On insight into this world ...
Thursday, Jan 4, 2018. It is interesting to think about what is causing us to gain insight into this world. What is creating a path towards better insight? And what is in the way, keeping us from insight at this or that particular point?
Philosophical Preconceptions …
If you look into the history of science, your realize quickly that there were many philosophical preconceptions which kept people from insight into special problems for quite a while. Only when someone managed to break the preconception, the path was free for new insight. What is the nature of our space, the nature of light, the nature of time, the nature of small things and large things, matter and fields? Physics has seen astonishing insight over the past 150 years.
But the same is true for medicine, for biology, for chemistry, for engineering, for manufacturing, for mathematics.
When it comes to faith, we have the same phenomenon. Philosophical preconceptions might keep us away from faith, or they might keep us caught in a particular world. That might not be the faith described in the biblical books, in the New Testament, in the prophets.
The biblical faith …
What is the biblical faith? What does it tell us? What is its message, its insight? You might approach the book with a particular idea about its content. You probably approach it with your own philosophical preconception.
There is, for example, the historical critical approach. Its philosophical preconception is a particular understanding of what can be true and what cannot be true. So it reads and sorts the texts and arguments according to its prescribed ideas of reality. That does not necessarily help to get to the message of the bible as it was written or meant by Jesus himself.
Of course, this argument is very general. Any approach might be a preconception. Any understanding needs some ideas, then listen, then judge, then reread, then change the first ideas and approach with an updated understanding, and so on. We call this the hermeneutical circle. It means to understand step by step - if all works out well!
It is not a bad idea to go and read with some preliminary ideas, and then see how far you get. As long as your are willing to listen and to change your understanding when good arguments turn up, there is nothing wrong. It might be the best you can do.
And yes, God might want to talk to you through the biblical books. So it would be good to listen. It would be good to pray to him to help you to understand. This might, at least initially, also be a preconception, which has to be proven to be a good way, which leads you forward. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts