Monday, July 25, 2005

More Wells: Deep but Rewarding

Wells argues in NPFT that Our Time is distinctly characterized by the confluence of modernization and secularization. Modernization is the set of economic forces that causes our society to be organized around cities. Secularization is the set of forces (apparently economic, religious, philosophical, and pseudo-scientific) that divorces culture from the biblical worldview that served as the unrivaled infrastructure of Western society for centuries. For a more thorough but quite readable explanation of the development of these forces, read Kevin Bauder's articles on the erosion of Christian culture. At the time of this writing, the archives aren't working. Hopefully this is a temporary problem. In the meantime, you can also access the essays here and here.

Wells advocates a "sociology of knowledge." Although it sounds intimidating, it's essentially just the theory that "the way we think is the product of the society in which we live" (pg. 72). Although it seems intuitively true to some degree, it strikes me as impossible to verify or quantify.

Whether his diagnosis for the cause is accurate does not seem to affect the accuracy of his analysis of the symptoms, and it is this insight into the symptoms that I believe is the strength of the book. It might affect the accuracy of his solutions. I'm thinking through these things as I blog, so I may be forced to revise my conclusions. I would love to hear analysis or impressions along the way from others who have read Wells.

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