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Apparently, it is not felt that the old religious restrictions are relevant or appropriate. Since, however, there are hundreds of millions calling themselves Christians, and hundreds more millions in religions relevant to the point there at issue, it would seem: one wonders how a 'sociologist' could invent the cosy code, so comprehensively.
If now it meant: We have made an exhaustive sociological survey and find that most of the professionals are of his view: then that could be said. It would signify a majority of those in that field. This would then constitute a statistical datum of some psychological interest, though logically in itself nothing much more.
One is rather reminded by this sort of device or approach, of the old-style matron in a Hospital or Sister, who would approach the lingering patient with such words as, 'Well, how are we feeling this morning, eh ? A good night's sleep should have us feeling much better, I think...' Harmless and even perhaps pleasant in a way, this becomes something far more intrusive and indeed even presumptuous, when some one sociologist simply assumes things. The 'analyst' may express it in different ways: He/she takes it that this is what we hold in modern society, or as we all know, or modern studies show, or perhaps simply, we feel, or even all sociologists feel, or... whatever desire, datum or drollery. Is it those with whom they agree ? or indeed, have they looked around at the different... schools ? One wonders.
To say, as we have suggested then, instead, that there is, on survey, found to be a majority who hold such and such a view, could be nearer to acceptability. It would have the advantage of not suggesting the possibility of propaganda, even if quite unwitting, or persuasion by device or carelessness. Yet the problem with this sort of approach is far deeper. Before, we consider, however in detail the sort of radical extreme to which it can lead, let us examine the extent to which the 'we' may be be assumed, relatively inconsequential though it may be logically. A little research here could be quite instructive.
Professor Allan Bloom in his The Closing of the American Mind (New York, I987) has some revelations to make here. As Professor in the Committee on Social Thought in the University of Chicago, with past significant posts in many world Universities, including Paris and Tel Aviv, he should have some data available.
First, he makes an ideological charge which is far from expressive of professional sociological unity in the moral, ethical, religious and indirectly, even behavioural level. He asserts that the U.S. has lost direction in its universities, and that the American democracy has unwittingly played host to vulgarised Continental ideas of nihilism and despair, of relativism disguised as tolerance. He charges that the current form of tertiary humanities studies, and science, fails to arouse or to nurture the self-knowledge needed as a basis for all humane learning.
What I have noticed in the teaching of English, over some decades, is a sort of supine streamlining away of foreign language disciplines in their stylistic and grammatical impacts in the mass, a trend towards an imitative and debased, a vulgarised aping of scientific record keeping style, with simplicity and ease a keynote, a sort of literary version of whistling, when symphonies are despised. This seems to have its correlative in the pseudo-scientific superficiality afflicting 'humane' areas of thought, at the tertiary level. Perhaps it all relates to fear of the ultimate, despising of the beautiful, scorn of the supernatural and a jaded trend to cynicism, relativism and pragmatic urbanity.
That, of course, is in accord with the Biblical teaching on the intensification of departure from Christian things, which is to mark the area of Act V for Man, as it were, the finale before the return of Christ. Thus it was to be; thus it is; and such is verification. (See earlier references to this; and at this time, consult I Timothy 4:1 ff., II Timothy 3:1 ff., Matthew 24:12, Luke 23:31.)
It is now therefore of interest to regard with some detail the indictment by Professor Bloom, and to this coverage we will revert empirically, later.
Allan Bloom notes sources of dispute (pp. 360 ff.) amongst social sciences and considers implications. They do not, he indicates, agree on very meaning of science. While research, verification and due use of reason have acceptance in principle, natural causes are invoked in social science situations. This is turned through narrow selectivity to mean that the concept of movement towards an end, in life (teleology) and 'spiritual' causes tend to be excluded a priori. 'To seek salvation' would be subjected, as a motive, to re-interpretation in other terms, such as repressed sexuality; whilst other motives, such as making money, would be accepted, as they stand.
With such shameless slants, it becomes 'accepted' to downgrade higher, more complex causes into lower terms, to impoverish realities gratuitously in terms of material or simplistic concepts, by a sort of mental ritual or psychological rote.
In effect, this means that if religion be the higher, more demanding topic in view, then the grotty lurk is to subject it a priori to some sort of reductionism, however much this distorts the facts, however little it articulates meaningfully with the detail, however unverified may be the detraction! What is reductionism ? It is a failure to consider, with adequate care, precision and fidelity all the ingredients or levels of operation of a complex or demanding topic, whilst making an obstructionist or obsessive insistence on pondering or enforcing parallels, or other materials, in terms of which the former topic must compulsively be seen.
This of course is not merely unscientific but, it seems, a practice bordering on being unbalanced. True, in the case of Freud, excuses can be made in terms of the diseased segment of Viennese society in which he practised his 'art': their practical preoccupations in the cases of so many who, pathologically inclined, visited him - these helped give him a theoretical preoccupation. This may partially explain; but it wholly fails to justify.
