Essentials of Worldview Analysis - Lesson 1

Philosophy of History (Part 1/2)

In this lesson, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the concept of a worldview, which is the sum total of a person's answers to life's most important questions. You'll learn about the five components of a worldview: belief about God, ultimate reality, ethics, human knowledge, and human beings. The lesson also discusses the topics covered in the course, such as political philosophy, economics, and the environment. Furthermore, it explores the philosophy of history and its relationship to Christianity, focusing on how Christianity is a historical religion and the significance of historical events in the Christian faith.

Ronald Nash
Essentials of Worldview Analysis
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Philosophy of History (Part 1/2)

Philosophy of History

Part 1

I. Brief Introduction to World View Thinking

A. What is a world view?

B. Life’s most important Questions

1. God

2. Ultimate Reality

3. Ethics

4. Human Knowledge

5. Human Beings

C. Issues in a Consistent World View


II. The Philosophy of History

A. History and Geschichte

B. History and the Christian faith


III. Collingwood’s Theory of History


IV. Bultmann and Historical Idealism

A. Faith and History

B. Form and Content in the Kerygma

C. Myth in the New Testament

D. Bultmann’s position weakened by

1. the nature of phenomenological language

2. the uncertain meaning of “science”

  • In this lesson, Dr. Nash introduces the idea of World View Thinking. You will explore the Philosophy of History, Collingwood's theory of history, and Bultmann and his historical idealism leading to understanding of how historical events are integral to the Christian faith.
  • In this lesson, we continue with Bultman's view of history and his idea of myth, gnosticism, and demythologizing. Dr. Nash concludes with a discussion of historical knowledge and interpersonal knowledge, and models of faith.
  • Delve into the philosophy of history's significance for the Christian faith and American political philosophy, exploring the struggle between freedom and virtue in political liberalism, conservatism, and the state.

A seminary-level version of this class is available in our Institute Program.

Dr. Ronald Nash
Essentials of Worldview Analysis
Philosophy of History (Part 1/2)
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:02] What you're listening to is a 3 hours or so of taped material that will function as a summary of my biblical training course called Advanced Worldview Thinking or Advanced Worldview analysis. Let me explain generally what goes on in the big course, and then you'll be able to see, I think, more clearly what I'm going to do when there's 3 hours of tape that will introduce you to that course and sort of summarize what we try to do. If you've listened to any of my other courses or if you've read any of my major books, you surely know by now or you will know shortly. But I believe the key to a whole lot of important thinking about the Christian faith. And the key to unlocking what goes on. And the thinking of a whole lot of people who regard themselves as enemies of the Christian faith has to do with what we call worldview thinking. Now, I really don't want to repeat that material. Some of you have heard that already on my other tapes. And so sooner or later you'll hear what it is. But I will just give you a brief introduction to it. I believe that a worldview is the sum total of a person's answers to life's most important questions. I believe that everybody has a worldview, even though most people may not know that they have a worldview. And of course, if they don't know they have a worldview, they probably don't know the content of their worldview. Christianity is more than just a scattered collection of beliefs about different issues. It is a complete and coherent set of answers to all of life's most important questions.

[00:02:23] And I argue in my books, and I argue on my tapes that the Christian worldview is by far the superior worldview within the world of ideas. Now, I've made mention to life's most important questions What are those most important questions of life? Well, I always begin by narrowing them down to five in number. The five basic components of a worldview are, first of all, what a person believes about God. Is there a God? What is God like? What is God and nature? And those of you who are familiar with Christianity, you won't have any trouble recognizing what most of the major elements of the Christian view of God will be. The second component of a worldview is what we believe about ultimate reality. The third is what we believe about ethics. The next one is what we believe about human knowledge. How do we come to know? And the fifth component of a worldview is what we believe about human beings. When a human being dies, is that the end of his existence? When a human being dies is their continued existence after death. And so that's what's covered in my other courses. It struck me one day that I ought to do another course in which I go beyond those five basic sets of questions that make up every worldview. Then I explore some of those other issues to see what a consistent Christian would and should believe about those things. So if and when you take the course advanced worldview thinking or advanced worldview analysis, here are some of the issues that we talk about. We talk about politics, for example, political philosophy. Politics is not worldview neutral. If you're paying attention to what's going on in the political world of the United States, you surely know that in most cases, I'd say over 90% of the cases are conservative.

