Friday, April 15, 2011
The Saving Grace of "Saving Leonardo" by Nancy Pearcey
Pearcey notes that under global secularism, "values" are defined as changeable, private opinions that are relative to a given situation with the most notable examples being personal preferences, tastes, styles and religious claims.
Conversely, "facts" have the honored distinction of being viewed as unimpeachable, undeniable and widely accepted views of what actually exists. The implication of the global secular worldview captured within Einstein's quote above is that "facts" are unquestionable and far superior when compared to values, while "values" are merely quaint, ever-changing opinions that are tolerated.
Pearcey challenges that widespread philosophical construct with the following assertion:
"Because all things were created by a single divine mind, all truth forms a single, coherent, mutually consistent system. Truth is unified and universal.....The only hope lies in a worldview that is rationally defensible, life affirming, and rooted in creation itself."
After establishing this premise, she goes on to explain how our bifurcated view of the world came to be, primarily driven by the Romantic movement and the Enlightenment period respectively.
The Romantic movement was driven by a strong reliance on imagination, creativity and mythology - spawning a variety of worldviews including idealism, existentialism, Marxism and pantheism. This created the "values" portion of the split.
On the other side, the Enlightenment is credited with a focus on observation, intellect, rationalization and the scientific method. It birthed worldviews such as empiricism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, materialism and Darwinism, which all comprise the "facts" side of the equation.
Pearcey masterfully distills each stream of thought down to its respective elemental base, while proposing a reunification of facts and values beneath the banner of a Christian worldview. She postulates that both facts and values are critical to living a worthwhile existence, because neither view on its own adequately addresses the challenges, beauty, triumphs, mystery and diversity of life.
The saving grace of Pearcey's Saving Leonardo is that if you view the "fact-values split" as a broken bone that has hobbled humanity, she convincingly offers Christianity as the metaphorical splint to provide the necessary healing.
So if you're looking for an accessible, expertly-crafted dissertation on the history of Western thought (and why that current fractured thinking needs to change) Pearcey has written the definitive book on the subject - literally.