Science in Christian Perspective



A Clarification of "The Christian Mind"
Department of Educational Foundations
The University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

From: JASA 34 (September 1982): 155-162.

Harry Blamires' book, The Christian Mind, opens with the rather dramatic judgment that "there is no longer a Christian mind."1 But as one reads on, one notes that Blamires seems to minimize the impact of his statement by the use of such expressions as ". . . deficiency of Christian thought,"' 2. . . the lack of any used field of discourse for people thinking Christianly,"3. . . almost total disappearance of the Christian mind,"4 and ". . . limited operation of Christian thought."5 One concludes that Blamires did not mean what he said in the beginning. It would be difficult to develop a sustained argument to support his judgment. For to say that there are Christians and at the same time that there is no Christian mind is slightly odd. The expression "Christian mind" is equivalent to "mind of the Christian," in the same way that "scientific mind" may be translated, without change or loss of meaning, to "mind of the scientist." If there are scientists, there must be a scientific mind; if there are Christians, there must also be a Christian mind. But when may we say that a Christian is exhibiting a Christian mind? What constitutes a Christian mind?

To answer the question, this paper' clarifies the use of the term "mind6 and attempts to establish its strict use. A distinction between the expressions "scientific mind" and "Christian mind" is made. Proposing that the mind of Christ constitutes the Christian mind, the article proceeds to expound on John 4:7-38. Finally based on observations regarding the mind of Christ, some suggestions are made as to how Christians ought to relate their Christian faith to their academic activities: how and on what should Christians think in order that it may be said that their thinking is Christian and not merely that they are thinking Christians?

This paper de-emphasizes the idea that mind/thinking is completely and totally an inward operation, that it cannot be seen and hence is mental as opposed to physical. There is a hiddenness of mind, a bit of mystery about it, hence our curiosity or anxiety over one who claims to be a mindreader. Admittedly, there is a sense in which one's mind is exclusive and private to a person. When we urge someone to "Say what's on your mind" or "Speak up" we are also saying "Do not keep your thoughts to yourself." Even when such thoughts are expressed in language and bodily gestures, still there are times when we do not know whether or not what the other person is saying of an object is true, especially if we do not know the object. One can lie and deceive one's listeners even as they follow the trend of the person's thinking.

Importance of Language

To admit that there are difficulties in knowing another person's mind does not mean, however, that therefore one's mind is completely cut off from any external observation and absolutely impossible of public notice. This paper contends that one external manifestation of mind which is more or less reliable is one's use of verbal language. In one's use and manipulation of language is disclosed the person's way of thinking, the care given to one's ways of relating one item with another, the caution employed when making conclusions. We hear the commendation "She/He always talks sense,'.' meaning that in the person's talk we find the person sensible. In contrast, "She/He is full of talk" is to say "She/He is a bag of wind." Still, there are others whose language is characterized by: (1) ambiguities and vagueness, with no attempts at clarity; (2) gross extension of meanings of words to suit their private purpose, and (3) logical fallacies and innuendoes. This language is often labeled clever double talk and we are warned to take the speaker and the speaker's language with a grain of salt. Clearly, what we are thinking about, where our mind is, how we think, are accessible to public observation. To say that someone is independent-minded is to judge that a pervasive quality is discernible in one's total behavior. "For as a man thinks, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). As we speak, people see us as we are. In the discourses of Christ, much is discerned of His thoughts and His manner of thinking. The disclosure of Eternal Truth, of Himself, in His language

How and on what should Christians think in order that it may be said that their thinking is Christian and not merely that they are thinking Christians?

was always central and the focus of His mind. Similarly, if there is a Christian mind, then, it must also be evident in the way one thinks about everything as made manifest in one's talking.

Examples of "Mind"

Consider, now, a few examples of the uses of the term ,'mind": (1) "And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in his mind" (Genesis 37:11). (2) "1 will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; yea, I will remember thy wonders of old" (Psalms 77:11). Both uses of "mind" are equivalent to the expression "don't forget" or "remember." The expression "I'll keep you in mind" which also means "I'll think of you" are similar to the above examples. (3) "What's on your mind?" asks the question "What are you thinking about?" On the other hand, (4) "Jones' mind is made up" suggests that her thinking about something is now concluded. She has made a decision about it. Sentence (3) exemplifies a process while (4) could be its conclusion. Then we hear the advice (5) "Mind your own business. " This could mean either that a person should concentrate on what he is doing, or that he should attend to his own affairs and not meddle with someone else's. There is the suggestion of restricting a person's focus to what he is doing. One also hears of someone being (6) "a broadminded person." This does not always suggest that broadmindedness is characteristic of the person when viewing a specific problem. It is also used to describe one's total outlook and general dispositions toward life. Of course, it may be that one is broadminded on some things, but not in others. The concept "mind" is an ambiguous term. It has more than one meaning, and it allows degrees of intensity; thus, one can ask: "How well does the person think?"

