What is Apologetics in Our Own Generation?

The world spirit at the moment at our time might be called humanism. This is not the narrow philosophical humanism of Julian and Aldous Huxley. It is a broader definition of humanism. This broader humanism is that man begins only with man and works outwards from himself.

  • Knowledge
  • Standards
  • Integration

This means that wherever we turn, this is all we can turn to for Integration, to man only. If we are going to talk truly with typical 20th century people we need to understand what the world spirit is to avoid missing each other.

Speaking Chinese?

We can't expect to be able to communicate unless we take some time to learn the thought forms that we are facing and without taking these thought forms into account will bring the same result of speaking Chinese to someone who doesn't understand it. Communicating requires taking into account where the other person is. The concept of a worldwide mental attitude is easier for us to grasp. There is a something that could be called the cultural mentality of a particular period. Our type of educational format leads to a high degree in specialist areas, without necessarily a parallel development in understanding other areas. Christians have been slow at this point to understand.

What are the relationships and associations in the various areas of thought?

  • The Line of despair. Those who live before the line are very close to the Renaissance man.

A chasm between those people who live before the line (1890 in Europe; 1930 in USA) and those people who live after the line. Philosophy could be said to take a certain pattern. This circle will contain the knowledge. All of life can be fit into the circle.

A short History of philosophy (Indian or Greek).
'Ah ha! There is a failure but this one will work.'
'Ah! Not that one but this new one'
'No, there is a gap there. Try this one.'
It is discouraging to see this happening over and over again.

Greeks to the Germans

Hegel changed everything. Hegel said something different.

Why has philosophic thinking changed in structure?

If you took a man and put him in the dark in a large circular building he would search for an exit. At a certain point, not finding an exit he would not only doubt that there was an exit, he would question the whole fabric of the thing.

Before Hegel and Kant:

  • People had thought in the areas of 'cause and effect' in a very different way.
  • With Hegel he came to a different proposition. Instead of cause and effect he set up thesis and antithesis to synthesis.
  • Thesis and Antithesis to Synthesis
  • The modern man finds an answer in terms of synthesis. The answer is in finding a synthesis. Answers are not so much that x is wrong and x is right, but a matter of finding a synthesis
  • Hegel is king. Hegel has won.

The next man would be Kierkegaard. The doorway for Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard made a contribution, and that contribution was that finding the answers and solutions to life was to be conditioned not on the basis of rational certainty but rather on the jump of faith.

This talk is taken from L'Abri Fellowship's extensive library of talks (www.labri.org) and is reproduced here by their kind permission.