Thursday, June 5, 2008

Beyond Foundationalism II

Theology after Modernity:

The Enlightenment influence on theology is far reaching. One cannot traverse far in the theological landscape without encountering the influences, and constructions of modernity along the way. Foundationalism [the belief that certain assertions receive their support from other beliefs that are more basic or foundational. The goal is to provide the foundation in order to evaluate and determine the veracity of all other beliefs], pervades throughout the belief systems of our churches and forms the very construction and praxis of theology.

How can we make our way forward in this twisting, winding, and sloping landscape that we now find ourselves submersed in? Postmodernity seeks to demolish the former high places that the Enlightenment epistemology erected for our worship and admiration. The era that traverses beyond foundationalism seeks to formulate theology in a non-foundational context. First we must recognize that reason, and objectivity are not only impossible on our part, but that the supposed universal reason we so want to appeal to is actually a construction of our personal and local contexts.

"Reason is not the supposedly neutral medium in which human relfection takes place. Nor is it a purely formal and autonomous given that precedes, and gives shape to, intellectual reflection. Instead, reason is person specific, and situation specific."

Beyond Foundationalism, 41

Our constructions of theology are not objective or neutral, but rather a reflection on the context and situation that we find ourselves in. The very questions we ask in theology are context driven. When we are able to give up our quest for an objective reality, we are then able to move forward in our search for the answers to the questions that our world is asking.

Theology must begin to be seen as a mosaic, comprising the past, present, and future of theology as a unified whole. Theology is the result of the many voices of Christians throughout the centuries. One must be careful to recognize these voices, and be aware of the influencing voices that drive a persons particular theology. Theology then is most properly done in the context of community. The Scriptures call us out as the people of God to speak into reality the kingdom of God. Jesus has established his rule and reign on this earth, and he calls us out to be the eschatological people of God. We are called to participate in the formation of the kingdom of God.

Our language, actions, and theology should reflect the hope of this future world. We make sense out of the world by speaking what shall be. We are an eschatological people not accepting the world as it is, but rather looking forward to the world as it will be.

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