These examples show that "mind" is commonly associated with cognitive terms and activities, e.g., remembering, reasoning, calculating, figuring out, deciding, concluding, attending, concentrating, perceiving (in the sense of outlook), etc. When one is said to be "minding," he could be doing any one of the above activities. The above activities are also activities of thinking. To ask, "What are you thinking about?" could elicit the reply "I am figuring this one out." To say "the mind of Christ" is to say either "the thoughts of Christ" or "His manner of thinking." It is common to interchange "mind" with "thinking" and we do so in this paper. "Mind" or "thinking" covers a wide range of activities, some of which are more central, others peripheral, to it. The interest here is to establish the strict sense of "mind."

The Peripheral Sense of "Mind" /"Thinking"

To think is always to think about something. Thus, when one says "I am thinking," the quick retort is "about what?" The reply, "about nothing" is acceptable, and at the same time there is something not quite right about it. For to say "I am thinking about nothing" means that I am not thinking at all, if it is assumed that thinking always takes an object. Moreover, to say that I am not thinking is slightly odd, for certainly we are thinking all the time.

In what sense is "I am thinking about nothing" acceptable? Consider the question: "Are you thinking about it again?" This suggests that one's thinking about it stopped and then started again. This does not mean that the person stopped thinking, only that the object of thought changed. Of course, it may be the case that one is thinking about it again. One could also say, "No, I am simply wondering, thinking out loud, talking, exchanging ideas about it."

Someone may say, "I am just thinking about it," suggesting a difference between "thinking" and "just thinking." Or the reply could be that I am simply imagining, musing, even day-dreaming about it. These expressions suggest a presence of thinking to some degree, e.g., when they are said to relate things together, figure out why, ask questions, perhaps, more in wonderment and awe than in seeking answers, etc. But these processes, although associated with thinking, suggest aimlessness, absence of rules and focus, no end-in-view. Strictly speaking, there are no rules to be observed in the process of exchanging ideas, thinking out loud, etc., except, perhaps social ones. (I am aware that sociolinguists tell us otherwise.) There are no correct rules for imagining, day-dreaming, etc. The talking/musing/wondering, etc., can go on for a long time. When it is concluded, no one is shown to be right or wrong about the problem talked about. For, indeed, some of the activities above can be engaged in for a long time with no intention of solving a problem. They are just talking.

"Thinking" in "I am thinking about nothing" is used when one is engaging in any one of the above activities that are peripheral to the concept "mind" or "thinking." It is acceptable. To say "I am thinking all the time," even when I am not thinking about something in particular, is, likewise, to engage in one or some of the above activities at one time or another. What then is the strict sense of "mind" or "thinking?"

The Strict Sense of "Thinking"

The strict sense of "thinking" is intentional and focused; it is consciously directed to a specific problem, identified as such, and to its conclusion. A person who is thinking in this sense is conscious of the object of thought and of one's manner of thinking. The person controls the direction that thinking takes. The steps leading to the conclusion of a problem are controlled to make sure that they are clearly, if not logically, related to one another; when the conclusion is reached, it is either necessarily derived from the previous premises or inductively derived from the determinative facts of the case. When thinking about a problem is concluded, the problem may be solved. Thinking in this sense observes rules presupposed in thinking and rules necessarily derived from the nature of the object of one's thinking, e.g., mathematical thinking, literary thinking, artistic thinking, etc. To say that someone is scientifically-minded means that the person tends to think according to the canons of science, not that the person is a scientist. To say that one is a scientist, however, implies that one occupies oneself with matters of science and is scientific in one's thinking about them. When a scientist is carried away with science, then the scientist tends to view everything from the point of view of science. Such reductionism is questionable when scientific thinking encompasses more than it should, even perhaps usurping or replacing Christian thinking.

Likewise, a Christian is one whose thoughts are disciplined by the thoughts and manner of thinking of Christ. Neither the scientist nor the Christian, when they think in the strict sense, are free to think in any way they wish and still insist that what they are doing is in accord with scientific or Christian thinking. Thinking in the strict sense presupposes certain rules of thinking, and is subject to correction, verification, or validation. When thinking is concluded, one knows whether or not the problem is solved and if the solution is correct. It is, of course, also possible for one to think in the strict sense and still be judged as not thinking at all. This means that one's thinking is not thorough and sound, but not that one is thinking in the peripheral sense of thinking. One does not think freely independent of all rules, if one wants to think well. It is "thinking" in the strict sense that is used in the rest of this paper.

If there are Christians who think in the strict sense and may be described as thinking Christians, does this mean that their thinking is Christian? Not necessarily. Rules of logic and evidence are indifferent to the interests of Christianity. They are formal rules applicable to any problem on hand. If the manner of thinking about a given problem is drawn from different branches of human knowledge, then the problem is given a human solution. If it is solved adequately by human knowledge independent of the thinking of Christ, then, clearly such a solution does not derive from Christian thinking/thought. For thinking to be Christian it must necessarily take into account the manner of thinking and the thoughts of Christ, in the same manner that for thinking to be scientific, it must necessarily take into account matters and manners of science.

Relationship of Faith and Life

Before proceeding to expound on the mind of Christ, it is useful to show by conceptual analysis why Christian academics, businessmen, professionals, etc. are obligated to raise the question of the relationship of their beliefs and their activities in the world, and to attempt to answer it as best they can.

To speak of a person being a scientist (a cook, a medical person, an artistic mind, or whatever) is to speak of someone's specialization. We are, therefore, talking of a language that is specialized, technical, addressing itself only to problems particular to a field of study. Of necessity, the language is limited, thus the language of science, the language of music, the language of poetry, etc. In contrast, the meaning of "being a Christian" is not to specialize in Christ in the sense that we become professional Christians in a limited aspect of life's problems to which our Christian language applies. Rather, to be a Christian is to embrace a distinctive total way of life derived necessarily from the truths of Christ. If as a Christian a person embraces a way of life, and if one's chosen profession/specialization is an aspect of one's total life, then the specialization/profession as an internal part of the whole must necessarily partake of the qualities of Christian mind. The expression "Christian mind" is broader than "scientific mind." To limit scientific thinking to matters judged scientific is correct. But to limit Christian thinking only to matters judged to be Christian problems is questionable. Christian thinking embraces all of life.

Noting that Christian thinking differs from academic or scientific thinking in its presuppositions, logic, and commitment, how may Christian academicians relate their Christian faith and science? Being a Christian and a scientist at the same time implies that there must be something more to the Christian scientists' science, either in their ways of doing it or their thoughts about it, than to the nonbeliever's

Evelina Orteza y Miranda is Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Educational Policy and Administrative Studies, University of ,Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her current research interests include epistemological problems in education, the relationship of religion and education, clarifying terms in religion, etc. She is an Associate Editor of Journal of Christian Education (Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia) and is on the Editorial Board of Educational Theory, representing The John Dewey Society. She received her PhD from UCLA.

science in some central ways. What this difference is and whether or not the difference is significant enough to cause one to develop another view of science, e.g., Christian science, is a nagging question. What is clear is that one's Christian thinking is of necessity brought to bear on whatever problem the Christian is attending to. If it does not make any difference in what we are doing, then it suggests one of the following: (1) that the meaning of Christian scientist has not been correctly discerned; (2) that the expression is a mere label with no meaning substantial enough to reform/transform one's conception of science; (3) that Christianity applies only to limited spheres of life, labelled private morality and spirituality; (4) that the relationship between being a Christian and being a scientist is arbitrary: the two are not related at all; or (5) that being a Christian refers to one's person whereas being a scientist refers to one's specialization. Since the two are distinct from each other, i.e., they demand different requirements, it is possible to separate one's professional/academic activities from one's Christian life. It is clear that there are difficulties and problems raised about our understanding of the relationship between our academic studies and our Christian faith.

Christ's Thinking/Mind

Now, we turn to the question "What constitutes a Christian mind?" by referring to Christ's mind exhibited in His discourse in John 4:7-38.

Christ asks for a drink of water to quench His physical thirst. In reply, the woman questions His right to ask for a drink from her by invoking cultural practices, namely, that the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans and with women. Jesus replies, "I know what I needed: water. I asked you for it but you do not give it to me. You have come here to fetch water. It is not, in truth, what you need. But you do not know your need, neither do you know me. So, you cannot ask me for that which you do not know you need. But had you known me, who I am, and had you known your need, you would have asked and I would have given you what you need, living water. " Ignorance prevented her from asking living water from Christ. Jesus starts to change His level of talk, from one of mere physical necessity to living water.