Take the reference noted by Bloom, as mentioned above, of the reduction of religion to sexuality. Might we not just as 'scientifically' refer to the thought that all hyper-active sex has at base some religious maladjustment ? If values and virtues and understanding and self-control and meaning are awry in life at large, then a binge of sex, a preoccupation with sex as a substitute pleasure for the stabilising of depth, understanding and profundity, a sort of short circuit, could well be construed. As to its irrational onrush in the case of some, who end in vapid desolations, seeking a psychiatrist, this might well be linked to frustration and a compulsive desire for restoration, in sudden experience, of long slow losses in life. This may apply both to the initial hedonism and to the consequent seeking of that substitute priest, the secular psychiatrist.
It is not necessary to pursue such a thesis. All that is being argued at this point is that the mere assumption of the contrary evaluation of religion is jejune and irrational. It can be turned upside down without the slightest difficulty... It ignores the logical realities and is a mere frenzy of words.
Moreover, this as all reductionism, is not a scientific commodity, however common it may be in certain social 'sciences'. In this case, it is not even plausible. As Jung points out, there is far too much in art and religion and music and literature for some quasi-judicial sentence of sexuality even to begin to 'explain' the particularistic properties of the data, of the alleged spin-off. Systematic, specific interfaces between the alleged base and particular, varied superstructures do not exist; far less are they testable with anything approximating measurement, or objective procedure.
So blatant a flirtation with fancy does then at least attest the integral vigour of human imagination. Yet as indicated, the theory is not a rational construction meeting matters with systematic articulation, one rigorously subjected to precise validation of predictions, systematically derived and scientifically provided with testable interfaces between alleged connections. It does not rise to the height of scientific rationality, and an exactly opposite assessment of sexuality may be made, with considerable ground, and with effortless ease. That is the advantage of rationality: it has so many bases to call upon, all attested.
Further, this irrational reductionism assumes that genital preoccupation is the driving force, reproductive arenas are the basis of the character of the whole being, and it does it with the normal delusive obsession that one finds in reductionists... The 'theories' are many.
No, they say, in this mode, it is really worms that control man (yes really! - This Wormy World); or, it is the lust for money (the 'almighty dollar'- the same sort of distortion); or it is pleasure ('what is in it for me!'), or it is power or comfort or security, or prestige or the fulfilment of one's life... how 'satisfying' is it to be ?; or it is the maximisation of satisfaction taken this way or that. You name it: they have it!
All such things are mere assertion, neither scientific nor validated, nor occasioned by data. It is not explanation of the entire gamut of reality, but insertion of a pet philosophy, possibly engendered by personality weaknesses in the proponent, which may have rendered him/her peculiarly sensitive to some structural weakness of the soul, crack in the character or pollution of the personality. Obviously one's observations in life and literature quickly show a series of dominant motives, and even change in the domination from time to time; or a synthetic series of dominant motives, constructs from them, fluctuating or fervent, from mind to mistresses to golf... or whatever.
In point of fact, a scriptural reference is eloquent here and is a stimulating evocative agent for the data-seeker, at the outset. It is this (Isaiah 26:13):
Other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name.Simplistic substitutes for the variety of reality do nothing to aid its understanding. On the other hand, the logical and methodical ascertainment of the source of man and the scope of his ways, gives ground for estimations of his activities, estimates which violate nothing, unless it be pride, short-circuit no data, and consider realistically the consequences of design abuse in this way or that, with neither desire nor necessity for simplistic reductionism; but on the contrary, with the freedom that is allied to facts and what they, all of them, demand for their existence.
On the contrary path, as with all determinism, the imagination that something is really forcing the human personality per se, which, for all its temptations and courage and imagination and logic, is under that control: this provides the automatic invalidation to which we have already referred. If the human mind is so invaded by such knowing little creatures of such cunning psychic power to hide and assert themselves, without the knowledge of the manipulated host, then of course, to the propounder of such a theory goes the distinction of being self-confessed in such a sphere - it is his general theory. The claimed pathological condition of the theorist invalidates the theory: it is a case of a rocket turned back on its launching pad.
The hidden and dark forces of sub-surface dynamics reach out their constraining compulsions, and mould the poor victim, all unaware, a milling morass of the unthought, the unthinkable, the differently construable and so on... and on. Hence his mind is not available for rational discourse, nor is rational discourse in reality available for his mind, in such spheres at least.
These, unfortunately, by the nature of the case, are precisely the areas of the theory!
One universal thing about such a theory is this. If it is universal, then the human theorist who 'invents' and proposes it, he too is inundated, harassed, grappled, manoeuvred, according to his word; if it is not, then the theory is not what it claims, and man is not as proposed. The the matter ends, summarily, in all such cases. They are defunct on birth, these theories, each of them.
You get the same sort of thing in some ill-bred economics. For money, they say, it is for money! At the margin, 'you' spend to get most satisfaction, dollar by dollar, in your dolorous (or whatever) way. But not so. Men here differ also! Why do the 'social sciences' become, in the area bordering religion, so intractably seeming irrational!
The answer of course is already given in the preceding pages: the presence of God is treated somewhat systematically by those rejecting Him, like an immigration department of some particularly rich State. Fears and fervours show up at the point of entry, and irrationalism sets in, making for obsessive, compulsive exclusion.
