Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Worldviews, Science, and Roles

I have been thinking a lot in the last few years about my faith. What is the role and function of the Church, the State, and the individual. I had understood my faith to be about a separation between Church and State, as this left freedom for the individual's expression and commitment. I think this was what our Founding Fathers meant to do, so that there would be no conflict of interest when it concerns the realm of politics. This is a complentarity view.

From what I can gather, the complentarirty view sees science, and faith as distinct spheres. This view to be consistent would also view roles and functions as distinct. This view would lend itself to a two level view of leadership. The sacred realm is to be led by ministers, while the secular realm would be for "worldly" leaders. Likewise, in the home there would be distinct roles and functions for the male and female. The problem becomes one of hierarchy, importance, and prejuidice in understanding life in all its diversity. In the philosophical realm, this view holds faith and reason in two distinct areas of understanding. And purpose is found within the sacred realm where "god" determines what is to be done or one submits to what is understood to be "god's will". Science is a means to an end. This view would be more conservative in traditional terms.

On the other hand, a more liberal view would lend itself to a integrated view. Faith is not anti-thetical to reason, nor is faith anti-thetical to politics. Faith contains reason, as faith encompasses values that are reasoned from ethical commitments. Character is viewed as the epitome of truth claims. This is where the life lived is a commitment to values held. Purpose is made, not found by the individual. Life is lived under social contract understanding. And science is the way of understanding more about life. Science is an end itself. Reason is embraced as a means, but should not be the end.

Revelation in the former view is outside of the individual, in moral models, texts, relgious understandings, or groups, where the later would view revelation as the individual themself. The individual who holds to the former view does not necessarily hold a lower view or development of character, if, that is, the character has come to resolve the values of revelation as "other' and the trascendent as a separate realm. It is a matter of perception of reality, life, personal development, identification, value, and commitment.

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