The woman corrects Christ by saying, "You have no can and the well is deep; the facts do not meet the conditions required to secure water" (v. 11). So far, the woman is correct on two counts: cultural practice, in the first instance when she behaved properly toward Christ, and factual observation, in the second. Noting the difference between "water" and "living water," she, asks, "Where do you get this living water? Obviously not from this well, and who are you?" (vs. I 1- 12). In verses 13-14, Christ does not answer the question about His identity directly. Neither does He answer the question in verse 9. However, He refers to His being the source of living water, indirectly suggesting that the question is from Whom, not where, do we get this living water. Christ continues with His own thoughts of "water," and  "living water." He compares, "Water from this well will not quench one's thirst forever; but the water I give, will. Moreover, the water becomes in the person who receives it a spring of water welling up eternal life" (v.14).

A Christian is one whose thoughts are disciplined by the thoughts and manner of thinking of Christ.

The reply in verse 15 is eager and positive. It is not clear whether or not she understood what Christ said. But whether or not she understood, her positive response evokes the command, "Go, call your husband and come here" (v.16). The answer seems odd for when she says, "Give me this water," Christ replies, "Call your husband." In another sense it is not odd for Christ is saying, "Before you can have the living water, you must do certain things first, put matters right. First, call your husband." Her answer is clever, straightforward, and legally correct, "I have no husband." Christ commends her for telling the truth, "You are right . . ." (v.17) and proceeds to give a true description of her situation that she does not deny. At this point, the woman and Christ are conversing on the same level and with each other, where previously they did not. She changed the topics from living water and herself to the identity of Christ. She asks, "Since you could tell me who I am, you must be a prophet" (her question in v. 12 is beginning to be answered; it is obvious she missed Christ's reference to Himself as the source of living water in v. 14) "so, you can answer the question: where ought we to worship?" (v.20). Christ replies: "Where ought we to worship is not the important question but rather what constitutes true worship and who the true worshippers of God are" (vs. 22-24). Without accepting or rejecting Christ's answer, she acknowledges that when the Messiah comes, He will show us all things, including the answer to true worship. At this point, with arresting simplicity and obvious gentleness, with no fanfare, no exaggerated claims about Himself, Jesus discloses Himself to her so simply, "I who speak to you am He" (v.26).

Now, indeed, the hour is come for the Messiah to show her all things. At the return of the disciples, we are led back to the earthly and physical world of humankind-her concern was water to drink; the disciples' concern was for food to eat. When the disciples express their concern for His physical needs, Christ, without saying that food is good or bad, necessary or not, moves ahead with the reply in verse 34, presenting the vision of the universal need of humankind to come to a saving knowledge of Him, humankind's need for "living water" that they may thirst no more. Beginning with physical thirst, the dialogue concludes with spiritual matters, reminding one of the Parable of the Sower and His discourses on the Kingdom of God.

Of Cosmic Significance

What observations may be made regarding the mind of Christ as exhibited in His discourse? First, Christ's thinking is of cosmic significance, encompassing both heaven and earth, the eternal and temporal. He notes earthly matters of fact such as physical thirst, suggesting that He does not deny physical needs, and marital status. He is not oblivious of the world around Him. However, he transmutes the physical need into a spiritual need by a series of images: from water to living water, to spring of water, to eternal life. Having established spiritual need to be the basic need, Christ moves on to talk of morality, then matters of true worship, implying that the object of worship determines whether or not worship is true worship, and, finally eternal values. How these statements are connected with one another is not shown. What, indeed, is the connection between water and eternal life? But He states them as though they were self-evident truths. And the point comes across clearly that we are not at one discrete point physical, at another spiritual, and at still another point intellectual or emotional-but that all blend into the total person. Moreover, Christ connects the basic spiritual need with sin/evil, which was a reality in the woman's life, even as it is in our lives. Before the woman's thirst, both physical and spiritual, could be quenched, her sin had to be dealt with first, the absence of Christ in her life. And once the basic spiritual need is fulfilled, its consequences spill over into one's total life.

