that nothing is greater than His Word, and therefore He doesn’t stoop to our carnal desires for such proofs.
So there you are. That’s perhaps the ultimate argument from authority.
You are also familiar with the Scottish Enlightenment, which so strongly influenced the Founding Fathers who led the American Revolution. That Wikipedia article says: “[T]he thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority which could not be justified by reason.”
It was only by rejecting blind obedience to authority that the Founders could entertain the idea of rebelling against their king and establishing a totally new form of government — one which had never seen on earth, and which was certainly not described in scripture. As we’ve noted before, there was no scriptural basis for concepts like a decentralized federal republic, a two-house legislature, limited government with enumerated powers, representation based on population, checks and balances, prohibiting religious qualifications for holding office, allowing secular oaths, and providing that a man-made Constitution was the supreme law of the land. But that’s what the Founders gave us.
Obviously, the American Revolution was no garden-variety palace coup. It was utterly … well, revolutionary. And to put it simply: No Enlightenment, no Revolution.
Despite the extra-ordinary achievements of the past two centuries, it’s obvious that the authoritarian mode of thinking still has wide appeal. For the folks at AIG, it’s not merely the basis for their religious outlook, it’s their entire worldview. It’s also obvious that scriptural authority is the sole basis for creationism, which has no foundation whatsoever in science. See: The Folly of Creationism.
You know all that, but have you given much thought to the connection between creationism and those who want to rewrite the philosophical history of the Revolution? The thinking in both cases is the same, and you can easily observe it at work in the same people whenever the circumstances permit. See Texas Education War: Phase Two.
So please, dear reader, remember that what’s at stake here isn’t just the theory of evolution. We’re concerned about much more than the confused ravings of misguided simpletons. What’s really going on is a conflict of infinitely greater importance. We’re engaged in a war for the preservation of the Enlightenment, which is the ultimate accomplishment of Western Civilization.
It’s a war we can’t afford to lose.
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