Part 2: Two Paths to Secularism
The following quotes from p.76 summarize my present longing.
“Art tries, literally, to picture things which philosophy tries to put into carefully thought-out words.” Han Rookmaaker. And contemporary architect David Gobel said that in art, “a worldview is made tangible.”
People don’t’ care so much about the technical expertise of an artist, but how they convey some aspect of the world as they see it. Art is never a perfect copy of nature, but is an illusion; an interpretation or perspective on the part of the artist. The author makes a connection between the identity crisis of the art world in the Modern era and its abandoning the concept of truth.
Contrary to media opinion, the greatest minds in the world of science are Christians who are scientists. Yet, the world continues to try to erase such facts and, like the Empiricists, attempts to find solutions to man’s problems through the achievements of science and industry. These same blind seers declare that art should never contain any moral lesson or implication.
Impressionism attempted to approach visual reality through the lens of science. Post- Impressionists wanted to reclaim some deeper sense of reality in their work. During the same time, rationalists emphasized mathematics as the tool for understanding all things, as compared to the empiricists who believed that understanding came from data acquired through the senses. The perfect art movement to parallel the rationalists was cubism. Geometric abstraction, in particular the work of Mondrian, epitomized the rationalist worldview.
“Art was no longer a portrayal of a subject but the investigation of form.” (p.130)
Secular worldviews are nothing more than substitutes for traditional religion. They become a template for an individuals thinking, communication, and view of life. In this, empiricists and rationalists have the same goal: to replace divine revelation with an alternate authority which can be imposed on society. Secularists think nothing of criticizing religious institutions for doing the very thing of which they are guilty.
Pearcey lays out a simple two–part test for any worldview: “1) Is it internally logically consistent, 2) Does it fit the real world? That is, can it be applied and lived out consistently without doing violence to human nature? The second question suggest a biblical form of pragmatism. After all, the purpose of a worldview is to explain the world – to provide a mental map for navigating reality. If the map does not work in the real world, then it is not an accurate guide.” (p.152)
The proponents of alternative worldviews, especially the naturalists, may even admit that their model is inconsistent and impossible to live by. But they continue on because the biblical worldview is an unacceptable and threatening option. It’s like the prideful child who refuses to accept the gift of a new toy while insisting on playing with his own broken piece of junk.
And, as was stated before, these alternative worldview advocates will be quick to criticize others’ views but never scrutinize their own views with the same pair of glasses.
Here’s another specific example: Liberal logical positivism reclaimed Hume’s fork as a standard for knowledge: 1) ideas are either derived from sensation or 2) come out of logical necessity, like mathematics. Yet, their precepts were not empirically verifiable…so, the movement self-destructed.
Secular Humanism is constantly looking for ways to change the environment to change the way people think and live. After all, they conclude, we are nothing more than the product of our environment, whether selective evolution or behavioral engineering…hence the application of Bauhaus architecture.
Pearcey quotes Hans Rookmaaker in his criticism of minimalism while missing an opportunity to make a worldview application. The meaningless or purely design use of color is the artist’s expression of the “deeper vision of the human condition”! I agree with Seerveld when he states, modern art (Mondrian-like reductionism, in particular) “has refined a brilliant alphabet but has nothing to say.” Yet, without that initial contribution, there would be no alphabet of visual design.
(to be continued)