[00:04:47] Christian holds to a different worldview than a political liberal does. And so I explore that issue. I explain what political liberalism is in that course. I explain what political conservatism is. And I give you arguments that strongly suggest that one of those two political worldviews has great advantages over the other. I also include economics with respect to economics. There are lots of people within the Christian church who argue for a socialist view of economics and try to persuade a whole lot of people that if we're really faithful Christians, we should advocate versions of socialism or a welfare state kind of approach. So I've not only written books about politics, I've also written books about economics. My book, Poverty and Wealth, is widely used as a textbook on economics. I talk about the environment that's an issue that has worldview dimensions. So what I'm going to do in this three hour tape is pick two, maybe three issues that we deal with, worldview issues that we deal with in the longer course as an illustration of how the Christian worldview on issues like history, which is one of the things we're going to look at how Christian worldview issues arise from our study of history, perhaps how certain views about government and the state come together to formulate a worldview position on these issues that is consistent with the biblical worldview. So why don't we just get started? Okay. And I'm going to begin to talk about the philosophy of history. Now, I've mentioned the five issues that are indispensable to any worldview, analysis, God, knowledge, ultimate reality, ethics, and human nature. If I were to add a sixth issue to that, it would be history. Now there are two basic views of world history that I'll explain shortly.

[00:07:16] And I've written books about both of them. If you want to read material, along with my discussion of a Christian view of history, I would suggest my book that's called Christian Faith and Historical Understanding. That book has been published by several companies over the years. It is back in print. It was briefly out of print. It's published today by AARP Press. Go to your computer and ask your browser to get you to AARP press. It's also known as Academic Renewal Press, and the title of the book is Christian Faith and Historical Understanding. Later in this tape, when I start talking about some theories about political philosophy, you would be helped, I think, by looking up another one of my books that has been out of print for a few years but is now back in print. The title of that other book is called Social Justice and the Christian Church, and it too, is published by AARP Press or Academic Renewal Press, located in Lima, Ohio. One or two of these books may also be available from Amazon dot com and other Internet suppliers. Well, let's start focusing on a Christian worldview analysis of history, because Christianity has a unique relationship to history. The topics that I talk about in my course should be matters of concern to both believers and nonbelievers. For one thing, Christianity teaches that God has revealed himself in history as American theologian William Hordern observes, quote, Where other religions have looked to nature and mystical or rational experience to find the revelation of God. The biblical faith finds revelation primarily in certain historical events. Historian Herbert Butterfield explains that history is a historical religion because, quote, it presents us with religious doctrines which are at the same time historical events or historical interpretations.

[00:09:43] Butterfield goes on to note, quote, Historical events are held to be part of the Christian religion itself. They are considered to have a spiritual content and to represent the divine breaking in upon history. Christians believe that in Jesus Christ, God actually entered into human history. Christianity is also a historical religion in the sense that the actual occurrence of certain events like the crucifixion and the resurrection, is a necessary condition for the truth of Christianity. If such an event as the resurrection of Christ can be shown to have happened in history, many Christians believe important Christian claims will be vindicated. Some Christian thinkers go so far as to claim that historical evidence can actually prove the truth of many Christian beliefs, while others insist that the evidence may fall short of definitive proof. They agree that history can provide evidence that makes the faith of individual Christian believers reasonable. But the appeal to historical evidence is a coin with two sides. Nonbelievers get equally excited about the possibility that historical evidence might falsify a central Christian claims British theologian to Roberts is correct when he says, quote, The truth of Christianity is anchored in history. Hence the implicit recognition that if some or all of the events upon which Christianity has been traditionally thought to be based could be proved on historical, then the religious claims of Christianity would be seriously jeopardized. Another British writer, Alan Richardson, agrees. Quote, The Christian faith he wrote is thus a historical faith in the sense that it is more than the mere intellectual acceptance of a certain kind of theistic philosophy. The Christian faith is bound up with certain happenings in the past, and if these happenings could be shown never to have occurred or to have been quite different from the biblical Christian account of them, then the whole edifice of Christian faith, life and worship.

