I was just reading a news article that came across my news-feed. Perhaps you have read it as well. Major shareholders of the wealthiest company in the world, Apple are claiming that children’s addiction to the apple products needs to be addressed. My first reaction is yes. I’m an adult and I feel a great loss when my smartphone is not available and I have lived long before the smart phone was ever considered. I certainly was never tempted to be permanently attached to my phone that had a cord attached to it in the hallway outside of the kitchen.
Philosophers and researchers contend that we long for experiences that energize us: dynamic football games, nail-biting movies, or stimulating novels. This excitement gives pangs to all; however, it is weighted by a feeling of boredom with our own lives. So may of us are addicted to drama that is never quite satisfying. This in turn, causes us to hunger for more and more drama. This beast is insatiable. Moreland explains how the pursuit of happiness becomes the goal most people set for themselves. Is this what we want for ourselves and our students? Happiness? Happiness is the shallow and fleeting beast that must always be fed more in order to be satisfied. Could it be that contentment or passion are much more fulfilling? Because focusing on happiness as a life goal is not what God intended, people become empty selves and fall apart. Those caught in the vortex of pursuing happiness or thrill lose sight of a greater purpose. He describes this as a “thin world” – a world where there is no objective value, purpose, or meaning. It is a world that is just there. Alternatively, Moreland describes what a “thick world” is about. “A thick world is one in which there is such a thing as objective value, purpose, and meaning. In a thick world, some things really matter and other things don’t. Some things are right and others are wrong” (p. 29). It is this world, that Moreland charges Christians to claim. This is the same world that was understood as truth until the postmodern nonsense pushed out any reliable truth.
We can all agree that we live in a “sensate” culture, a culture that is only physical and realized by the five senses. In contrast, Moreland describes an alternative view of reality: an “ideational” culture – one that embraces the sensory world yet values an extra-empirical immaterial world. What he means is that we strive for the ideal design rather than some superficial self-gratifying construct. Because of the prevailing sensate culture, Moreland says, “the only knowledge we can have about reality is empirical knowledge gained by the hard sciences” (Kingdom Triangle, p. 22). Additionally, out of this belief comes a view that any non-empirical claims are items of knowledge relegated to matters of private feelings.
Modern Christian philosophers asserts that a “three-way worldview struggle rages in our culture:
- ethical monotheism,
- postmodernism, and
- scientific naturalism” (Kingdom Triangle, p. 22).
I will unpack these in future blogs and hope to present ways that we can help our students overcome the struggles.