The Unholy Trinity

Jac and I are reading The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch very sporadically, but tonight’s session produced some particularly juicy food for thought. Hirsch contends that discipleship became very difficult during the modern period, as three powerful forces competed with the call of discipleship to Christ. These were:

  1. The rise of capitalism and of the free market as the mediator of value
  2. The rise of the nation-state as the mediator of protection and provision
  3. The rise of science as the mediator of truth and understanding

Hirsch makes this succinct point in a footnote: “The market has totally triumphed, eclipsing even the state through multinational capital and by reducing science to technology focused around the profit motive” (109). That is to say, the most powerful of the three is the first and the consumerism that drives it and calls for our allegiance.

What interests me is how much interest theology takes in dealing with science, while completely ignoring the more powerful two members of this trio. Perhaps theology’s neglect here has to do with the fact that the first two are matters of orthopraxy, which intellectuals have difficulty saying much worthwhile about…

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