[00:12:09] Would be found to have been built on sand. End of quote. Clearly, then clearly, then questions about the relationship between Christianity and history should not be taken lightly. What is history? The word history is ambiguous. It may be used to refer to events that happened in the past, or it may mean the narrative, the account or record of the past. That is, history can refer either to that which is studied the past or to the study itself. In these lectures, we will be concerned primarily with the second sense of history, that is the historians record of the past, the narrative that connects past events and makes them intelligible. Several more distinctions are necessary, however, if the essence of history is to be made clear. For one thing, we must distinguish between the past as such and the human past. While there may be other disciplines like paleontology that may be interested in the pre-human past, history is concerned with the past of humankind. Second, an important difference exists between just any event in the human past and significant events. Consider, for example, the hypothetical fact that at 9:04 a.m. on December 29th, 1520, King Henry, the eighth of England, sneezed. Events such as this are not the proper concern of history. The historian is concerned with past events that are significant, such as, for example, the fact that in 1531 A.D., Henry, the eighth, declared himself head of the English church. In most cases, a sneeze. Even the sneeze of a king is not important enough to warrant inclusion in a historical record. On the other hand, though, had Henry sneeze been severe enough to rupture a blood vessel and thus cause paralysis or death, it would have been significant. History then, is concerned only with the important things that have happened in the human past.

[00:14:41] The trivial, the commonplace and the insignificant are not grist for the mill of history. Still, another distinction that must be noted is the difference between two possible kinds of records about the significant human past. A distinction that played a prominent role in the thought of the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce. A historians record of the past may be either a chronicle, call it a simple narrative or a significant narrative. A chronicle is a mere record of events in their chronological order without any statements about their significance or connection. A chronicle gives what British philosopher W.H. Walsh calls a simple narrative, whereas history is concerned to provide a significant narrative. In Walsh's words, quote, The historian is not content to tell us merely what happened. He wishes to make us see why it happened. In other words, he aims at a reconstruction of the past, which is both intelligent and intelligible. Now, if we take all of the distinctions we have just made into account, we may define history in the following way. History is the attempt to reconstruct in a significant narrative the important events of the human past through a study of the relevant data available in the historian's own present experience. The definition stipulates that the data on which the historian constructs his narrative are found in the historian's own present experience. This point, easily misunderstood, simply means that historical evidence in the form of earlier documents and artifacts cannot become a source for the historian until he knows it. The events studied by the historian no longer exist. The only way a historian who is working in his present knows that X occurred in the past is by information about X being preserved in some historical records. This means that the historians access to the past must always proceed through the instrumentality of some record of the past.

[00:17:11] This evidence or record that exists in the historians present is his way of gaining access to a past that no longer exists. For several decades, many Christian theologians have used two different German words for history. One is the German word history story and the German word geschichte. To make still another distinction. American theologian Carl Broughton explains the significance of these differences. History is the sum total of historical facts. Lying back there in the past, which can be objectively verified. The mode of knowledge appropriate here is impartial investigation and neutral observation. Geschichte, on the other hand, has to do with phenomena that concern me existentially that make some demand upon me and call for commitment. The mode of knowledge with exclusive right at this level is existential experience. Acknowledgment. According to one theologian, the German word history means the study of past events, with a view to discovering in an objective, detached manner. What actually happened. Geschichte, on the other hand, means the study of past events in such a way that the discovery of what happened calls for decision on our part. John, a professor of divinity at Oxford University at one time, translates history and geschichte respectively as objective, historical and existential historical. One way to visualize the distinction is to imagine two veterans of America's war between the states, a Yankee and a Confederate who returned to the battlefield of Gettysburg years after the decisive battle. Standing together, say, at Cemetery Ridge, they can agree on the history of what had taken place there years before. But for each of them, the Yankee and the Confederate, the geschichte, the existential significance of what happened would be quite different. Likewise, a believer and an unbeliever may agree on the history of Christ's resurrection. They may agree.