What are some specific points that can be drawn from the above? Christ used factual matters to make His points on living water and eternal life. He did not show contempt for wordly matters of fact nor did He deny the need for food and drink. He showed only that life is more than these things. In so doing, He showed us that we are not cut off from our times, nor are we independent of past human intellectual and moral achievements. However, in dealing with the problem of the woman at the well, He also showed that we cannot be dependent solely and absolutely on human knowledge. For while they are necessary to our earthly conduct, they are not always sufficient for our understanding of human problems simply because they do not always take account of the root of such problems, namely, the nature of humankind.

Christian thinking necessarily holds the nature of human beings to be central and significant for understanding and solving a problem. For example, Bube notes an absence of a necessary and crucial point in Feinberg's understanding of the problem of over-population, namely, human nature.8 Bube suggests that if such a point were included, Feinberg's solution would have been different or that the problem would have been constituted differently in the first place. Feinberg does not view the nature of human beings to be part of the problem while Bube does. Someone has suggested that ". . the whole nuclear power issue is more of a quasi-religious than a mere technological conflict,9" This is not, of course, to say that for every specific problem, e.g., breaking down of a car, the direct cause is attributable to human nature. It is to say that ultimately the basic problem of the world/society is the insistence of human beings on being independent of God. In so doing, they mismanage the affairs of the world. It is often noted that it is how human beings use inventions/discoveries that engender social, political, and moral problems. Nuclear power is not in itself good or bad but it becomes either one or the other depending upon how it is used, for what purpose, and by whom. 10

In the discourse of Christ, there is the unmistakable fact of the centrality of the reality of Eternity and its values. This is not to say that earthly, sometimes petty, concerns are denied, but that Christians are not rooted in them absolutely. Like the woman at the well, our jars can be left behind; like the Lord Jesus, we may miss our physical water. When we are consumed by our creaturely activities, attending to problems of pollution, nuclear reactors, shortage of natural resources, etc., it is well to remember that according to the Word of God the earth will not go on forever. This is not to conclude that we should abrogate our responsibilities in fulfilling our calling, but that we should place our calling in its proper perspective: in the light of Eternity.

This is, surely, where most of our problems as Christian academics/professionals begin. For we ure schooled in thinking in discrete terms, in observing logics of different kinds and preserving their identity, whereas Christ showed that there is a connectedness between matters of fact and spiritual life, between earthly conduct and heavenly vision. But how are these connected with one another? Christ used factual matters to point to matters of eternal life. This suggests that academicians/professionals should use relevant human knowledge to clarify and solve human problems and then, like Christ, use them to point to deeper and ultimate problems of life.

For example, a partial solution to the shortage of natural resources may be to change our life style. Argument on this point could easily be limited to matters of morality, invoking such principles as universalizability, justice, fairness, etc. and could be agreed on. But how is this to be connected with the biblical doctrine of human nature? There is no logical way of showing how shortage of natural resources is connected with it. The former is a matter of fact claim. It can be publicly tested. Acceptance of a morality can be shown to be based on adequate reasonable arguments. The biblical doctrine, however, as a metaphysical claim, is not testable, even in principle. The two claims, requiring different grounds for acceptance or rejection, are not related logically or empirically. The conclusion does not follow from the matter of fact claim.

How are we to conduct our earthly lives in the light of Eternal values? Does this mean that at the outset, "we will be realistic about what we must leave behind at the end of the day, remembering that only those priorities which are eternal can survive?"" Earthly values and Eternal values can certainly be distinguished from one other. But to conclude that they are in no way related is to contradict the thinking of Christ. Christ clearly showed that Christian thinking overcomes discreteness and dichotomous thinking. He saw everything in its holicity. Therefore, Christ was at ease in thinking the way He did on everything, combining different types of statements, now empirical, then metaphoric, then moral and metaphysical. Many of us would be ill-at-ease in using the kind of thinking that Christ used in successfully solving a given problem. This is a case of thinking in the strict sense.

Always Edifying

Second, Christ's thinking is always edifying. As He corrects the false in us, He teaches the true in Himself. As He admonishes, He heals and expresses concern for us all to be more like Him. He judges always correctly and for the right reasons. He is not evasive, but always focused, direction never wandering, aimless, mindless in His talk. In contrast: some of our talk is not only small but also empty. His perception is right to the heart of the matter. But in His directness, there is no rudeness, only love.

