August 05, 2006

Theorising is a religious activity

The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories by Roy A. Clouser Clouser's book is a challenge to college students, December 23, 1998 Reviewer: Bruce Wearne (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews Home
Roy Clouser's Myth is indeed a clear exposition of the philosophical orientation of Herman Dooyeweerd. But potential readers will not only find an interesting connection with his Dutch calvinist background. The book is an original argument in its own terms. It is not simply a re-statement of an established position "applied" to a new (North American) context. Clouser is concerned about common views of theory and theorising. He is also concerned with the theories which explain religious experience. To say that theoretical and scientific thinking implies religious world-views can get us into debate where all we end up with is dogma confronting dogma. Clouser painstakingly looks at the character of religious experience and theoretical thought. He shows by logical argument, and then by careful application in various scientific areas (mathematics, psychology, sociology among others) that theories are inherently religious. Those claiming to come clean with their religious presuppositions are not doing anything more than those who claim to be religiously neutral. Except they are facing up to the inner reality of their theorising as a religious activity. And this can make a whole world of difference to how scientific research and theoretical debate unfolds. Clouser makes a convincing case for reconsidering the entire scientific enterprise on these terms.
Best book available for an intro to Christian philosophy, February 16, 1998 Reviewer: Jon Andreas ( "myrddin_emrys" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
Although philosophers who happen to be Christians have been around for quite some time, their work has been largely accommodated to secular thought. The 20th C. Dutch philosopher H. Dooyeweerd originated a system of thought that proves to be the most well-rounded paradigm ever based on biblical principles. Although most of Dooyeweerd's writings are either inaccessible to the amateur philosopher or stuck in Dutch*, Clouser does an exceptional job of presenting Dooyeweerd's philosophy in a clear and understandable manner.

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