[00:19:52] But someone named Jesus Christ was put to death through the act of crucifixion. But the existential significance of that event, it's the Schechter for an Orthodox Christian who believes that Christ's death was God's atonement for His sin and the only possible ground of His justification, the Geschichte of Christ crucifixion will obviously be different for the Christian than for what it is for the person who may regard Jesus only as a human being who was executed for treason and blasphemy. According to Karl BROTTON manner quoted already, quote, In historical research, there is apparently a theologically neutral level of discovering, examining and criticizing by various objective criteria, documents of history, and ascertaining from them a body of so-called factual material. But at some point, the question of meaning of interpretation arises which no historian can escape. His interpretation will be guided by presuppositions, which are so much a part of him that he cannot suspend them at will. Existentialist historiography has highlighted this dimension of meaning the initial capability of presuppositions in interpretation, the historian's involvement with history, the demand for decision and responsible action in relation to the historical texts to which they are in some way purportedly joined. It is as if the facts in themselves are neutral, meaningless and dumb, as if interpretations have to be imported from the outside, arbitrarily imposed upon the facts from the value creating subjectivity of the historian. Sooner or later, the thought will occur that since meanings do not arise from the facts, they do not need to rest on the facts. Meanings can stand on their own feet and facts can be handed on to those who are entertained by archeological studies. Here are some questions that arise from this brief introduction about these two German words.

[00:22:15] Here's one question Is history as objective and impartial? As some scholars seem to suggest. Suppose it is not. Would this then blur the distinction between history and geschichte? What does a scholar mean when he suggests that the meanings of historical facts do not arise from the facts? Students of liberal Christian theology know how various liberal theologians attempted to deny the historicity of certain events. That is their status as history while attempting to preserve value for them as a Schechter. In other words, liberal Christianity is full of examples of people. Professors, scholars, pastors, church workers who think that even though important events mentioned in the Bible, such as the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, even though some of them happened. It is possible for such an event to have existential significance, says Schechter. Even if it never really happened in the world of space and time. Pastors and theologians who were completely convinced that the resurrection of Christ was not a real event in history. Still loved to preach Easter sermons about the resurrection. In those sermons, they were engaged in the strange enterprise of seeking existential significance geschichte in an event that never happened. History. This is not to say that the distinction between history and God Schechter should be abandoned, but much more careful. Attention needs to be given to the nature of each, to their relationship with each other and to their respective relationship to personal belief and trust. Now in the context of my book, Christian Faith and Historical Understanding. Here's a brief breakdown. I'll tell you what we do in the book. Even though there may be many of these things that I happen to omit from this particular tape, the inherent connection between history and the Christian faith gives rise to a number of problems that I treat.


[00:24:41] As I say in my book, Christian Faith and Historical Understanding. Chapter two of that book examines the highly influential 19th century attempt to make history scientific. The search for the facts and laws of history led to a distorted view of the historians expertise that was soon discarded. Chapter two will also consider the impact the scientific model of history had on studies of the life of Jesus. Chapter three of my book surveys the idealistic reaction of thinkers like Vilhelm Delt II and R.G. Collingwood to the scientific approach to history. Their emphasis on the role of the subjectivity of the historian plays in historical understanding had its corollary in Christian theology. The idealists turn away from the outer world of historical fact to the inner world of the historians or subjectivity influenced Christian existentialists who disparaged history and favor of subjective decision and self-knowledge. Chapter four of the book Christian Faith and Historical Understanding focuses on the theology of the famous German theologian Rudolf Beaumont. Boatman's position with regard to Christianity in history has been so influential. But even those like myself who reject his views are often forced to begin their treatment of many topics with a consideration of his writings. Chapter five asks the question Can history be objective? This problem is at the same time, one of the most important and vexing questions in the philosophy and theology of history. In this chapter, I discuss the ways in which the various answers to the question affect Christian apologetics and theology. Chapter six deals with a related set of issues. Are there facts of history? And if so, what are they? Many students of history manifest what may be called the Sgt Friday syndrome. Like the famous policeman of the Dragnet television show of the 1950s, they regard historical investigation as a simple matter of getting the facts.

