"Worldview" as a wrong-headed approach.

The appropriation of Weltaunschaung by contemporary Reformed thought is an additional indication that the tradition is itself pretty passé. One does not have to look far to see myriads of books, seminars, and audio cassettes addressing the topic of worldviews. In reality, the embracing of the language of "worldview" by the contemporary Reformed thought and the broader Evangelical Christian subculture is tacit acceptance of the Enlightenment's dethronement of theology as the "queen of the sciences."

Until the sixteenth century, theology sat at the top of a high dais, looking down through the ordered ranks of the scala naturae upon the vulgar masses while metaphysics stood at her right hand as handmaiden--or prime minister. In practical terms, the effect of the Enlightenment was to topple this premodern "scale of the sciences" and lay what had hitherto been a hierarchy of knowledge on its side. The fallen hierarchy was easily segmented into disciplines. The disciplines were coordinated and compartmentalized. The encyclopedia is iconic of this. Theology became one discipline among many, and was eventually crowded to the corners of the Academy--or pushed out on the street altogether.

The idea of "worldview" reflects the need to find some means of relating the segmented disciplines in terms of a coherent whole. The chosen means are essentially subjective and cognitive. "Worldview" thus correlates with Romanticism.

The current fad for "worldview" is really an attempt to attempt to recapture something of the former scope and field of theology and metaphysics precisely without reasserting the claims of theology and metaphysics as such. In place of an objective hierarchy corresponding to God's governance of world, "worldview" leaves what I will call the "imperial question" in the Academy largely as it was--framed at the high level in subjective and cognitive terms. As such, to relate, educate, and center apologetics primarily in terms of "worldview" probably not really very helpful after all. To frame a Christian response to contemporary society first and foremost in terms of "worldview" constitutes itself the capitulation of Christianity to the "worldview" of the nineteenth century.

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