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    CHAPTER V. THE GREEK OF “SCIENTIFIC METHOD” TO-DAY

    IT is certain that Christianity, in ancient times, and at its revival in modern times, found, and held, and proclaimed, that the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, is the only true and sufficient basis of an all-round education for Christians. Disregard of this principle in the early days of Christianity developed the Papacy; and disregard of this principle in these last days of Christianity is developing through Protestantism a repetition of the course of the Papacy.PBE 37.1

    To professed Protestantism to-day, the Bible is not held in any true sense as an educational book. The science of the unbelieving world, the philosophy and the literature of ancient Greece and Rome, have a far larger place than has the Bible, in that which is recognized by Protestants as education. The highest course in college or university is the classical; and this course derives its title of “classical” from the fact that the literature of Greece and Rome is the predominant element in the course. This is true, even with those who are studying for the ministry of the gospel of Christ. But how the study, for years, of literature which is essentially Pagan can be a preparation for the preaching of the gospel which must be wholly Christian, no one has attempted to explain.PBE 37.2

    Not only is worldly science and Pagan literature more courted by Protestantism than is the Bible, in education; but the very theory of education held by Socrates, and continued by Plato and Aristotle,—“doubt,” “a profound and consistent skepticism,”—is held to-day in the education recognized by Protestantism, in school, college, university, and even in the theological seminary. For instance, the Outlook of April 21, 1900, in describing and urging “A Needed Educational Reform,” says:—PBE 38.1

    “The educational processes of our time,—possibly of all time,—are largely analytical and critical. They consist chiefly in analyzing the subjects brought to the student for his examination, separating them into their constituent parts, considering how they have been put together, and sitting in judgment on the finished fabric. or on the process by which it has been constructed.... The process presupposes an inquiring, if not a skeptical, mood. Doubt is the pedagogue which leads the pupil to knowledge.”PBE 38.2

    And in the North American Review for April, 1900, there was published an article entitled “The Scientific Method in Theology,” written by a professor of philosophy in Union College, Schenectady, N. Y.; who was educated at Amherst and Yale; spent two years in philosophical study in Germany; and from 1883 to 1885 was instructor of philosophy in Wesleyan University. Thus, every circumstance of the article is a pledge that it is authoritative as to the scientific method in theology, and in that article it is said:—PBE 38.3

    “Every man, because he is a man, is endowed with powers for forming judgments, and he is placed in this world to develop and apply those powers to all objects with which he comes in contact. In every sphere of investigation, he should begin with DOUBT, and the student will make the most rapid progress who has acquired the art of doubting well. ... We ask that every student of theology take up the subject precisely as he would any other science: that he begin with DOUBT.”PBE 38.4

    It never can be denied that this is simply the repetition in modern times of the Socratic theory of education. And this, not only in college and university, but in the theological seminary where young men are professedly to be trained in “the science concerned with ascertaining, classifying, and systematizing all attainable truth concerning God, and His relation to the universe; the science of religion; religious truth scientifically studied.” This, not only in college and university, where men are to be fitted only for the everyday affairs of the world; but in a professedly Christian school, where men are to be fitted preeminently for the Christian profession, and to be educators in Christianity.PBE 39.1

    In every sphere of investigation, the student is taught and expected to “begin with doubt,” in this study of the science of the “truth concerning God.” And this when the truth of God itself, given in His own Word, is that “without faith it is impossible to please Him;” and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Since, then, God has stated it, that “without faith it is impossible to please Him,” and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin;” and since, in the theological seminaries of professed Christianity, the student is expected, “in every sphere of investigation,” to “begin with doubt,” it is certain that in that system of education, every student is systematically taught to begin in the way in which it is impossible to please God, and which is only the way of sinning. And this as the preparation for the ministry of the gospel!PBE 39.2

    This authoritative statement of the scientific method in theology shows that even in the Protestant schools of to-day, in which is taught particularly the science of the knowledge of God, the process is directly opposite to that which is stated in the Word of the Lord Himself. God has said that “he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and [must believe] that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” The “scientific method” of education to-day, even in Protestant schools which teach the science of God, is inevitably that he who cometh to God must doubt that He is, and must doubt that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.PBE 40.1

    The result of such a process can not possibly be anything else than that a man—each individual for himself, or else, and ultimately, a representative for all—shall put himself above God; and there, sitting as judge, subject the wisdom and knowledge of God to the dictates of human reason.PBE 40.2

    Nor is this simply a deduction from the quotation already made, though it is clearly deducible from that quotation. It is actually stated in this article in the sentences immediately following the one already quoted:—PBE 40.3

