This is the continuation of a dialog between "OnceAWesleyan" and me under the comment section of the previous post.
Question: Where does the biblical worldview come from?
OAW: The mind of God, by the procession of the Holy Spirt as He runs along the tracks of Scripture. It's called conversion and ongoing sanctification. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Be not conformed to this World but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Conversion and then progressive sanctification is what changes our Worldview so that our interpretations increasingly reflect the mind of God.The existence of the God of the Bible and the verity of His Word thus becomes the axiomatic presupposition upon which our Worldview rests. God is the necessary pre-condition for intelligability but it is a pre-condition that only God can give in conversion.
ME: It gives me no end of joy to see a Calvinist point to "experience" as the authenticator of the right presuppositions with which to approach the Bible :-)
I accept the strong possibility that there are clear presuppositional leanings a person will likely have after conversion that they might not have had prior to conversion. But I have two or three serious questions (and here I will not say I represent my tradition):
1. Since among those I would consider genuinely converted we find countless different understandings of the Bible, we are forced to a) deny most of them a true conversion or b) consider the conversion presuppositions very broad indeed.
2. I think I can follow the reasoning of the Reformed epistemologists. They seem to be using the same sort of "microreason" that people use every day in all sorts of different contexts, from blog discussions to scientific laboratories to choosing jello. These are rules of logic like a=a, if a=b and b=c then a=c, and so forth. The difference seems to be in the presuppositions, what possibilities are allowed (e.g., are miracles possible? can someone rise from the dead?).
3. There are points where this microreason and experience seem overpowering over the most faith-filled unless they are highly unstable mentally. So if I believed God was telling me that I had to believe that my car was purple to be saved, could I? If I tried would I not find myself on a path to lose my faith?
My point is that there is some level on which the reasoning of the converted and the reasoning of the unconverted seems to be the same basic micro-reason and experiential reasoning. I can account for Reformed epistemology simply by saying the presuppositions are different without saying the reasoning is different.
Wesley, who for good or ill was at least in part a child of the Enlightenment, saw this basic ability to reason as a product of God's prevenient grace. God has partially fired up the engines of all humanity's fallen natural image so that we can micro-reason correctly.
Now I'm sounding very modernist here, and there are a number of "after-modern" footnotes I think, but this line of thought seems to "work."
OAW: In the end, there are only two Worldviews.
ME: What do these each look like specifically?
Question: What is the source of this authoritative worldview?
OAW: The B-I-B-L-E Yes, that's the book for me.I stand alone on the Word of God.The B-I-B-L-E
ME: My problem is that my micro-reason has looked into the ancient context of the Bible and noticed a few things about the thoughts in the Bible. I see that Paul says he was taken up into the third heaven. I notice that the Testament of Levi pictures three heavens. I see that God separates waters in Genesis and puts the stars in between the waters. I see that the Enuma Elish has a creator God separating waters at the beginning of creation. I see Paul saying that husbands are the heads of their wives and then notice that Aristotle said the same thing a few hundred years before.
In short, I notice that the individual biblical writings seem to be in a dialog with their own worlds, that they share many worldview elements with their individual worlds. My micro-reason pushes me to wonder whether I do the same thing and often read these words quite differently than the original audiences did.
Take the vapor canopy theory of scientific creationists. A "literal" reading of Genesis places the stars between the waters above and the waters beneath. Is not then the vapor canopy reading an example of a modern scientific worldview directing the line of thought of a fundamentalist?
Question: Are you really going to suggest that in coming to Scripture you do so without biases that affect your conclusions on what counts for evidence?
ME: No, of course I have biases too. I advocate a "faith seeking understanding" model. But I would go insane if I had to continue to hold to various beliefs in the face of overwhelming "naughty data" that didn't fit it. It won't help my PR to mention Bultmann at this point, but there seems to be some truth (to put it in my words) to the idea that we can't rationally use cell phones, lap tops, and believe the Space Shuttle really flies and then arbitrarily reject the micro-reason that has brought these things in some other area of our thinking.
In these thoughts I only speak for myself, not for the Wesleyan Arminian tradition. Wesley's Enlightenment element is probably fair game for inner critique, even if I personally like it.
P.S. Quite funny isn't it, the Wesleyan argument for cognitive integrity, the Reformed person arguing for the importance of an experiential basis...