By Thomas G. Bandy
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Extra resources for Fragile Hope: Your Church in 2020 (Convergence Ebook Series)
Huston Smith describes this “scientism” in his recent book Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001). He argues that what was once a small philosophical movement has become a pervasive modern worldview, in which truth and reality are arbitrarily limited to what is self-evident, measurable, quantifiable, and therefore practical. Smith challenges the presumption of this worldview, and warns of dire consequences to the human spirit when the significance of nonquantifiable truths are ignored or shrugged off onto esoteric professional priests.
If any clergy disturb the harmony of the church too much, they can be removed from office, counseled by their clergy peers, or encouraged to take continuing education at the seminary where they will be set on the right path. The church is more interested in controlling these three aspects of the sacred than in understanding or conversing with the other half of its reality. By preserving the legitimacy of these three aspects of the sacred, the cult of harmony tries to maintain a perception of divided reality that is being assaulted from every sector of human endeavor.
The particular cause is not really relevant to the ability of the church to thrive. , for example, the Civil Rights movement enlisted many leaders eager to recover Jerusalem, and to bring peace to America and justice to the oppressed. The good that was accomplished was often unexpected. The goals sought after were only temporarily achieved. The experience of many of these “Knights Templar” was that somewhere they got lost—geographically and spiritually—along the way. Huston Smith argues in Why Religion Matters that in addition to the scientism that has colored the worldview of North Americans, traditional sources of social reform have also limited and distorted the authentic spirituality of the earliest church.