    “We ask that every student of theology take up the subject precisely as he would any other science: that he begin with doubt, and carefully weigh the arguments for every doctrine, accepting or rejecting each assertion, according as the balance of probabilities is for or against it. We demand that he thoroughly ‘test all things,’ and thus learn how to ‘hold fast that which is good.’ We believe that even the teachings of Jesus should be viewed from this standpoint, and should be accepted or rejected on the ground of their inherent reasonableness.”PBE 41.1

    Thus, reason being set above Jesus Christ—who is God manifest—to analyze, to criticize, to judge, His teachings, for acceptance or rejection, as the individual’s doubting reason shall decide—this is manifestly to set reason above God: which, in turn, is to put reason itself in the place of God as God.PBE 41.2

    Follow this process a little in its direct working, and see how completely it lands to-day precisely where Inspiration declares that it landed in its original course, and in its prime:—PBE 41.3

    “The great and distinctive element in all induction is the formation of the hypothesis, and there can be no inductive science formed, of any sort, where this is not the chief feature.”PBE 41.4

    “What, then, is to be understood by an hypothesis? And what is the process the mind goes through in bringing it to view?—An hypothesis is a supposition, a guess, or conjecture, as to what the general effect is which includes the given particular effects, or what the cause is which has brought about the given effects.PBE 41.5

    “Much might be said about the conditions most favorable for the making of a good hypothesis; but the chief thing that concerns us for our present purpose is the fact that every hypothesis, however formed, is always the product of the constructive imagination. All previous acts are simply by way of gathering material for the imagination to rearrange, and recombine into a new creation. ...PBE 41.6

    “It is for this reason that men of science, in all realms and in all ages, have always been men of powerful imaginations. The Greeks were the first great scientists of the race, because they were far more highly endowed than any other people with great imaginative powers. What they saw, excited these powers, and urged them to conjecture, to reason about things, and try to explain their nature and cause.”PBE 42.1

    There is here no room to inquire whether or not this process to-day lands where landed the same process in ancient Greece; because that is where precisely, in so many words, the article itself lands. And how could this process be more fittingly described than it is in the Scripture, written directly as descriptive of this identical process in ancient time: “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:21-23.PBE 42.2

    And how can the rest of the description there given (Romans 1:24-32) be escaped, when this process shall be followed to-day? For even in the quotation last above made, it is admitted that the scientific method in theology to-day is identical with that of old, of which the Greeks, “the first great scientists of the race,” were the exemplars; and this, “because they were far more highly endowed than any other people with great imaginative powers.” And their exercise of these “great imaginative powers” in precisely the way above outlined, did lead them into the condition which is described in the remaining verses of the first chapter of Romans.PBE 42.3

    And yet, this process, by means of “the constructive imagination,” contemplates “a new creation”! And who shall be the creator in this new creation?—None other than the human individual himself, who by guesses gathers “material for the imagination to rearrange, and recombine, into a new creation.” This, then, makes man a creator in the place of the Creator.PBE 43.1

    Follow yet further the scientific process in theology, and see what is the ground upon which its followers land, as to knowledge:—PBE 43.2

    “Given the hypothesis, the next step in the scientific process is to verify it: and this is done by making the hypothesis the major premise of a deductive syllogism, and noting the results. If the conclusions coincide with the obtained facts, with which we started, the hypothesis is probably the correct one [the italics here are the author’s]; and other things being equal, may be accepted as established truth. From this outline of the scientific method, we see that no induction can be established beyond a high degree of probability; that is, no one can ever be absolutely certain that the hypothesis he assumes is veritably true. All generalizations in every science thus have their logical basis in the theory of probabilities.PBE 43.3

    “When Bishop Butler asserted that ‘probability is the very guide of life,’ he might have added, ‘and we have no other.’ ...PBE 44.1

    “Great thinkers, from Thales, Plato, and Moses, have had their theologies,—their explanations of the origin of the universe, as they understood it,—and many of these explanations have been of extraordinary merit; but even St. Paul himself could never have been certain that his explanation was more than a probably true one.”PBE 44.2

    Than is therein stated, how could it be possible more clearly to state the impossibility of attaining to knowledge by that method? The result of this method, as here authoritatively stated, is exactly described in the Scripture concerning our own time when it speaks of those who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7.PBE 44.3

    And, as if this writer should make it absolutely certain that only probability is the sole ground as to knowledge, which can ever be reached by this process, he really goes to the limit, and declares:—PBE 44.4

