Christian Re-enchantment VI: Living in a Story

What is the purpose of these blog posts about Christian re-enchantment? The purpose is to understand sympathetically how people like me can bring themselves, without self-deception, to use as their description of what happens in reality a Christian narrative. A Christian narrative of what happens in reality includes both the events explicable by natural science along with scientifically inexplicable events such as the miracles described in the Gospels. Such narratives are based on representations of reality which is enchanted in accordance with a Christian narrative. “Enchanted” refers to the religiously significant events amongst those inexplicable by science. I need to show that we have the intellectual and affective ability to rebuild a representation of reality which is enchanted in accordance with a Christian narrative. And, then, of most importance I need to show that we can use these abilities without self-deception

In this post, I specify “people like me,” remind us that we have the affective capacity. I will use what I have written in previous posts about the logic of fiction to show that we have the intellectual capacity to remind us that we can tell the story of an enchanted world in which we are living.

Who are people like me? I am not boasting or apologizing. I am simply describing myself by admitting that I am an emeritus professor of philosophy from the secular Ohio State University. For over fifty years I have lived and studied in an intellectual culture which regards any representation of reality recognizing anything beyond what can be explained by natural science as misrepresenting what there is. As a result, I feel a burden of proof when I depart from this stance. If “scientism” means fully endorsing this reductive stance that natural science alone represents what there is, then many people, I am confident, share my sense of needing to defend departures from scientism. I have been working in one of the educational institutions which, quite often, explicitly teach scientism to thousands of young people every year. Scientism is a program for disenchanting our representation of reality – what there is. I am writing for those who recognize scientism is a serious challenge to sincere expression of religious believing as well as religious believing.

Once we have been tempted by scientism can we ever look at reality as enchanted?

Recently on the web I read an intriguing announcement of a college course on video game development. The opening lines were:
“We love to play them. We love to dive into a world of sword and sorcery, of alien invasions, of car chases and gangsters on the run. Video games do not just show you a world, they allow a player to become part of that world; part of the story. ”

This human ability to become part of a story is the affective capacity which can be used to accept the Christian narrative as telling all that really happens. Of course, to become a participant of what goes on in the video game as reality we need to play the game; probably quite a lot. Similarly, to “get into the Christian story” we need to read the bible and be around people who use a Christian narrative as the narrative of reality.

The most vivid example of living a story comes from imagining a description of what you think and do in everyday life. That narrative about you is an example of you living a story. You’re living that narrative of what you do!

There are two “take-a-ways” from this post. One:we can live a story different from one in which there is nothing beyond the scientifically explicable. Two: We have to engage in some practices different from scientific activity to do so. These practices can be called “faith heuristics.” Subsequent posts on Christian re-enchantment will focus on how to use faith heuristics without self-deception.

My book on sexual morality requires no narrative about enchanted realities other than the everyday one about our thoughts and feeling. But the traditional sexual morality I justify on purely secular grounds receives more motivation if placed in a Judeo-Christian framework.

My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Printed copies can be purchased here by credit card for $3.99, plus $3.71 for shipping and handling.

To purchase the printed book by check, send check of $3.99 plus $3.71 for shipping and handling per copy. Send to:
Charles F. Kielkopf
45 W. Kenworth Rd.