Russell and Duenes

“Not Whether, But Which”

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neutralityI’ve been pressed for time this week, due to one of my most grueling final exam schedules in law school thus far. So I’ll make it quick here. Douglas Wilson is at is best, in my opinion, when writing popularly on questions of epistemology. The fact that the word “epistemology” clangs in the ears of most Christians is a large part of our problem. Essentially, epistemology has to do with the question: How do we know what we know? But one central premise of Christian epistemology is that there is no spiritual or moral neutrality anywhere in the universe. This too comes as a rather shocking statement when uttered in many Christian circles. With respect to this absence of neutrality, Wilson has made a statement which we should all just go ahead and memorize. It really ought to work itself into some kind of modern creed, to be recited liturgically in Christian fellowships:

Not whether, but which. It is not whether we will have an established state religion, but rather which established state religion we will have. It is not whether our culture will serve a god, but rather which god it will serve. It is not whether we will impose morality with a law, but rather which morality we will impose with a law. It is not whether our culture will rest upon a blood sacrifice, but rather which blood sacrifice it will be. It is not whether we will discipline in terms of our public morality, but rather which group will be disciplined. Not whether, but which.

Of course, I am wont to point out the force of this truth in the educational context. It is the reason why public, government, schools will never be spiritually or religiously neutral. It is not whether a certain god will be worshiped and exalted by the public school curriculum, but which God. Of course, I’ll always have occasion to say more about this in the future. But I commend Wilson’s entire brief piece to you here.



Written by Michael Duenes

May 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

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