Problem of Reconciling Different Kinds of Discourse

If Christ's thinking is Christian thinking, how did Christ connect His different statements? In showing how He did it, we also see how He thought about the problem and solved it. These questions are crucial since the burden of this paper is to figure out how we solve problems in our field of study such that our thinking about them is Christian. That there must be a relationship has been shown by our analysis of the meaning of "being a Christian" and "being a scientist" and by the thinking of Christ himself. The nagging question is: what is this relationship?

Throughout the discourse of Christ, one notices the absence of evidence" outside of Himself to support His statements. When He says that He is the Messiah, He simply says so. No credentials or certificates are offered to back up His statements. When He says that the water He gives is living water, which He translates as eternal life, He simply says so. No elaborate arguments are given to convince the Samarian woman. Still, there is rationality, sensibility, and truth in His thinking that persuades the woman to accept Him as ". . the man who told me all that I ever did. . . . " (v. 29). Christ knew the truth about her and what Christ said of her was true.

Christ did not need evidences to support-His statements about Himself and other matters. He Himself is the evidence for the truths He uttered. From the fact that Christ said so, then it must be so. Truth and Christ are of necessity one. It is Christ who is the connecting link between the different kinds of statements. Since He is truth, then what He says is true. Although His utterances differed in logic and commitment, all of them shared the element of Truth by virtue of the fact that He uttered them. His Person constituted their relatedness. Not only is the truth of each utterance derived from Christ but also Christ relates/ connects them with each other. The question of the relationship between our human knowledge and Christian faith is resolved by the person who holds them even as Christ showed that it is in His person that relatedness obtains. T living water, eternal life, that Christ talked about does not come from the outside world, ready-made, independent of the person who accepts water. Rather, He says ". . the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water. . . " (v. 14). (Italics mine.) It is in the person that the conversion/ transformation of what is accepted from outside takes place. By extension, it is in the person of the Christian that the transformation of what he accepts to be true takes place. The proposition "what is true" is not necessarily converted to "what is good" in

  We are schooled in thinking discrete terms, in observing logics of different kinds and preserving their
identity, whereas Christ showed that there is a connectedness between matters of fact and spiritual life between earthly conduct and heavenly vision.

Scientific knowledge claims are not transformed into religious knowledge claims or moral claims. They remain as propositions of science. Similarly, different kinds of knowledge claims remain true to their logic and commitment. Rather, the transformation takes place in the person, so it is the person who is transformed, not the different bodies of knowledge, now that he has accepted certain matters of human knowledge and matters of Christian faith.

Like Christ, Christian academicians embody the truths of what is known of the field of study and of the Christian faith. What one knows of a field of knowledge and what one believes in are now built into one's way of looking at things and talking about them. It is in the person of the Christian academician where the reconciliation of the different kinds of claims takes place and results in the person's trnsformed way of seeing and talking about things in an integrative, holistic way. Whereas the world tended to appear in discrete relationships, in disjoints, even in non-relationships, now one perceives an underlying unity among them in the person of God who upholds and sustains all kinds of relationships. A sense of wholeness pervades one's total life. But how such a holistic way of viewing things develops or arises cannot be completely and adequately shown and explained to everyone's satisfaction. Thomas confronted with the wounds of Christ that he could see and touch, responded properly, not with an empirical statement, but by accepting and believing in the revealed truth of Christ: "My Lord and my God." John, on entering the tomb, saw it empty and he believed in what he did not see: the revealed truth that Jesus Christ is God's Son, indeed. Based on what both of them saw in the observable realm, they believed in the claims of Christ with the eye of faith. Beginning with empirical facts, they arrived at and believed in the truth of Christ's claims. How? Surely, not by logic nor inductive reasoning. Where there are no logical relationships between human knowledge/science, etc. and our Christian faith, where there are gaps in our thinking about them, relationships should not be forced or arbitrarily decided.' I The conclusion both Thomas and John arrived at is God's voluntary personal disclosure" to them of His truths, a disclosure most of us know and believe in. Such disclosure of unity, of Ultimate unity, despite logical gaps, cannot be grasped by our discursive, digital knowledge. Hence, Christ used metaphors to enable His hearers to glimpse, even dimly, a vision of the wholeness of Truth constituted in His person.

The Basis for Relatedness

This discussion suggests that our tendency to argue the relatedness of human knowledge and Christian faith on the basis of a body of knowledge, or a system of logic, is wrong-headed. Clearly, there is no one logic that can accommodate different kinds of statements such that there can be no logical gaps between and among them. If this is insisted upon, one of two consequences could follow: we show that our Christian faith is at par with science on all its points, or we transform scientific claims to fit a preconceived theological framework. Both consequences lead to embarrassments and cast doubt on our intellectual integrity and honesty.