    “Whether there ever existed on the earth such a person as Jesus, and what He experienced, are purely matters of historical evidence. And as everything that is a matter of evidence is a matter of probability, this must be also.”PBE 44.5

    And where does the process finally land? What is its ultimate?PBE 44.6

    “In a certain sense, the mind takes a leap into the dark: it literally passes per sallum [by a leap] from the realm of the known to the realm of the unknown.”PBE 44.7

    And that is precisely where this process landed, and this was its ultimate, in ancient time, when at Athens, the fountain of this theory of education, they set up that monument of their ignorance, with its inscription, “to the unknown God.”PBE 44.8

    But such is not the Christian process, nor is such the ultimate of the Christian process. In the Christian process, faith, which is the gift of God, accepts the truth of God; and thus in the mind and heart there is accomplished “a new creation.” And the Creator in this new creation is God Himself, manifest through Jesus Christ our Lord, by the Holy Ghost. And in this, in the truest sense, the mind takes a leap, not “into the dark,” but into the light. It truly, “literally, passes per saltum,” not “from the realm of the known to the realm of the unknown,” but from the realm of the unknown, the realm of ignorance, to the realm of the known, the realm of certain knowledge, even the knowledge of God. For we “know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 5:20.PBE 45.1

    Does this not show, then, that the world in this time, and by this means, has well-nigh reached the point which in ancient times it had attained when the world by wisdom knew not God, and was alienated from the life of God through its ignorance? And are we not therefore also in the time when again in the wisdom of God it shall please God “by the foolishness of preaching”—preaching the plain, simple, powerful gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God—“to save them that believe”?PBE 45.2

    It is not true that “we have no other guide of life” than “the theory of probabilities.” We have as the guide of life the certainty of truth, in the Word of God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, who Himself is “the Truth,” through the Spirit of God, who is the very “Spirit of truth.”PBE 46.1

    It is not true that “even St. Paul himself could never have been certain that his explanation was more than a probably true one.” For Paul’s explanation was simply the preaching of the truth of God, derived from God. And not only Paul, but every other Christian, can be certain that the Word of God which he receives is certitude itself. And this certitude of the knowledge of truth he finds, not by reason guided by doubt, but by revelation to faith.PBE 46.2

    Whether there ever existed on earth such a person as Jesus, and what He experienced, are far more than merely “matters of historical evidence.” And it is not true that “this must be” only a matter of probability. Every Christian knows that Christ lived in this world, that He was crucified that He died and rose again, and that He lives to-day. For every Christian knows by veritable knowledge of revelation and experience that Jesus is acquainted with every feature of his life in the flesh. Every Christian knows that Jesus was crucified; because he himself has been crucified with Him. Every Christian knows that Jesus died, for he himself has died with Him. Every Christian knows that Jesus rose from the dead, for he himself is risen with Him. And every Christian knows that Jesus, having risen from the dead lives to-day; for he himself lives with Him. Nor is this, in any sense, a guess, or a conjecture. It is a matter of very truth, in the certitude of knowledge.PBE 46.3

    Yet these simple things which every Christian knows, and which are but the A B C of Christianity, demonstrate that true Christianity, and even the professed Christian world to-day, are again set completely at opposites by the world’s method of education. And these statements of the methods of education to-day, methods recognized even by the Protestant churches, show that instead of doubt being as is professed, “the pedagogue which leads to knowledge;” upon the authority of its own masters it is seen to be what it is in truth, the positive and chosen obstruction to all knowledge.PBE 47.1

    The Outlook presented it as a “problem of education” that “sorely needs to be taken up by our educators”—“the problem how religion can be preserved and promoted while education is being acquired.” That is intensely true. But that problem never can be solved by any method of education of which doubt is in any degree an element; for doubt simply undermines all true religion. Faith, faith is the grand element of the true religion. It is only by an education in which faith is the beginning, the process, and the end that can ever be solved “the problem how religion can be preserved and promoted while education is being acquired.” And this will do it; for this is Christian education.PBE 47.2

    Surely there is needed, and sorely needed, to-day, an educational reform. And, since the educational process of to-day is one in which doubt is the beginning the course, and the end, it is certain that the only true educational reform for to-day is one in which faith is the beginning, the course, and the end: and that faith, the faith of Jesus Christ, the faith which enables him who exercises it to comprehend, to understand, and to know, the truth, and only the truth—the truth as it is in Jesus.PBE 47.3