[00:27:02] As it turns out, however, getting the facts is not as easy as some people think. For one thing, considerable disagreement continues over even the exact nature of a historical fact in Chapter seven. One of the points raised in earlier chapters in Chapter seven, many of the points raised in earlier chapters are brought to bear on the crucial matter of the resurrection of Christ. Six basic questions are asked about the resurrection and its relation to history. The answers of four different 20th century theologians Boatman Carl, Bart, Wolfhard, Penenberg and George Ladd are then noted and evaluated. And finally, Chapter eight takes a detailed look at the interrelationship between the personal faith of individual believers and history. His personal faith dependent on history. As I point out, the question is a complex one, and its answer requires a careful investigation of related issues. Now, that's a lot of material to cover. I am not, and I cannot really find the time to do all of that since I do want to cover some issues other than history. But let me focus on what I regard as the most promising approach to history. Even though it must be handled with some care to save time, I am going to jump. Directly to the philosophical position of a very significant English scholar named RG Collingwood. Collingwood was a professor at Oxford University in England who died in 1943. The proper place to begin one study of Collingwood's theory of history is with the distinction he made between the inside and the outside of an event. The inside and the outside of a historical event. Let me quote Collingwood by the outside of the event. Collingwood says, I mean everything belonging to it which can be described in terms of bodies and their movements.

[00:29:29] Say take for example, Caesar's Crossing of the Rubicon. The passage of Caesar, accompanied by certain men across a river called a Rubicon at one day, or the spilling of his blood on the floor of the Senate house. At another, by the inside of the event, I mean that in it, which can only be described in terms of thought. Caesar's defiance of Republican law or the clash of constitutional policy between Julius Caesar and his assassins. Collingwood's distinction between the inner and the outer dimensions of the past was paralleled by a difference between actions and events. So we have the inner damage of a past event, the outer dimension. And then we have a distinction the Collingwood makes between actions and events. An event is anything that happened in the past. An action is an event that had an inner side to it. The historian, according to Collingwood, should not ignore either facet of the past, the inside or the outside, but it is crucial to see that the historian does more than study mere events. He studies actions that are a unity of the outside and the inside of events. While nature is always a mere phenomenon. To the scientist, the events of history are more. They are never just spectacles presented for the historian to observe. The historian does not look at the events of history. Rather, he looks through them to discern the thought behind them to illustrate his point. Collingwood compared the work of an archeologist with that of a paleontologist. While both spend much of their time digging, they dig for different reasons. The paleontologist isn't interested in any thought behind his relics, for there is none. He is interested in the past but is not doing history. The archeologist, on the other hand, uses his relics as a way of reconstructing the inner thought life of the people who used the artifacts.

[00:31:46] He views his relics as clues to how people in the past lived and thought. For Collingwood, history can be known because it is a manifestation of human thought. But in order to understand the past, the historian must know what the agents of history thought when they performed their deeds. And in order to know what they thought, the historian must rethink their thoughts in his own mind. So to summarize, Collingwood thought that historical investigation has two dimensions. If the historian focuses only on the outer side, what takes place in the physical world, the bear event, he is not doing his job properly. The historian's primary task is to think his way into the action, into the inner side of the event. And to do this, he must recreate the event in his own mind. Here's how Collingwood phrased this quote. Historical knowledge is the knowledge of what mind has done in the past, and at the same time it is the redoing of this, the perpetuation of past acts in the present. Its object is therefore not a mere object, something outside the mind, which it knows. It is an activity of thought which can be known only insofar as the knowing mind reenacts it, and knows that itself as so doing to the historian. The activities whose history he is studying are not spectacles to be watched, but experiences to be lived through in his own mind. They are objective or known to him only because they are also subjective or activities of his own. If Collingwood's approach to history is accepted, it follows then that all history is the history of thought. Moreover, the only way in which the historian can discover the thoughts that constitute the essence of history is by rethinking them in his own mind.