How can Christian academics be trusted with their religious claims if they cannot be trusted with the way they manage their scientific endeavours and the way they handle scientific claims? The woman first referred to the fact that Christ knew all that she ever did. Noting that all He said of her was true, she asked: "Could this be the Christ?" One kind of truth led her to ask of another truth. Like Christ, Christian academicians are the evidences of the truth of their statements. Whatever claims they are talking about, they know them; hence, any of their utterances on anything could be taken as true. When they say something, what they say is true. They can be trusted. Truth for the Christian, as shown by Christ, is closely related to the person

To the extent that a Christian scientist, businessman, professional etc. approximates Christ's thinking on all things, to that extent is the thinking of a Christian scientist, businessman etc. Christian.

who utters it, not simply that truth is a quality of statements but that in a significant way Christian academicians are bearers of truths and of the Truth. As bearers of truth, they are internally, not externally, related to it. Hence, their lives have been affected by it. In the Christian academicians' thinking is truth. It may be said that this is an onerous task. Even so, Truth constituted Christ's thinking.

Our tendency to seek for a body of knowledge that may be used to show a relatedness between human knowledge and Christian faith suggests that we are thinking of a body of knowledge independent of the person who holds it. It is upon this knowledge that we depend for the relatedness of our Christian faith and academic tasks. This, clearly is not so, as shown by the discussion and example of Christ. The question as suggested by Christ is not what, or where, but who is the source of living water? It is the person who relates the two activities in one's life. This relatedness does not achieve perfect integration on this side of heaven. Because of the reality of sin, which is a falling short of the total good, we do not fully comprehend the full implications of our Christian beliefs. We do not know all there is to know, and that which we now know of the different aspects of life, we do not also fully understand, hence, our admission to know specific truths, fragments of truth.


Christ's mind constitutes the Christian mind. it is necessarily cosmic, embracing at once the temporal and the eternal, It constitutes eternal contemporaneity. Christian thinking takes necessary account of the human sinful condition, thinking about it is always edifying, and its concern is love for the human being. The person, not a body of knowledge independent of the Christian, relates together the different kinds of statements true of the world, of human society, of individuals, and of one's faith. This results in the person's integrative manner of viewing different kinds of claims and, indeed, of life itself, which, in turn, results in a person's integrated personality. When we talk of a Christian mind, we are not talking of mind as though it were an entity, complete in itself, encased in one's head or brain. To speak of a Christian's mind is to speak of a Christian person whose personality is characterized as integrated. Thus the point emphasized in this paper is that the different subject matter claims and Christian faith which a person now holds find unity in the person and is evident in one's thinking. The person possesses these matters in an inalienable way, i.e., they are necessarily part of one's life, or putting it more strongly, they constitute his being. Similarly, it is God, ultimately, who unifies all truths. Christian presupposition encourages us to continue the task that He has appointed for us to do in order that the whole Truth, which now is a vision, may be apprehended and known.

To conclude, this paper refers back to the discussion on mind in its peripheral and strict senses. Unlike Christ, we are not always thinking in the strict sense. Even when we attempt to do so, our thinking is not always without errors. But this is not to conclude necessarily that the thinking of Christians is not Christian or that "there is no longer a Christian mind." This paper shows that if there are Christians, there must be thinking that is Christian. Perhaps, our problem is that our Christian thinking is not exercised on or applied to all things always and in exactly the way that Christ did, in the strict sense. But taking into account the fact that the concept "mind" is ambiguous and vague, allowing for degrees of minding, and that thinking need not be always thinking in the strict sense, it can be said that as long as the Christian fulfills, even minimally, the conditions posited to constitute Christian mind, then to that extent the Christian is exhibiting a Christian mind. To the extent that a Christian scientist, businessman, professional, etc. approximates Christ's thinking on all things, to that extent is the thinking of a Christian scientist, businessman, etc. Christian. There are some Christians whose thinking on all things are clearly Christian; they approximate very closely the mind of Christ. Unfortunately, there are also Christians whose thinking may not be clear cases of Christian thinking. There is no denying the fact that they are Christians, but their thinking on some things, say, schooling, science, pollution, economics, literature, etc. while humanistic, may not necessarily reflect the mind of Christ. This does not mean that one's thinking is not necessarily Christian; only that one's thinking on all things is not Christian. Perhaps a Christian has thought much about one's academic field of study, but somehow, one's thinking of the meaning of "being a Christian" is not fully comprehended. Granting, as well, that there are Christians who do think about all things as Christians, still their manner of thinking about them may not be necessarily correct. Even if it is correct according to the logical rules of thinking, still it could sound artificial, forced, a put-on, smacking of a self-righteous pose, and not effortless, seasoned with grace and truth as in the manner of Christ. Some Christians think more than others on more things; still others think about a few things and do it correctly and well. And some others do think only about things which they say are "things of the spirit." The vagueness of "mind" allows for acceptance of all cases above. To be strict and demand that the label "Christian mind" is allowed of a person if and only if the person's thinking is exactly identical to that of Christ's thinking is surely too restrictive and demanding. Very few could be accommodated and most of us would be disqualified.