Do all men, then, in fact so spend money ? I, for one, do not as my practice. Nor is this because and to the extent I am irrational in the process. With me, there is the anterior consideration of purpose. Satisfaction scarcely interests me in competition with this motive. It is the extent to which expenditure will fulfil or is deemed likely to fulfil a design, for which I habitually spend. That design is first the glory of God, the furthering of the gospel, and this not because it gives me pleasure: it is because I am convinced it is true and that it would be a denial of reality to do otherwise. My absorption of this or that item or experience, including satisfaction, is not relevant. The result is so. It is measured not in terms of any priority schedule of satisfactions which I may have, but as I seek to read and apply scriptures; and these are not my pleasures or depositions, but those of another.
I am personally motivated by a person who is not myself, and whose value to me is not my experience, but his intrinsic worth in terms of reality and truth and character. Love is not pleasure, and the worth of another is not a criterion of one's satisfaction. It might conceivably lead to very considerable dis- satisfaction to consider how unworthy one is, in comparison with such a Person. In practice, the reductionism of economics, so often found, ignores the data of many, so reducing 'data' to a superficial parody. In theory, it is mere precipitancy on the part of those willing to curtail their lives in a particular fashion, verbalising the process; or careless verbal conformism.
This is not to say that there are not some men who may at times act in the way suggested. Nor is it to say that once the prior values are settled, men may not spend funds within the purposes and values and vision, as seems best to secure them. The scope however is vastly larger, the preliminaries are other (and in some people, perhaps in effect spiritually pathological cases, unconscious), and the procedure is oriented in terms of alternatives to performance, to secure the needed ends or the purposed objectives - which may be personal, spiritual and profound. There is, or may also be, the conviction that some compilation, some arrangement of means exists which is adequate for the purpose; or that it will be found, from outside the system, if necessary - by miracle.
Very much indeed has been wrought in exactly this way, as for example by George Mueller, who focussed this aspect in running a series of orphanages with just such expectations. Based on scripture used for the purpose, these were notoriously, precisely and dramatically fulfilled. In this example, such methods were for long used habitually, reminding one of Elisha in a time of Israel's confrontation by God.
Le Tourneau, that genius among earth moving earthmoving equipment inventors, also risked his earlier millions in view of his creative thrust to use his creative powers to magnify his Maker, it seems from what is written. In his case, substantial or dangerous possibilities of loss, or non-survival commercially, clearly appeared to have been faced and discounted. Why ? It seems clear it was because of something for which money is not even a sparring partner: not money, not satisfaction, not prestige, but a sense of accountability and a desire to satisfy someone else. For those who are not God, it is merely data-manipulation to act as if this primary datum refers to the individual: God the Creator is One; and the human agent is another. While One makes, indeed has created the other, that is not an admission of identity but clear indication of profound difference!
Here therefore, the cases differ as data, to an infinite extent; and it would seem that in dealing with data, an infinite difference should rate a mention, and constitute a ground for... different categories, just as would one and infinity in mathematics. The divergence cannot readily be ignored if sanity is in view, at least. Satisfying one's creator is profoundly removed from satisfying oneself; and satisfying the ground of truth is not to be confused with pleasing one's own self or consummating one's personal preferences. Indeed, in this arena, re-birth replaces one's preferences with those of another (II Corinthians 5:15-21).
The other person, God has His preferences which, satisfaction or not, one is bent to meet. The stature of God, not God as a means to an end, is crucial to worship; and worship is a prelude for the Christian, to executing purposes via means. (The case of Job focuses exactly this point: Did Job serve God for gain of some kind, emotional, financial, status-related, security... or was the worship 'genuine', not a means to a Job-related personal design, scheme or schema ? We have noted this earlier. Flecks of self-estimation appeared in the test divinely instituted; but the resolution involved Job's utterly clear awareness of a purity he could not in himself obtain (9:30), a redemption he found as basic to life - 19:13-27: the life of God which held an aura which transcended his own, leading to repentance for even thinking of himself in any sense as a criterion - 40:5, 42:2ff..)
You also find pleasure put forward in this delusive way, and we shall return (p. 368 infra) to this amoral imagination shortly. Again, men may not be assumed to seek to maximise profits. They may face the maximisation of financial loss for such divinely inspired reasons as just noted. Some wars face no less; being pitted not on pleasure but purpose, such as the retention of freedom, and this conceivably not for its pleasure, but so that one could worship God. The pleasure that this may or may not evoke is irrelevant, like the cost of a dinner for one's fiancée in many cases. Pleasure is simply not the reference point; rather reality and its worthiness to supervene one's own estimations. The U.S. Constitution makes some reference to the concept of freedom and its objectives; and that nation was founded in the beginning with such a design for freedom, in a divine direction.
What then shall be said at all for profit ? It is not without use; merely does not act as God for many; for they have other purposes, to which it is subordinate, and for which it has merely an instrumental significance, not a mandatory one.
This is not to say that profit is irrelevant in such businesses. Profit may be a useful efficiency index, once the purposes and programs anterior to it in priority, are clear and satisfied. It is a public-reaction indicator, likewise. It is a sensitivity gauge. In its place, it can be quite useful; but that place is not necessarily as a motive at all.
