Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Complete Series

What follows is a series of posts regarding the New Monist movement which combines neuroscience with theology and argues that science has "proven" we have no soul.  The problem I have with such a suggestion isn't just the challenge it presents anthropologically, but soteriologically. How does denying the existence of our soul affect our understanding of the gospel? That's one of the questions I hope to answer.  This debate is another example of the challenge that science can present for Christian theology.

Earlier today I wrote an article reviewing Millard Erickson's chapter on the question of the soul. I discussed in some detail the challenge of monism and mentioned briefly the rise of what I call the New Monism. It is a movement driven out of neuroscience that argues that neuroscience has proven that we do not have a soul.  It is new in that it is based primarily on science, not on Scripture.  What many of the proponents do is first begin with the science and then seek to show that theology agrees.

One of the fascinating things I discovered during this series is that when we think of the conflict between science and theology, we usually only think in terms of evolution vs. creation and bioethics.  But here we see another place where the two bump heads. Science is increasingly suggesting that we are mechanistic robots without free will.  What these theologians try to show is that though we are without a soul, that does not mean that we are mere machines.

But in all of this, they fail.  If we are essentially nothing other than the byproducts of brain activity and the brain itself has evolved out of nothing, by accident, and driven by animalistic, genetic goals, then how are we not mechanistic?  Though the theologians try to defend both the current direction of neurscience and the gospel, they fail.

And it is the gospel that I seek to tackle here.  We rarely think that a discussion like this - over free will, anthropology, human nature, and the soul - affects our understanding of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, justification, and salvation, but it does.  The paper - presented in a series of posts - argues that the New Monism, though they seek to be faithful to both science and the Christian gospel, fail miserably and unfortunately when many have to chose one, it is theology - and the gospel - that gets the ax.

I hope the series is helpful.
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 1
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 2
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 3
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4a
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4b
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4c
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5b
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 6
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