Aiming at the foundations church history 2 lesson 2


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  • Intellectuals are now arguing something else, man is not a sinner. He is a reasonable creature, he needs the grace of God less than common sense. In the eighteenth century the climate in France had completely changed confidence in reason soared and Christians found that many intellectuals dismissed all appeals to revealed Scripture as superstitious nonsense.
  • Aiming at the foundations church history 2 lesson 2

    2. 2. THE FOUNDATIONS• The Age of Reason (1648-1789) was highlighted by the denial of any supernatural religion. Respect for science and human reason replaced the Christian faith as the cornerstone of Western Culture. Faith became less dogma and more experience.• Questions of dogma seemed unimportant, hardly worth fretting about. What was immensely more important was behavior. Do our beliefs make us more tolerant, more respectful of those who differ with us, more responsive to the true Spirit of Jesus? 2
    3. 3. THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE OF REASON• The spirit of the Age of Reason was nothing less than an intellectual revolution, a whole new way of looking at God, the world, and one’s self. It was the birth of secularism.• Middle Ages and the Reformation were centuries of faith in the sense that reason served faith, mind obeyed authority. God’s word came first, not man’s thoughts.• The Age of Reason rejected that. In the place of faith it set reason. No man looked at ways how to please himself, and make himself happy without God. 3
    4. 4. THE RENAISSANCE• Renaissance= means rebirth and refers to the recovery of the values of classical Greek and Roman civilization expressed in literature, politics and the arts.• The difference in the Reformation and the Renaissance lie in the view of man. The Reformers preached original sin of man and looked upon the world as “fallen” from God’s intended place.• Renaissance had a positive estimate of human nature and the universe itself. Religious prejudice seemed like a far greater danger than atheism, so the thirst for tolerance and truths common to all me spread. Now faith in law and order ruled the day. 4
    5. 5. THE WONDER OF THE WORLD MACHINE• The discoveries made in science by Copernicus (1473-1543) sun the center of the universe. Johann Kepler (1571-1630) who concluded that the sun emitted a magnetic force that moved the planets. Isaac Newton (1642-1727) law of gravity had proven that the world of unseen spirits, angels and demons could nor be dismissed as superstitions.• If the universe is a smooth running machine with all its parts coordinated by one grand design, then all man has to do is think clearly to find life’s meaning and true happiness. The truth by the use of his senses and reason. 5
    6. 6. THE RISE OF THE RADICALS• Philosophers= were not philosophers devoted to an academic discipline. They were men of letters, students of society who analyzed it evils and advocated reforms.• Deism= God created the world as a watch maker makes a watch, and then wound it up and let it run. Since God is a perfect watchmaker there was no need of His interference with the world later. They also believed that the distortions of religion was the work of priest who concocted the theologies, myths, and doctrines of various religions to enhance their own power. 6
    7. 7. CHRISTIANITY ON TRIAL• Revealed religion was nothing less than a scheme to exploit the ignorant. Voltaire (1694-1778) liked to refer to Christianity as a “infamous thing” His most ruthless charge was the thousands of victims of Christianity’s intolerance.• The primary weapon aimed at the church was “truth.” the greatest service that can be done for man is to teach them to use their reason, only to hold for truth that can be verified.• The truth of the Bible could not be the premise, because you can not argue from an authority they did not believe. 7
    8. 8. THE FUTILITY OF EMPTY CONFIDENCE• Joseph Butler (1692-1752) virtually ended the debate for thinking people. Butler saw with disarming clarity that life is filled with perplexities and enigmas.• Butler challenged reason’s sovereignty, reason provides no complete system of knowledge, and in ordinary life it can offer us only probabilities.• Deism collapsed from it own weaknesses. It was based on a false optimism. It had no explanation for the evils and disasters of life. 8
    9. 9. CHRISTIAN MORALITY• The rejection of deism did not restore Christianity to a central place in Western culture. Modern culture its art, its education, its politics, was freed from Christian influence. Men made a deliberate attempt to organize a religiously neutral civilization.• Christians are left with a basic problem in the modern era. How far can believers go in trying as citizens to get the state to enforce Christians standards of conduct? If Christians give up the idea of enforcing Christian behavior, then what norm of conduct should they expect from everyone? 9