It is true that such businesses without profit may fail; but even that does not make it the major motive, far less automatically so, as so many solipsistically seem to assume. A tennis player may indeed play for the money; we are not denying the existence of such motives. This however does not mean that all do so. Some may play for fame, for name, for prestige, for pleasure, for some heightened sense of the moral consequences of learning in this field, or for self-exhibition, or for international harmony or whatever.
Indeed, there is quite explicit evidence that motives vary, and some supervene, and that confusion about motives, or the coaches and what they require or assume, can affect the play of champions. There is ground for care and perception rather than simplistic, prescriptive assumptions concerning human motives, in virtually any sphere; in other words, science can have some place even here. It is however the case that this prescriptive presumption, in which so much so-called social science philosophically indulges, is specifically unscientific: it violates scientific method expressly in so doing. Then what calls itself Social Science with such appalling and grotesque blindness, is often for this reason, not merely a matter of misrepresentation of status, but of farce and terminological fiasco. The Bible avoids such folly and with delightful brevity in Isaiah 53:6:
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.It simply is not scientific to imagine we know and can plumb all the motives of men. A sound logical basis can help; but even this does not provide personal powers of judgment! In fact, the scripture so beautifully puts it:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it ? I the Lord search the heart... O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be ashamed, and they who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsake the Lord, the fountain of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise (Jeremiah 17:9-14).Freud got some things right: there IS much deceit and deviousness around in the hearts of men, in general. It is far from uncommon. There can be this or that abnormal or pathological preoccupation (he specialised rather ludicrously). But he omitted more than he included, was blind as his theories might suggest to numerous dimensions; his practices were not clinically impressive, far less so than our earlier cited, London critic would wish! while his theories were self-destructive. The social 'sciences', as they tend so proudly to call themselves, in operation are frequently far from what the name implies, being rather practical philosophy, significantly exonerated from adequate analyses of their presumptions. Thus they can degenerate very readily into a sort of pathological spectrum in which the particular proclivities / weaknesses / propaganda needs or desires of a man, a culture or an institution are given an indulgence freed from rational grounds, but supported by institutional rigour. This, with misdirected vigour, readily declines into the rigour of exclusivism even at the professional level, in a way which is wholly unprofessional.
Misuse of parts of the body or areas of the mind, or of the whole soul are observable disorders, and there are observable cures, yet the trend in the social sciences, deplored by Bloom, is to move away from observation and adequate, informed thought, to the simplistic, the reductionistic or to facile contemporary preference. Thus is provided a sort of philosophic fantasy which alas, in its unscientific obsessiveness with partial and prejudiced presentations, is depriving students of much of their cultural heritage.
We earlier referred to the detail of Bloom's indictment, and it is good now to review this in some of its fields of exposure. Noting the collisions and fragmentations of ideas and ideals of different disciplines, Bloom pursues his thesis of a jaded and joyless note, of declining dynamic in humanities and social sciences at the personal level. Science and philosophy, he urges, once dealt widely with vital, central questions rather openly. Does God exist ? What is the good society, are evil actions punished and so on... were questions or issues free for vigorous action.
Now however the feeling is that the super-sophisticated people of social scientific maturity are too busy with their 'adult' pursuits for such 'childish' talk. The humanities can have the residues - let them consider such questions. Even then, however, Bloom pursues, the teachers tend to be pre-occupied to the exclusion of sharing in open-ended and fearless creativity in the presence of wide-ranging books (pp. 372-3). Thus economics pursues a pre-selected 'psychology' of its own (p. 361), psychology readily relates to biology, rather distant from the field, and from that source contradictions are found with the alleged dominant motives of economics. Economics ? it in turn is ill at ease, he declares, with political (*1) interpretations of events. Political science may perhaps lend the ear to the concepts of economic motivation; perhaps it may prefer those of psychology itself; and these inputs and outcomes vary: and so does the resultant perspective.
Indeed, indicates Bloom, disputation between the authority of university faculties seems almost emulous.
Faced with the historical complexities and vexations, political scientists may laugh wryly at the arid impracticality of the concept of the Economic Man, its near irrelevance to the personal power lusts of Hitler and Stalin, men too dangerous for the vapid verbalising of such economic theories: made, it might seem, for another race. Economic analysts may do more than ignore basic political drives and motivation, Bloom asserts; they may even distort any understanding that might be reached, whilst the mathematised versions of Economics can become an academic convenience, masking the vacuity of perception towards political drives.
In all this, one sees this seasoned, much exposed academic with his work on an international range of prestigious campuses, bringing to light the Biblically predictable confusion, fearfulness, contradiction, inadequacy and weariness that come increasingly upon an academic scene which more and more in principle rejects Christian theism. This it does not only as a necessary preliminary - ostensibly to religious commitment, but actually for rational survey also which as Bloom points out, could raise issues both divisive ... and humiliating! Having sought to evacuate God, Jesus Christ in particular, and hence the truth, what but confusion, frustration, weariness, failed vision and arid 'disciplines' formalising failure, might they produce, or would one expect for them; and this (except they repent), just to the extent that fundamental issues are involved. When the answer is excluded, the 'problem' can grow into a suitable source of cynicism and fragmented dreams, indeed, as Bloom also indicates, to foster the fantasisings that replace reality.