The reason, then, that Blamires' judgment cannot be sustained is because a Christian tends to draw from some thoughts of Christ on some things and from His manner of thinking, from time to time. To say "I am a Christian" and to deny all of the thoughts of Christ is simply a contradiction. As already suggested, our problem is to develop our Christian thinking in such a way that it approximates very closely the mind of Christ, expressing itself in one's total life on all things. In the end, we fall back on the promise of Christ: if we subject every thought to His thoughts, we will know what to think about all things and know how to think about them in the way that He did. Then, our Christianmindedness will be evident in our talk.


1Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind. Ann Arbor, Michigan Books, 1978, p. 3. The first edition of Blamires' book was published 1963 by S.P.C.K., London.

2Ibid., p. 13.

3Ibid., p. 17.

4Ibid., p. 21.

5Ibid., p. 26.

A shorter version of this paper was read at the Thirty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation in Taylor University, Indiana, 10 August 1980.

7The meaning of "being a Christian" established earlier makes the same point.

8Richard H. Bube, "How Simple if Only not Complicated". Journal ASA, 32, 2 (June 1980), 68.

9Richard L. Meehan (197 ), "Nuclear Safety: Is Scientific Literacy the Answer?" Science 204: 571 quoted in David L. Willis, "Nukes or No Nukes". Journal ASA, 32, 2 (June 1980), 107.

10Even this point can be disputed. Elsewhere, I have argued that the hardware, e.g., computers, electronics, etc. of our industrial-technological society is not normless or neutral. To consider it as such is not only wrong-headed but dangerous. See: "The Medium Is the Message", Insights, 4, 3 (December 1967), 6-7. Publication of The John Dewey Society.

11Donald M. Mackay, Human Science and Human Dignity. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1979, p. 11.

12One could be puzzled why Christ did not take advantage of the one dramatic opportunity to show Pilate, the High Priests, and the crowd that they were all wrong, by appearing before them as palpable evidence for His resurrection claims, whereas He kindly acceded to Thomas' request to show him evidences that He has risen. It could be said that had Christ acted likewise to Pilate and the High Priests, He could have been vindicated and exalted as Lord. Unfortunately, for us, our Christian faith would have been reduced to empirical/evidential claims. Since empirical. , evidential claims sometimes turn out later to be false, how then could we speak of the stability of our Christian faith?

13Consider the following case which some may say is a Christian claim: "A ship floats, not because it has displaced water equal to its own weight, but because God sustains it at that point." This claim combines two different kinds of logic, namely, scientific and religious/metaphysical. Consequently, the reasoning is questionable. The scientific explanation is accurate, adequate, and relevant to the problem being explained. (That it may not be psychologically satisfying to the person to whom the explanation is made is another matter.) There is no reason to minimize its truth and say that it is inadequate and quickly add on the metaphysical claim on God. To accept the scientific explanation is not to deny the metaphysical claim; the two claims are not simply related. To force the relationship between the two claims and say that the metaphysical claim has to be accepted in order for the empirical/ scientific claim to be true is the say that both are metaphysical claims. This is simply false. To tack God's truths on human problems in this way seems to render God's truths anemic, even ridiculous. As pointed out in the discussion, matters of God's truths, as in the above, are God's voluntary, personal disclosure to us, a disclosure that is more than human knowledge can accommodate because it is The Ultimate Truth. To borrow C.S. Lewis' point, a scientific explanation is like a $1 cheque; it is easily cashable. God's Truth is more like a cheque that is worth millions.. It is awesome.

14For a discussion of disclosure, see: Ian T. Ramsey, Christian Discourse: Some Logical Explorali(M5. London: Oxford University Press, 1965.