A Taste pt II
There is a form of thought (often called 'Modern' in philosophical conversation) that bends itself toward concrete analysis. It is a way of approaching the world that seeks to reduce everything to the smallest possible unit, in order to understand its functions, attributes, relationship to the whole, and so to approach knowledge of the universe.
These people ask, "Is the apple real? Can we know anything about the apple? What is it's color, texture, weight, and size?"
Moderns talk only of the observable truth of the apple; it is solid, actionable, universal, public knowledge. This is the strength of modern thought. It allows us to build buildings that withstand earthquakes, to raise large metal objects into the sky for extended periods of time, discover unique compounds of matter that removes pests, or alter certain plant species to make them yield greater caloric output for the same resource input. (Even in this list, is the beginning of the critique!) Modern thought has many strengths, its weakness, however, is its impersonal and calculating heart.
This type of thought yields tremendous evidence for the existence of the apple. There are hard arguments about its makeup. These arguments are convincing, but...
...the apple is dissected and categorized but untasted, it is understood and yet, not understood.
This same approach is taken to spiritual matters. As ~eljeffe points out, "I wonder if these common battles lead the earlier Church to develop the famous "Creeds" that have been recited over the generations." Concrete thoughts and definitions are deeply needed, however (while the Creeds are a formulation of a premodern Church) the people of God in Modern times have adopted Modern thought uncritically. The emphasis has become convincing argument, propositional truth claims, often to the exclusion (or even outright disparaging) of experience...
We understand the map, we dissect the apple, we recite the Creed; but we do not take the journey, eat the apple, or listen to Jesus.