You cannot be realistic when reality is spurned.
As the fever of the enlightenment has yielded to the torrid torrent of technology, and as seekers of power, prominence or adventure have moved increasingly to the sciences, the failure of secular sociology and the humanities is noted here fearlessly by Bloom. So wonderfully 'liberated' to achieve answers with their free-wheeling, professional and positional agnosticism - which is frequently confused with openness to evidence, in a way which merely adds to the monstrous imposition the prejudice constitutes - they achieve divergent and even contradictory disciplinary particularities, obligato obfuscations, obscurings, pseudo-scientific servilities and, as we have seen, bowings to convention, convenience; and ... possibly to funding requirements of agnostic, pragmatic, administering governments.
Nor is this trend limited to social 'sciences', or even to biology; and its dangerous professional intrusions into the careers of academics, in more fields than even these and biology, is interestingly documented in Moody Monthly, October 1991, under Occupational Hazards (Mark D. Hartwig). Here too, as to trend, we see further evidence of the vast predicted decline noted previously (Ch. 2 - The Passing of a Theory for which The Bugles did not Sound, pp. 125-128; and 159-174 supra), and so constantly verified (for detail, see Chapters 8 and 9 infra)... Summarising his findings, attorney John Whitehead observes that job discrimination against Christians has reached serious proportions: several years ago, if you were a Christian, there was no problem. But Christians have increasingly become a focus for discrimination. And now we have an epidemic.
Let us however revert to Bloom's indictment. As to political science, he notes that here may be involved questions of justice, lust for rule, for glory, and it can be embarrassed by the health-wealth simplicity as the desideratum for man, as also by the rigidity of certain medical and economic concepts. Motives are more wide-ranging than many specialists in their social 'sciences' care to consider.
No more, says Bloom, is there a glory for social science: No more is there dynamic in the concept that the natural sciences are the bud, about to flower into human 'sciences', with psychoanalysis the base to the bud, holding it in being ... as it grows. No more is some integrated summation and synthesis of all ... being expected, in the secular university, as earlier such an outcome was often desired, hoped for and sought; nor do the lecturers in sociology and psychology have any more, in the general campus, the look of Heroes of Understanding, in the eyes of the undergraduate.
Not only in these presumptuously doctrinaire and divided ways do these elements of learning in the social sciences endanger students' cultural heritage, says Bloom; but there is also threat, under the dangerous motives of 'getting through' and satisfying some dragon- like directors who indoctrinate as they 'drink' ... water or whatever, much worse. It indeed endangers the very acuteness of personal observation, freedom of thought and power to rove with academic licence on the part of many who, oppressed may either lose interest, feel a measure of irrelevance or 'play the system'.
Bloom cites Churchill's response to President Coolidge when the latter was refusing to forgive the British war debts in the twenties. On Coolidge protesting: "They hired the money didn't they ?", we read, Churchill responded: "That is true, but not exhaustive." Such is the nature of all reductionism, tending to personally doctrinaire or socially directive perspectives, not logically grounded or defensible. I myself have met them, both at University and in High School teaching, and have vigorously contested such blinkers of prejudice, cultural conveniences and substitutes for thought.
In fact, in America in the very period of Bloom's regret, from the 40's to this day, there has been a massive turning away from Biblical religion, a huge political confusion, marvellously apparent in Vietnam, resulting from the gross increase in religious pluralism, relativism and agnosticism-cum-indoctrination. The result is that what freedom contrived (where spiritual strength was present - at least like saline solution, so that it could still be readily tasted): now folly disrupts.
The tarry remnant, at the bottom of the pot, has little relationship to the beautiful and seemingly everlastingly moist stews of former years. The vision that was so near that even those who might not gain it, sensed its immediacy, the hope of it, and saw the form but not the face, heard the noise but not the words of it, as with Daniel's attendants (10:7 ff.) ... this vision now seems tantalisingly far off to many.
Existentialism, neo-orthodoxy (see Ch. 9, Section 4C, pp. 857 ff. infra) and liberation theology in various modes have so pestered the psychologies of the immature, and wrested the spirits of the unwary, that with the jarring dance and roar tactics of many 'inter-faith' charismatics (I do not say all), there is in staff and student bodies alike, a growing sense of distance from the ancient fountains.
As Jeremiah put it (2:11-13):
Has a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be astonished, O you heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be very desolate, says the Lord. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out wells, broken wells that can hold no water.Bloom, to revert to our former image, is speaking from within the academic pot, in America. He appears saddened by the loss of vision, unity and desire which he detects in much of the humanities, as he reviews the trends of years.
The 'glory days' are past; the former state of renewed expectation is gone, says Bloom with his experience of many universities. Islands of specialities, preoccupations with social 'planks' to which academic disciplines could be directed, relativity ... all contributed (cf. pp. 299-301 supra). Hopes of a unity of the social sciences dissipate; far from their being a 'cosmic unity' in which man may be placed, there is not even a common front for the disunited disciplines. A 'coherent image' is not to be seen amidst the 'differences and the indifferences'... (pp. 368, 380). While 'beauty' is increasingly, on the national scene, being forsaken for 'ashes' ... (*2), the secular scene reflects the situation all too well.
