Must a Christian be a realist?

May 31, 2004

'Realism' isn't a very descriptive term. It could mean a whole range of things. But what it usually refers to in philosophy and theology is the view that things (in particular, God) exist independently of human experience, and that we can talk about things (or God) truly. In other words, our language refers to something 'real'. I've been thinking about it while preparing the course on postmodernism that begins here at New College on Thursday night. It seems to me that a Christian must be a realist about God's existence, but can probably hold varying positions about pretty much anything else. We come to realist positions about other matters (e.g. how well language matches with reality; whether the Jesus of history is the Christ of faith) by trusting this real God who does in fact exist. Who agrees?

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