A number of years ago the president of a college commented that the students were given many bits and pieces of knowledge with differing views of the world. At 9:00 they went to natural science class with one view of the world. At 11:00 they went to sociology with another view. At 1:00 they went to religion with yet another view. But they received no comprehensive, overall view anywhere.
This is the conceptual chaos Warren Wagar (The City of Man) identified as the crisis of our age. Bits and pieces of knowledge are scattered like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but we have no overall picture to guide us in putting it together. We do not have the picture on the puzzle box top.
Theology can and must provide the metaphysical framework which the students need, which we all need. For a connected, overall view of the world—that is commonly held—is what holds civilization together and will be the salvation of our worldwide society.
Wilhelm Dilthey (1830–1900), emphasized the importance of a worldview and a world picture—the picture on the puzzle box top. He felt that a study of history provided a world view that raised one above one’s own civilization. Europeans desperately needed this when he wrote just before the turn of the 20th century. His study of history revealed three different worldviews: 1) The cosmic worldview of the Hellenic civilization; 2) the social worldview of Rome with its law; and 3) the religious worldview of Western civilization with its Judeo-Christian tradition.
These three views may be brought together for the comprehensive, overall view of the world that is needed. The metaphysical framework will include the cosmic of all creation (for that 9:00 class), the social of all mankind and all history (for that 11:00 class), and the spiritual of a
fulfilled Judeo-Christian tradition (for that 1:00 class).
Thus, a fulfilled Judeo-Christian religion will provide the metaphysical framework that is needed to hold the world together.