[00:34:00] The historian must strive to reenact the past. He must relive the past. He must rethink the past in his own mind. The historian then, is not. Simply a passive observer embarked on a discovery of the past. He is an active agent who, because of his necessary involvement with his subject matter, is, in a sense, reconstructing the past. Now, Collingwood's ideas. Should be of interest to Christian students of history. For example, one British theologian, Norman Sykes, calls Collingwood's distinction between the inside and the outside of historical events, quote, the Magna Carta of the Historian, and more particularly of the historian of the origins of Christianity. As Sykes sees it, once the historian accepts the validity of Collingwood's general position, he is no longer concerned to search for facts. Apart from an interpretation of the facts, Collingwood and the other idealist historians have done the student of Christianity a service by offering an alternative to the misguided 19th century attempt to divorce fact from interpretation. The brief amount of time I've been able to give to a short analysis of Collingwood's theory of history suggests that there is much that Christian historians can learn from him. But nonetheless, historical idealism has not been an unqualified success. The new emphasis on subjectivity, which did help us recognize focusing on the role of mind in history. That new emphasis on subjectivity produced its own excesses, as some historians and theologians turned away from the outer, objective world of event and turned almost exclusively to the inner world of commitment and decision. I will now try to show you, through an examination of the work of the German theologian Rudolf Pullman, what some of the more serious dangers of historical idealism turn out to be. It seems safe to say that no theologian in the 20th century has influenced the course of Christian thinking about history, for good or bad.

[00:36:40] More than Rudolf Bothma. Born in a German Lutheran parsonage in 1884, Pullman studied it at the Universities of Tübingen, Berlin and Marburg. After teaching briefly at several universities, he returned to Marburg in 1921, where he taught until his retirement in 1951, working primarily in the area of New Testament studies. Boatman quickly became one of the most important and most controversial Christian thinkers of the 20th century. He died in 1976. The key to understanding Bowman's entire theology is recognizing that for him, Christianity should not be concerned with what happens in the objective world. Studied by science. Christianity, rather, should be interested primarily with what happens within a human being. The way Boltzmann extends this conviction to history should be obvious. His brand of Christianity is not concerned with what may have happened in the past. It is interested chiefly in what is happening in the believer's present experience. Once this basic point is grasped, it will be fairly simple to understand the ease with which Boltzmann minimizes the Christian's concern with history. What happened 2000 years ago on a cross outside Jerusalem is far less important than what is taking place now in the existential experience of a believer. As Boltzmann puts it, always in your present lives, the meaning in history. And you cannot see it as a spectator, but only in your responsible decisions, end of quote. Hence, Boltzmann rejects any place for disinterested theoretical knowledge and religion, given his rejection of this. It follows that he will have little use for the kind of theoretical knowledge sought by the historian, given his existentialist emphasis on inward commitment in the present religious experience of the believer. It follows that objective knowledge of a long dead past will have little significance in Boatman's system. For Boltzmann, the proper foundation of Christian faith is not historical criticism, but the preaching of the charisma.

