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Christianity is at odds with Post Modernism and Scientific Naturalism, and there are fundamental differences between them. Because, while these other two worldviews don’t agree on a lot, they do agree that there is no such thing as a non-scientific knowledge of reality.
Therefore, what they assume is that when you are dealing with science, the concepts of right and wrong become evident. There is no guesswork, only certainty. So, if a chemistry teacher gets in front of a classroom and says, “There is hydrochloric acid in this beaker. Be very careful whenever you are near it, because if you touch it, it will burn you.” Nobody would protest and say, “Stop legislating chemistry!”
However, if you were to stand up and say that abortion is wrong or that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, then people will respond that you are attempting to legislate your views upon other people. And the reason why they feel that way is due to the premise that when you are dealing with something outside of science, no one could differentiate or dictate what is right or wrong.
You might be right, it’s just that you can’t know you’re right.
The important point is that, with the result of marginalizing Christianity and preventing Christians from becoming leaders within the culture, our society is being led to believe that Christianity is not a source of knowledge of reality – that within the Bible and the Creeds of the Church, we are not given knowledge.
And, sadly, the Church has often agreed with this.
If you were to ask many pastors or laypeople across our country, “What do we have in the Bible?” the answer would most often be, “Truth”. But, when you follow up that question with, “Can you really know that it is true?”, the reply is often, “No, you have to accept it by faith.”
So, according to this view, the Bible’s truth is must be accepted by an act of faith. It logically follows, then, that the Bible is not a source of knowledge, but instead a tool for personal faith. It’s claims, then, then are marginalized to the degree that even many Christians say that we do not know that God exists, but we believe He exists. We don’t’ know that Jesus is the Son of God, but we have faith that He is.
There’s really no difference between these statements and a plumber not knowing anything about plumbing, but having faith in his pipes or a lawyer not having any knowledge about contracts but believing that he knows the right way to structure a legally binding document.
You’ve got to understand that this type of thinking cuts the Church off at the knees.
So, what I want to establish the fact that Christianity has always understood itself to be a source of Truth and of knowledge of reality – genuine knowledge just like chemistry or American history.
So, that raises the question: What exactly is knowledge?
There are three types of knowledge, the first being known as “Knowledge by Acquaintance” (aka “Knowledge by Direct Experience”). This kind of knowledge comes when you are directly aware of something. For example, if you see or witness something, you are made aware of it and therefore know it. It’s a form of knowledge by experience. This type of knowledge does not require critical thinking. Newborn infants can know who their mother is, without the ability to critically reason who this woman is who is holding him.
Now, it’s important to realize that Knowledge by Acquaintance is not limited to your five senses. A clear example of this is introspective knowledge of your own consciousness. This applies to thoughts that you have or are having, assumptions you make regarding information you receive and responses from external triggers from your five senses. This also applies to knowledge of your own beliefs (i.e., whether or not George Washington was a good president). All you have to do in any of these is to pay attention to your own thoughts, beliefs, or consciousness and you can report one way or another truths in regards to your knowledge.