Christianity and Paradox: Critical Studies in Twentieth- Century Theology

By Ronald W. Hepburn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY AND CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS

I HAVE subtitled the following essays 'critical studies in twentieth-century theology', in order to make it clear that they do not contain a constructive, positive contribution to Christian apologetics. They argue, on the contrary, that a number of influential theological views, believed by their authors to be well defended against the criticisms of contemporary philosophers, are not so defended, but are exposed to a variety of logical objections which render them untenable -- or at least less sure than their upholders believe. On the other hand, these studies are not negative polemic with a purely destructive, iconoclastic purpose. They would not, in the first place, have been written but for my personal pilgrimage in search of a satisfactory justification of religious belief. And this is a continuing pilgrimage, despite the fact that none of the approaches discussed in this book seems to me to survive scrutiny. Second, the studies attempt more than negative criticism, in that they seek to bring out how a theology may be logically faulty but yet express insights of enduring value concerning human experience, and thus still be worth study by sceptics as well as believers, for all their differences over the interpretation of those experiences.

But, at the same time, the wide extent of the logical breakdowns themselves prompts further serious questions that cannot be shirked; for instance, the question how can one live in religious uncertainty, if one has what might be called a 'naturally religious mind'? And if one finds oneself unable to make sense of the idea

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