Scared the Life out of Me
Scared the Life out of Me
Many years ago, I took some college courses. The first ones were social sciences. They were quite fascinating. Finally, a way to make sense of the world.
Gripping were the studies about studies. Theorists making theories.
Lessons I learned:
1. Theories were more about the theorists than about the subjects.
(Theology has the same tendency.)
2. The studies explained much about what I observed in churches.
This made me very sad.
3. Social science should not be able to explain what happens in the Church.
If/since the Church is led and controlled by the Holy Spirit and by persons who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, social science should not be able to explain the behaviors of those people.
Scared the life into me
P.S. Theories are useful. They tend to be simplistic. No matter how many times they are replicated or run under different conditions, they are very useful but, IMO should not and do not explain the behavior of Holy Spirit directed persons or groups.
A theorist takes a piece of the pie and makes it the whole pie. That reductionism can be useful but must not be expected or trusted to explain all of life. Whether Milgram, Zimbardo, Kohlberg, Skinner, Freud, etc…………….
Some of the studies have come under scrutiny and are being challenged. Challenge is always good but it does not mean that just because they cannot be replicated that they were not true or useful. Social sciences are not hard sciences and will vary with the conditions. The studies may have revealed factors not intended by the experimenters. New conditions would require new studies to take into account the changing social times. Ethical considerations must be taken into account.
The Nuremberg trials are an example of a “study” of human behavior – a real-life illustration of guilt if/when people are following orders. Stanley Milgram’s study illustrated what the social scientists doubted. Could the holocaust have happened in America? They said, no. Milgram’s study illustrated otherwise. Hopefully we can learn and not repeat the mistakes of the past and/or present in the church or anywhere else.
God and His Word are the only way to really make sense of the world. Hopefully we can learn from Him so we do not have to make all the mistakes over again. Studies or not, the Bible has enough intrigue and mystery to keep us learning for more than a life-time. We do not really need the theorists. We do not need their theories.
The real-life stories in the Scripture illustrate truth and can replace Shakespeare and all other well-studied stories and theories. Study the Word. The lessons on life and relationships will bless you and yours.
They will scare the sin out of you and the life into you.