The Future Of Human Relations: Evangelical Christianity And The Social Sciences -- By: David O. Moberg

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 04:4 (Dec 1961)
Article: The Future Of Human Relations: Evangelical Christianity And The Social Sciences
Author: David O. Moberg


The Future Of Human Relations:
Evangelical Christianity And The Social Sciences

David O. Moberg

Paper presented at the Fourth Biennial Joint Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation and the Evangelical Theological Society, June 14, 1961, at Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana.

God alone knows the future; the future is in His hands. He is the Omnipotent Sovereign of the universe. Yet to a degree He has committed the future to men; the future is in our hands as one aspect of our stewardship under God. The future is therefore as bright as the promises and provision of God; paradoxically it is as dark as the sinfulness of man.

As long as this age continues, there will be human beings; as long as these human beings associate with one another directly or indirectly, there will be human relations. Human relations are therefore as broadly distributed as the human race; they will always be with us! Social scientists and evangelical Christians share the goal of improving these human relations, creating and strengthening those patterns which are constructive, functional, and wholesome, and eliminating or alleviating those which are destructive, dysfunctional, and detrimental to the welfare of man.

This common concern for the well-being of man is, however, contributing to intensified conflict between science and religion, for theology and social science possess divergent definitions of good and bad, use contrasting methods of discovering truth, communicate with a different set of concepts and in divergent universes of discourse, rest upon different basic presuppositions and postulates, adhere to separate traditions, and hence arrive at contradictory conclusions for action and contrasting interpretations of the nature of man.

Many elements in the traditional opposition of fundamentalism to developments in the biological and physical sciences are gradually succumbing before the increasingly incontrovertible evidence accumulated by application of the scientific method. Fundamentalist opposition to science is gradually shifting the focus of its attention toward the social sciences, for the theologian often assumes that he knows more about man than the social scientist, while the latter is likely to think that the theologian’s cause rests solely upon traditions, superstitions, and myths which are mere cultural survivals from dark ages of the past and have no empirical referent. The way evangelicals handle this problem will help determine the future of their role in human relations.

In a world that is rapidly changing as a result of technological developments and social innovations, evangelicals have a pronounced tendency to cling to old-fashioned philosophies and institutions, attitudes and practices. No...

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