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Summing it Up

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I am routinely asked what sort of starting point there can be in regards to forming a comprehensive worldview and culture in light of the well-attested cultural and moral decline of the West.  As has been noted elsewhere, when incompatible worldviews are at war, it is difficult to reach any sort of cultural consensus whatsoever, meaning that top-down litigation and force seems to be the only solution (or decentralization, which is almost never entertained).  The first thing that Christians in the West could (and I believe should) do is become knowledgeable, conversant, and eventually apologists for the classical Christian faith of the West that has all but disappeared in some circles.  In many cases, the Fathers of the church provide a good starting point, as the “pre-modern” worldview and proximity to the early church they represent serve as an “antidote” of sorts.

This beautiful summation by John of Damascus of what the beginnings of a Christian worldview should look like should serve as a good starter for a “mere Christian” faith to work from.  John is simply providing a statement of what has been handed down to him as the Christian faith, based on Scripture and the Fathers of the church that came after.  I highly recommend the entire work, entitled “An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.”  He is admired in the church both east and west, and is one of the most brilliant minds in the history of the church.

“We, therefore, both know and confess that God is without beginning, without end, eternal and everlasting, uncreated, unchangeable, invariable, simple, uncompound, incorporeal, invisible, impalpable, uncircumscribed, infinite, incognizable, indefinable, incomprehensible, good, just, maker of all things created, almighty, all-ruling, all-surveying, of all overseer, sovereign, judge; and that God is One, that is to say, one essence; and that he is known and has His being in three subsistences, in Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; and that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are One in all respects, except in that of not being begotten, that of being begotten, and that of procession;

And that the Only-begotten Son and Word of God and God, in His bowels of mercy, for our salvation, by the good pleasure of God and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, being conceived without seed, was born uncorruptedly of the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, by the Holy Spirit, and became of her perfect Man; and that the Same is at once perfect God and perfect Man, of two natures, Godhead and Manhood, and in two natures possessing intelligence, will, and energy, and freedom, and, in a word, perfect to the measure and proportion proper to each, at once to the divinity, and to the humanity, yet to one composite person; and that He suffered hunger and thirst and weariness, and was crucified, and for three days submitted to the experience of death and burial, and ascended to heaven, from which also He came to us, and shall come again.  And the Holy Scripture is witness to this and the whole choir of the Saints” (John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith, Book I Part II). 

When this basic premise is agreed to, discussing a worldview becomes much easier and mutually intelligible.

1 Comment

  1. […] the previous item outlining the beginnings of a Christian worldview using John of Damascus (and outlined here by this […]

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