"Differences and indifferences" are indeed a testimony to irrationality, reductionism, relativism, as no less to irreligion rioting without logical rigour; while ridiculous social preferences, for which truth may not be convenient, are often enshrined by what at times appears a disenchanted, if not disillusioned and debased 'common sense', in academic places. Such are my own observations. I always remember that Lecturer already noted, at Sydney University, who solemnly intoned to his students at the outset, that if they did not believe in evolution, they could 'jump in the lake'. Preferring thought without swimming, I changed my subject. It is that initial pedantic problem of 'we' in the Sociology text, to which we directed our thought in this section. 'We... think' ? Who are 'we' ? Who are these arbiters ?
Is it to be a matter of cultic clutches or of rational creation and culture ? The appearances are of the former more than of the latter, in the field anywhere approaching religion, at least in the unhallowed halls of learning. Here fearful irrationalisms often seem to seize the most common negationists, displaying all their dresses of acute, prejudicial and indefensible subjectivity, obsessive cultural relativism and 'acceptable' generalisations, which frequently, as Bloom also notes, are perversely reductionist (p. 360). Such generalisations must be socially convenient and abide by the new ten commandments whose origin is desire, and whose thrust is inter alia, this:
Thou shalt have any other gods besides the Lord God, and thou shalt not capitalise the term 'gods': for the lords thy gods are jealous gods and are distilled from time to time as convenient.And so they may be, with perhaps the Community instead of Christ, and flight from reality as the woof and warp of the fabric of society. Such gods however, though worshipped so often in academic places with amazing servility, are psychological projections rather than logical results. As Ecclesiastes has it (7:29), God made man upright but he has worked out numerous devices. Creating gods is one of them, an outstanding abuse of the creative powers God gave to man, and the ultimate in philosophic flippancy.
It is of course only natural for man to make gods, when he rebelliously avoids the God who made him, in disastrous attempts at an autonomy deliciously attesting though wildly distorting his origin; but the results are not natural. Unity without God academically has failed in the land of 'freedom', we find from Bloom, in its great secular universities; for that is the substance to which his words give testimony. Flair and spectacle, inspiration and vision without God have failed. The educated man cannot even be meaningfully conceived in the aftermath of loosing from moorings. Power to reproduce this is gone, says Bloom, the bud has bloomed and is nipped. The bush is impoverished, and its roots and branches are etiolated.
What a testimony to the impossibility of manufacturing gods without God, of doing it sophisticatedly in the wave of sanctified unbelief, in the universities of what was for long the richest nation in the world. (The large debt to Japan may make reappraisal, according to definitions for the purpose, necessary for this claim.) Natural scientists may be inclined to look back perhaps patronisingly on earlier works; but social scientists, Bloom finds, may feel even at a disadvantage in their presence, and tend to flee (*3) from former models for comparison, from ancient presentations. Natural science is less keen to congratulate social 'science', than the latter is to receive congratulation from it. The fact of man as an integral being tends to be ignored, and devices are deployed to aid his disappearance (Bloom, pp. 345, 358-359).
It would be difficult to obtain from a non-Christian a much more pertinent indictment than this in our area.
He sees social sciences as islands of buried treasure, with much more stored than workers are willing to excavate and utilise (p. 369); the great questions tend with gravity to be deposed and deposited in the grave.
He essentialises: the social sciences have divergent perspectives on the nature and world of man; they do not even agree about what such a world consists in, far less the sorts of causes which may operate in it (p. 360).
So then the 'we' which was as a sort of 'sanctified' academic unit, about to indoctrinate and instruct the student, in the tertiary textbook first noted (p. 353 supra), is found to be in a divided discipline in a disunified tertiary scene, where there is not even agreement about the kinds of forces and operations which are afoot, in the world and the life of man. Yet 'we' find ... find what ?
It is now time to see what is the advice about the discipline of sociology which is provided for the listening ear of the tertiary student. Subjectivistic sociological failure and ostensibly imposing authority are an ill-assorted mix. Is there not indeed a mixed multitude within the so illustrious discipline, thronging in the subject, the diverse denizens of sociology ? And what then is this ... their voice! Is it a wind, a cultural hiccough, a psychological eructation!
Bloom has referred to the development of diversity and perversity, and here we seem to arrive. One learns from the sociological code source (cited text) that there are 'positive' elements in masturbation, acceptable areas for the non-judgmentalist who does not see the matter 'bleakly' and social hope for homosexuality, acceptability as time (and what else ?) develops. Statistical norms, varying towards vice, replace subjectivised morals... and so the culture flows... but where ?
Who however will deem vice healthy, or dereliction towards design acceptable ? Is reaction against righteousness to become itself righteous ? Or is this parody, perhaps, for an amoral and proselytising group of teachers, whose logically baseless and relativistic im-moralising constitutes, in its confused divisions, merely one more verification of the Biblical prediction, as of its irreplaceable internal consistency ? Or is the source of it, this arid and subjectivistic stricture, a majority of text book writers ? One could be interested in seeing at least a few hundred names adduced, together with relative statistics for those of another view. The whole school of psychology which stresses (supra p. 51, Mowrer's Moral Model) the need for change in this field, to extensive emphasis on personal and moral responsibility for 'health', for example, must be in view.
