Thursday, August 8, 2013

How did we get here?

Consider the following entrenched values of Western society:
  • all humans are of equal value and dignity
  • technology that saves labour is a good thing
  • public debate about political and social issues is good
  • rationality
Where did these values come from? 
Why are they not entrenched in many non-Western societies?
These questions are extensively examined by Vishal Mangalwadi

I have now read more than a quarter of the book. Mangalwadi persuasively argues that core Western values, such as those above, were driven by theology, and often by Reformation theology.
Sometimes we are told that some of these values derived from the Graeco-Roman world. However, although some of these values were present then, they had generally been abandoned or forgotten. For example, rationalism was supplanted by gnosticism and mysticism. 
The church sustained the idea of the logos because the Bible's framework provided a rationale for believing in reason. The logos had entered history and become flesh. Since rationality was a part of the nature of God that had been given to us, philosophy or rational understanding and systematisation of revealed truth ... was not something to be feared or shunned.
(page 84)

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