Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tim Keller at Borders

Quick overview of Tim Keller's talk at Borders last night (and then back to studying Spanish):

He talked about the futility of relativism to advance society and overcome injustice. For example an atheist anthropologist working in Africa couldn't stand the injustices done to woman, specifically genital mutilation. When she began discussing this with the woman of the tribes they essentially told her "who are you from your individualistic secular society to tell me what is right and wrong about my culture". To which the anthropologist was confounded. She knew it was wrong, but had no basis for her ethics. She finally just gave up on her research and started an organization to fight for woman's rights in Africa, though she had no evidence for why she was doing so. 

From here he turned it to the abolition of slavery in England. The secularist will say that society simply evolved and came to an understanding that slavery was wrong. But in the midst of injustice, you aren't aware of it. It took a small group of Christians to cast a vision for a better world to which people said "I want that!". This isn't extremely profound, but it really got me thinking about how I can do a better job of "casting the vision"! 

Then things got really interesting. He discussed a "moralistic narrative" (any religion in the world) verse a "grace narrative" (the Gospel). Most Christians live a moralistic narrative because they don't grasp the deep self identity buried in God's grace that they have at their disposal. Consequently, many non-Christians view Christianity as yet another "moralistic narrative". He also discussed how the grace narrative of the Gospel has a built in safe guard to extremism, being that the moralistic narrative inherently spawns a prideful mentality of us verse them.

Ultimately, if you read the book, you won't miss anything. :)

I finally got the low down on the title choice. (I just realized I was wearing my sickle and hammer Soviet Union shirt when I talked to Keller and got him to sign my book. That explains his smirk the whole time we were talking.) He said in the focus groups the secularists/atheists demographic really gravitated to the title because it continues the pop-culture dialog in the same vein as "The God Delusion". 

I can live with that.


Mirranda said...

"who are you from your individualistic secular society to tell me what is write and wrong about my culture"

I know you have quote marks around it, so maybe it was like this - but shouldn't that be 'right'? If you're not misquoting, you can put 'sic.' at the end (in italics) to signify that.

David Knepprath said...

Nope, you got me. :)