In terms, then, of what has earlier been reasoned, we have here what is Biblically, a degenerate disregard of design and construction. Indeed this consideration is buttressed by a very considerable and tragic irony.
A generation which failed to make (in a huge percentage) the living God their refuge and strength, a very present help (Psalm 46:l) is justifiably finding AIDS from another cause, which is no help at all. This perverse inclination to join Sodom is succeeding all too well, almost like an experiment with now so dramatic verificatory results. Those who acquire the disease from blood transfusions and other medical errors attest the virulence of the plague, but do nothing to disguise the means of its multiplication.
Imagine your design is witless, and then 'study' the results... That is indeed what our generation is now doing ! How skilfully the Almighty has given a technocratically inclined generation, something to think about, when they perversely ignore their obvious designs, and use dysfunctionally, with astonishing brazenness, their functions for folly. It is necessary to be understanding in heart with those astray of course; but any inclination to minimise the mess this constitutes is folly incarnate, an immoral cyclotron.
We have been examining the pronouncements and intimation of Payne and Hahn on the 'positive' or 'acceptable' aspects, and against the 'judgmental' approach to personal conduct, in the realm of what in Biblical terms is design perversity, promiscuity, pollution or suppression. Let us however leave for the moment the sense of unhealthy selectivity the book appears to forward, and ponder the matter ourselves.
If mere selfish pleasure or amoral or irresponsible behaviour is to be relieved or encouraged, with no regard for the (the nature of the) joint or union character, built into the very physiological performance characteristics or technicalities of sex, what then? Does this not lead to the likelihood of some degree - perhaps even a great one - of selfishness or non-union behaviour in marriage, in child creation, to which the sexual equipment points structurally ? If so, might not a dissatisfied lover ('Not enough hedonist units per day! No good for me!' he/she might exclaim, in character), the more readily change 'partners', dumping children in the pursuit of the same lust for self-satisfaction which was perversely present or recklessly evident in the former pattern ? And if so, might not the child suffer traumas from a number of causes ?
These could be traumas from:
1) the change associated with the parting of one parent (it is not quite a matter of saying, 'Nice knowing you, goodbye, I have to go!').
2) the change from the advent of another 'parent'.
3) the non-genetic link in the latter, in terms of which omission, any 'selfish' reinforcement from earlier behavioural patterns might stimulate a sense of not really relating to the child, who does not share the new 'parent's' genes, or the features or functions that attend them.
4) a frank failure to understand certain elements of the 'new' child, which might partly relate to the complexities of not having genetic involvement - tendential only, but potentially dangerous where selfishness is taken for granted, or even inculcated by what 'society' or its teachers regarded as 'healthy' or 'acceptable' earlier.
5) the singularity of the parental case if there be no new parent, and hence a lack of one of the models or encouragers or examples ... and so on and on.
If this is more likely to occur on such an amoral model, how can it be said that what would tend to encourage the type of conduct which tends to this tenor of result, is 'healthy' ? Healthy for whom ? Is the very theory, for that is what it is, showing a heartless superficiality for those too young to formulate and press their pointed objections - like those doomed in the womb, through the cut of curettes - towards this kind of 'health' and 'acceptability' ? Indeed, this applies even omitting entirely the possible enhanced AIDS risk! If what is deemed 'acceptable' or 'safe' or 'available' and useful for aspects of health (pp. 363 ff.) is so indulged: then apart from the present character of the matter, what of the coming responsibilities of the person ?
These are neither superficial nor cheaply met! One may be reminded that it may seem in some ways beneficial to rob a bank, to some, for whom morality and criminality, and disorder and misuse of design mean little! There are however more appropriate paths to health which take account of more ... data!
Again (p. 334), we are informed: it may be 'hard' for a student to show how one can 'love the sinner but hate the sin' - as if jejunely to mock, judge or assail Christian teaching. On its target, this advice appears trained and deployed, with just that judgmentalism which is being assaulted, indeed prohibited! The matters of course have their humour. After all, if by morals one is obliged to disapprove of some forms of conduct, and this is to be called 'judgmental', then the critic who says so would, by that same canon or standard, also be 'judgmental' in voicing (from hidden codes) judgment of the student who first disapproved! "You ought never to say - 'You ought not!' " - this teaching resounds, in chaotic confusion.
Thus ineptly is the moral student disapproved, officially. Such disapproval of disapprovers is different moreover also in this: that the Biblical basis is not merely consistent, but far better tested, tried and able to stand, than is a subjectivistic and disastrously inconsistent concern lest anyone in anything, should actually be called in error. In fact, morals are traduced by immoral moralisers.
It is really only a question of which morals: All have them, even those who attack them on their 'principles', which then function as morals without however the sanction of time or reason, evidently displayed... merely perhaps a 'spirit of the age' feel ? Other ages have been frankly laughable often enough in their trends; why not this one ? Because it is 'sacred', 'evolved' and 'better' ? How so, if a meaningless work goes unpredictably, we know not where, for no reason; where only description is available, and no prescription is logically in order, no means of assessment, no standard for review ? And does the evidence of our Age suggest it, this blithe and beautiful advance... or one multiply analysable as sizzling towards the abyss!