[00:39:14] Or the Christian message. It is extremely difficult, Altman thinks, to reconstruct the historical foundation of the Christian faith. Any approach to Christianity via history can present only a hypothetical Jesus. But Jesus that must be presented is the Jesus who appears in the preaching of the early church. The proper object of Christian faith is not the historical Jesus, but rather the historic Christ who was proclaimed in the charisma with regard to the historical Jesus. Boatman's skepticism is difficult to overlook. He says, quote, We can now know almost nothing concerning the life and the personality. So says Boatman. Before exploring boatman's analysis of faith in history. Further, some attention must be given to elements of his system that provide the backdrop for his particular views about history. One of the more important of these is his treatment of form and content in the Christian charisma. Or message. Pullman believe that from its inception, Christianity had allowed all sorts of irrelevant considerations to intrude between the message it preached and the audience to which the message was directed. The Christian charisma boatman's thought came encased in a cultural husk that boatmen thought could easily be discarded without affecting the essential kernel of the message. In fact, the husk had to be discarded because it contained elements that distracted people from the charisma. The most troubling aspect of this dispensable husk for boatmen was its mythical character. As Boatman put it, quote, The whole conception of the world, which is presupposed in the preaching of Jesus, as in the New Testament generally, is mythological. End of quote. Basic to Beaumont's position, then, is the conviction that the message of the Bible remains couched in an ancient and outmoded mythology. Altman's elaboration of this thesis suggests the presence of at least four different kinds of myth in the New Testament.

[00:41:51] First of all, boatman's first type of myth New Testament beliefs that contradict modern science. Bowman regards some elements of Scripture as myth because of their apparent conflict with the teaching of natural science. The example he uses most often is the new Testament's alleged teaching of an outmoded cosmology that views the universe as existing in three separate stories Heaven, earth and Hell. Old man's appeal to this first kind of myth is weakened, however, by at least two considerations. First, so far as literary records allow us to judge, human beings have often described some natural phenomena in language that was never intended to be understood literally, even in centuries when a false cosmology prevailed. When some modern person refers to the four corners of the earth. No one thinks he might be talking. Literally, when people refer to the sun's rising or setting, no one considers the possibility that they might actually believe that the sun rotates around the earth. These are examples of what has been called phenomenological language. The phrase means that human beings frequently refer to natural phenomena as those occurrences appear to an observer on earth. The world may appear flat, or it may appear that the sun comes up in the morning and sets at night. Language that refers to such phenomena or appearances is a natural outgrowth of human observation. The appearance of similar language in the Bible may simply reflect a universal tendency to describe nature as it appears. Any further inference about what the writer may have or actually did believe about a cosmology would require much more information than the language uses that Boatman considers. Bormann never even begins to offer that additional evidence in order to turn such biblical references into anything like the kind of mythology that boatmen find so embarrassing.

[00:44:09] He must first interpret them as literal teachings about the nature of the solar system. Boatman acknowledges that the language she considers mythological when it appears in the Bible, frequently shows up in modern discourse, quote, particularly in our day and generation, Although we no longer think mythologically, we often speak of demonic powers which rule history corrupting political and social life. End of quote. Since Boldt Monahan's too high a regard for the knowledge of modern man to allow such contemporary expressions to be met. He rescues them from the category of myth by treating them as metaphors. Quote such language in modern writing and speech as metaphorical. A figure of speech, but in it is expressed the knowledge, the insight that the evil for which every man is responsible individually has nevertheless become a power which mysteriously enslaves every member of the human race. End quote. This is very interesting. In other words, when a given expression appears in the Bible, it is myth. But when it appears in some contemporary writing, it is only a metaphor for this boatman begging some questions here, since Boatman does not provide any criterion to show when a particular usage of language is either mythical or metaphorical. The obvious inference is that language is mythical when Boatman says it is. He begs a big question. Surely the writers of the Bible were able to refer to natural phenomena in a metaphorical way. Point to Bowman's claim that biblical statements that appear to conflict with modern science are mythical. Is open to a different line of criticism. It is not at all clear what Bowman means by science. Consider the following claim from Bowman's book, Jesus Christ and Mythology. I quote this conception of the world we call mythological because it is different from the conception of the world which has been formed and developed by science since its inception in ancient Greece and which has been accepted by all modern men.