    In this it is not implied that in everything the Greeks were absolutely ignorant. There were many things that they learned as little children. There were many valuable facts of observation and experience that they knew. But in that which was their philosophy and their science, that which to them was preeminently wisdom and knowledge—in this they were absolutely ignorant. And this which to them was preeminently wisdom and knowledge, but which was in truth sheer confused ignorance—this was made to color all else and give to that the cast of ignorance. That which was as plainly true and easily to be understood as that A is A was not allowed to remain plain and simple knowledge, but it must first be doubted, and then through a process of hypothesis, premise, and conclusion, and then a new premise and conclusion, must be reasoned out to a final conclusion, and so “demonstrated.” And thus that which was simple truth, and easily known if only believed, was overshadowed and utterly vitiated by their doubting and skeptical reasoning. Thus truth, faith, and knowledge were annihilated; and in their place was substituted falsity, doubt, and ignorance. They “changed the truth of God into a lie .... And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness.” Romans 1:25-29.PBE 48.1

    It is proper to inquire, What did Greek education accomplish for the Greeks, both directly and ultimately?PBE 49.1

    It can never be denied that mentally Greek education carried the Greeks to the highest point that has ever been attained in this world in education that was only human. The Greek language was developed by the Greek mind to the point wherein it excelled all other human language in its capacity and facility of expressing nice distinctions of thought. Of this it has been well said that “It traces with ease distinctions so subtle as to be lost in every other language. It draws lines where all other instruments of the reason only make blots.”PBE 49.2

    In art, whether in sculpture or in architecture, the Greek education developed a standard that has never in the world been equaled. In physical culture, the development of the human form, also, Greek education attained the highest point that has ever been reached by any nation.PBE 49.3

    All this, Greek education undeniably did for the Greeks. But what did it do for them morally? Mental attainments that developed the fullest of all human languages, the most consummate skill in art, and the completest symmetry of the human form,—what did these attainments develop as to character? Everybody knows that the results in this respect could not be truly set down in this book, without endangering its seizure by the police; and making the author liable to prosecution for circulating obscene literature.PBE 49.4

    It is impossible to walk amongst even the ruins of Greek art without being constantly offended with the perpetual portrayal and even the deification of drunkenness and lust, in the otherwise marvelous productions. In poetry, the highest form of that wonderful language, it is the same. The Greek poets developed a mythology in which the gods were portrayed as perpetually indulging the basest of human passions, and in which every idea of divinity was debased to the most degraded level of humanity.PBE 50.1

    And what did this education—the literature, the art, the physical culture, all that it produced—do for the Roman people when adopted by them? Deep-dyed as was the iniquity of Rome before she expanded into Greece, yet this iniquity was only given a deeper touch by that which was derived from Greece. Romans 1:21-32 is a description of both. And the world knows the ultimate results—Greece and Rome perished so entirely that no part remained. The people of Greece to-day are not Greeks; the Greek nation to-day is not Greek. The people of Rome are not Romans. The world knows that Greece and Rome were annihilated by the flood of the barbarians of the wild forests of Germany. And when this flood of barbarism swept over Greece and Western Rome, the vices of the open life of even the highest classes were such as fairly to bring the blush to the iron cheeks of the Germans. A writer of the times declares: “We are worse than the barbarians and heathen. If the Saxon is wild, the Frank faithless, the Goth inhuman, the Alanian drunken, the Hun licentious, they are, by reason of their ignorance, far less punishable than we, who, knowing the commandments of God, commit all these crimes.PBE 50.2

    “You, Romans, Christians, and Catholics, are defrauding your brethren, are grinding the face of the poor, are frittering away your lives for the impure and heathenish spectacles of the amphitheater, and wallowing in licentiousness and inebriety. The barbarians, meanwhile, heathen or heretics though they may be, however fierce toward us, are just and fair in their dealings with one another. The men of the same clan, and belonging to the same kin, love one another with true affection. The impurities of the theater are unknown amongst them. Many of their tribes are free from the taint of drunkenness: and among all except the Alanians and the Huns, chastity is the rule.”PBE 51.1

    This being the ultimate result of Greek education both to Greece that originated it, and to Rome, both pagan and “Christian,” that adopted it; and this result coming solely as the consequence of the essential immorality of that education; has demonstrated to the world forever the essential vanity and impotence of everything which claims to be education, in which character is not the one sole aim.PBE 51.2

    Annihilation being the result of Greek education to both Greek and Roman, what else than this can possibly be the result in a society or a nation which in education adopts the method which is Greek, and in its highest and most honorable course of education the literature, which is Greek and Roman?PBE 52.1

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