“ ‘Science,’ as now generally understood, actually combines appeals to all three sources [of knowledge: authority, reason, and experience], but in undigested and incoherent ways that permit it to be manipulated in the public arena, where policy issues are in question, for numerous unscientific and political purposes. Indeed, nothing would be more helpful in the midst of today’s confusions than a thorough understanding of the nature and limitations of “science” itself.
“But the sciences themselves cannot provide such an understanding, because each one is limited to its peculiar subject matter (which certainly is not “science”), and so the necessary work cannot be done in any way that is “scientific” under current understandings. That reveals the impasse of modern life. Science is the presumed authority on knowledge, but it cannot provide scientific knowledge of science.
“. . . No science is omnicompetent, nor, very likely, is any [particular] “scientifically minded” person. But given the present confusions in the world of intellect, this seems to be a point easily missed. Actually, what we see here are the influences of an unsupported worldview.”
— Dallas Willard, Knowing Christ Today, 60-61.
I recently had the pleasure of editing City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, releasing October 1 from Moody Publishers. In this volume, Gerson and Wehner draw on their experience as former White House staff, journalists, and commentators on religion (especially evangelicalism) to chart a new course for Christians to engage with politics in a post-Religious-Right era.
Rather than focusing on specific strategies for influencing legislation or electing politicians, the authors outline broad biblical principles that should inform believers as they engage the realm of politics—the “City of Man” in the words of Augustine. Such principles include fighting for human rights, defending life, supporting the family and other character-shaping institutions, and engaging with political and ideological opponents in a civil and respectful manner.
What I most appreciate about City of Man is that it isn’t partisan in its approach, though both authors are well-known conservatives, but that it strives to present biblically and theologically sound first principles that apply to Christians of all political persuasions. I believe the authors succeed, and I recommend this volume to any Christian looking for a deeper understanding of how the City of God relates to the City of Man.
You can download the foreword (by Timothy Keller) and preface in PDF format here.