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The Enlightenment That Won't Go Away: Modernity's Crux

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Abstract:

The Critical Process unleashed by the Enlightenment and endlessly resharpening itself to this day has mortally wounded the God of Deism, maybe also of theism, even of Christianity. A temptation of Christian theology is to retreat in denial into an updated version of Deism, seemingly granting full license to modern science but only so long as it does not impugn God's love. The alternative here proposed is to ride out The Critical Process, in fact to encourage it, all the way into modernity's crux: How can a design that is not benign still be divine? The Christian reply is: through a real death of God and of ourselves as well, and through resurrections beginning now, thus freeing The Critical Process from the illusion of insuring our survival and, instead, for the honest Enlightenment task of merely telling the truth.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; Christian theology; David Hume; Deism; Enlightenment; The Critical Process; critical reason; crux; evil; postmodernism; rationalism; science; survival; yoke

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9744.00322

Affiliations: Lutheran School of Theology

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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