It is no more supported in practice than it is valid in theory, so to act, and to judge those whose morals are explicit, and neither self-contradictory nor merely subjectivistic. Indeed in this Age, one could almost coin the term 'devilution' for some of our attainments. Such are its prodigies ... Biafra, Bosnia, Somaliland, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Stalin and his happily interred (or otherwise disposed of) millions, Hitler and his closeted Semites, our slow radioactive deaths and millions dead in scores of wars breaking out for causes broad or slender, like festering boils on the face of the earth.
Civilisations have in fact risen (in headstrong strength) only to fall in turmoil, before this epoch. Egypt cannot now match her former grandeur, nor can Rome, nor Portugal nor Holland nor Britain... nor Babylon. Will theory for ever anti-scientifically precede fact in the sociology of fancy, which has the grave humour - but not wit - to call itself social 'science', as if to ensure that we are all dead, if only from laughing.
What then is so especially sacred about what a number of radical thinkers happen to feel! ('Gut' reaction is sometimes the term, where reason and evidence will not co-operate; but I notice it does not always lead to intestinal fortitude, or even ... self-control!) What makes man, or the Age, or the 'community of nations', so sacred, its views so special ... now ?
We are not so special. Hitler's Germans thought they were, but they were not. Self-assurance is by no means an index to value. A basis is needed, one that can only be reinforced by testing over time; and a ground beyond psychic preference, opinings from oblivion, chantings from chaos. The character and conduct of Christ and the character and predictions, the analyses and the results of the Bible are, as we have shown, what the case requires. They are that consistent, systematic, mutually reinforcing and attesting, self-verificatory, uniquely rationally evidenced basis.
Reverting to our textbook and the imagined problem with loving the sinner and hating the sin, it is only necessary to point out an important distinction. It is that between the state and the fate of a 'sinner' (or 'one disapproved' - if that terminology is not 'approved'). In a given state, the sinner may both in conduct and character be spoiled in certain directions - for example by mind-destroying drugs. This however is not the same as the case where this is the last or irremediable state, or fate, of the sinner. One can love the sinner qua person who has been, and may yet be different; and judiciously detest what is destroying him/her.
"Love" in this case is looking to a fulness, functionality or excellence and so on. The distinction however between the current dynamical state, and the eventual outcome or fate, is not only valid but obvious; and it can occur in clear fashion in drug examples, to name but one, where complete rehabilitation may later occur, after correction of the destructive conduct - the self- destructive actions. Spiritual regeneration is of course a further personal deliverance, which would add vastly to the scope of thought here, and the heights of love's aspiration.
Here love is occupied with change of state, deliverance.
There is readily available also another aspect. The sinner may be loved in terms of hope that he/she may not only be changed in state, but as a going concern, a functionally renewed person and a vitally alive person. This 'love' is no longer moving in positional concern, alone, not to deliverance and excellence alone, but in desire for the well-being of the person in weal and welfare: it is no longer merely remedial, but aesthetic and functional and more closely and intimately personal than in the first of the cases above.
In this case, the change may be envisioned only personally and that by faith alone. In this and other ways, however, it is perfectly easy to distinguish between condemning or disapproving of the sin, and loving the sinner. This dictum does not imply that the sinner does not sin; that would not be difficult but impossible to maintain. The action and the person are both involved in sin. The person, however, may not arbitrarily be limited to now or to current dynamics; there is a stasis which may occur later, relatively speaking, a time and character dimension which may only arbitrarily be ignored. A man can love his country somewhat similarly, despite its disastrous condition; and the present features and failures, being sin, can yet evoke the desire of love for a remedy keenly envisioned, and actively worked for. Doctors can similarly love the patient and loathe the disease, perfectly simultaneously.
A country, then, is not, and humanity is not what one chooses to 'see', but what it is. And sociology must be aware not of what it chooses to see, but of what is. It may not be a science, but at least it must live with data. Now, in general, society consists of Christians, and non-Christians, Moslems and non-Moslems, agnostics and theists, atheists and believers ... and so on. It is not really academically possible to exclude certain elements, when seeking to characterise society, however readily one may (and indeed should) exclude from logical claims, those views which do not stand up to reason, such as the self-contradictory neo-judgmentalism noted earlier.
This requires analysis. However, a priori, one must not fail to characterise what is - socially, with proper respect for all the components. This is especially clear and important when nominally at least, as with 'Christians', these may run into hundreds of millions. Such an omission or oversight can be detrimental to objectivity, in saying what 'we' now think. There are millions quite relevant to the case, who do not so now think. As noted, some careful statistics might be in order, in any endeavour even to characterise the cosy code... lest this procedure beg questions that simply imply extrapolation from the cultural mode of a group! Even then, such aspects are no more instructive, to the point, than would be a change in the statistics on syphilis. It aids not at all.
Before we leave the valley of the shadow of assumptions, there is one more which needs careful attention. It is the pleasure principle. This raises the issue:
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