[00:46:34] And a quote taken at face value. This statement suggests an absolute causation of the one particular stage of scientific thinking that happens to coincide with the latest stage known to Boltzmann. Is this more begging of the question here? No particular stage of science can be regarded as stating the final truth about anything. I'm criticizing Goldman here. If anything is true about the history of science, it is the constantly changing state of scientific knowledge. To maintain that one particular worldview is mythological because it conflicts with what science teaches at a particular stage in its development is rash, to say the least. Beaumont attempted to evade this challenge to remove the egg from his face by admitting the constantly changing character of science, thus implying his opposition to the absolute causation of any one stage in the history of scientific thought. Boatman wrote, quote, The science of today is no longer the same as it was in the 19th century. And to be sure, all the results of science are relative and no worldview of yesterday or today or tomorrow is definitive. End of quote. One might think that this admission would then undermine much of Pullman's appeal to science. But he goes on to explain and I quote again, The main point, Altman says, however, is not the concrete results of scientific research and the contents of a worldview, but the method of thinking from which worldviews follow. For example, Boatman continues, it makes no difference in principle whether the earth rotates around the sun or the sun rotates around the earth. But it does make a decisive difference that modern man understands the notion of the universe as a motion which obeys a cosmic law, a law of nature which human reason can discover. Therefore, modern man acknowledges as reality, only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe.

[00:49:07] End of quote. Now, let me just insert here the observation that Boltzmann really is. Perspiring. He made some statements. They were rash statements. Now he's trying to protect his rear defenses and it's beginning to look pretty bad. One would have to be a pretty committed ideologue, a groupie, as it were, of boatman's to not miss how he is wiggling, to get out of the mess that he created for himself. Altman, in other words, certainly appears to be contradicting himself. On the one hand, the biblical science that he regards as mythological is rejected because of its content. Because its picture of the universe is an obvious conflict with the contemporary understanding of the world. But when challenged that, such a position in effect absolute ties as a particular stage of scientific thought, Bormann changes ground. He cheats and maintains that what he really means by science is its method. According to his second position, then the particular model of the solar system that may appear in a document like the Bible is irrelevant. What is relevant is the method by which the model is arrived at and the method that counts includes the conviction that the universe operates according to laws of nature that man can discover. Taken literally, Boltzmann seems to say he would have no problem with the worldview of the biblical writers if they had grounded their model on the conviction that the universe was law like. Everybody who believes that, raise your hand. That is, Bullmann suggests it is not the content of the science of the biblical writers, but their method that he finds troubling. But this implies that he would have been happy with any biblical cosmology if only the writers had viewed the universe as the product of natural law.

[00:51:18] This is pretty bad stuff. One of the sternest attacks on Bolton's use of the word science appears in the work of existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers, who thought Boltzmann wavered between two different senses of the word. Sometimes, Jaspers adjusted Boltzmann seems to use the word science to mean a certain mode of thinking that is overwhelmingly current today. And that is the distinguishing characteristic of modern man. But understanding science in this way could not help boatman's argument, Jaspers pointed out. For one thing, the resurrection of Christ was regarded as impossible in the first century, just as it is by modern man. Materialism and naturalism are not exclusive dispositions of 20th century human beings. Moreover, Jaspers continued, Modern Man has more than his share of absurd beliefs, astrology and theosophy being just being two of them. Thus, belief in the supernatural did not end with the first century. Nor did belief in absurdities end with the rise of modern science as the second possible meaning of science in boatman's writings. Jaspers suggested that Boltzmann may use the term to mean the modern science that began with the Renaissance and advanced so rapidly after the beginning of the 18th century. But Jaspers pointed out, comparatively few modern people know very much about this science. Indeed, Jaspers wrote with biting irony, quote, There are many scholars and boatmen. A serious historian is apparently one of them who are unfamiliar with its principles. So in Boatman's search for the Christian charisma that is the kernel or a central message in the New Testament, he attempted to discard the cultural husk in which that kernel came encased. This effort he called de mythologizing, and the first myth he tried to discard were certain elements of Scripture that conflicted with modern, naturalistic science. But Boltzmann did not stop with science. He also regarded many biblical statements as psychological myths.